Wednesday, June 27, 2012

2014 Prospect Drake Harris Chooses MSU Over Michigan

Michigan's most interesting 2014 prospect has decided he will attend MSU over his other finalists, Michigan and Notre Dame.  Harris announced these finalists earlier in the week along with his desire to play both college football and basketball.  He is one of the few athletes in the nation that is planning to play both sports at the next level, which made him extremely intriguing to college coaches and fans alike.  We actually debated his ability at both football and basketball before his decision, which is something that I'm sure Spartan fans will now engage in before Harris arrives on campus.

In some ways, this is a major loss for Michigan. The ability to have a 4* recruit on your basketball team without using a scholarship is a pretty major advantage.  Tom Izzo is probably getting the most talented walk-on in the nation for 2014.  That's a pretty big advantage for MSU and Michigan missed out on that chance.  Michigan's basketball recruiting is in fine shape, but I don't think anybody out there will deny that adding a 4* walk-on will probably help the Spartans pretty significantly.

Along with Izzo's gain, Mark Dantonio is getting an outstanding player that he otherwise probably wouldn't have gotten.  Dantonio and MSU do get 4* recruits, but since Hoke has taken over for Michigan, it's been few and far between, especially in the state of Michigan.  The sense that I got was that Harris chose MSU primarily because of Izzo.  They had a lengthy relationship and Izzo was the first person that really brought up the idea of Harris playing two sports at the college level.  Harris didn't say anything negative regarding Dantonio, but it seems pretty obviously that Harris is going to MSU because of Izzo, not Dantonio.  This means Dantonio is getting a great football recruit (some say Harris is even better at football than basketball) that he otherwise probably wouldn't have gotten.  MSU basketball still gets the largest gain out of this, but there's no doubt that Dantonio got some great help from Izzo in this case.

However, this really isn't that major of a loss for Michigan.  Yes, he would have been a great pick-up for Hoke and Beilein, but fans need to be realistic about this.  His combined talents make him a big time recruit, but otherwise, he probably isn't that major of a game changer.  Michigan still has a lot of wide receivers on its radar and Michigan has some other recruits such as Devin Booker, Keita Bates-Diop, and Trevon Bluiett on its basketball radar and all three of these players are probably just as good or better than Harris.

Along with this, Harris' big advantage, his two sport status, will probably not last all the way through college. Harris has even indicated that after a year or so, he would probably pick one sport and focus solely on that individual sport.  It seems very logical, but at that point, he becomes just another football or basketball player.  So think about that for a second.  As a freshman or a sophomore, he probably won't play that much, especially on football, and he would then focus on one sport.  If he chooses basketball, which I still believe he will, he's going to be a 3* or 4* type player.  Michigan basketball is focusing on 4* and 5* recruits right now.  He would be a great addition, especially as a walk-on, but let's be realistic about this, Michigan basketball will probably end up with better prospects than Harris.  Not better walk-on players, but if he moves to one sport, his two sport advantage will effectively be gone anyways.

This is a great gain for MSU and really showcases where both their basketball and football teams are headed.  Harris is a very talented player and will probably do a lot for them, whether as a football player or as a basketball player.  Michigan did lose out on a rare talent, but this isn't the end of its 2014 recruiting by any means.  Once the classes are finalized, I think fans are going to be more than satisfied with the results, regardless of Harris' decision.

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