Michigan running backs coach Jay Harbaugh spent part of the Wolverines’ recent bye week in St. Louis, a city which has been rising in its production of high-level football talent.
Michigan has been aggressive there, and Harbaugh stopped in on several top targets with Michigan offers and others from around the country.
He also swung by Eureka High School. At the time, it may have seemed like an odd stop, but Wildcats had a sleeper Michigan had uncovered named Hassan Haskins. At the time, he had several offers including Wyoming, Purdue, Western Kentucky and more.
After Harbaugh’s stop, Michigan’s staff continued to evaluate him, and what they saw was a back well over 200 pounds who used every bit of his size and poundage when he ran. The Wolverines offered Haskins a scholarship and now most recruiting analysts view them as the odds-on favorite to land him.
Some fans have questioned the offer based on Haskins’ previous lack of hype or major offers. However, he has been a known quantity in St. Louis since his sophomore season. Opposing high school coaches rave about him, and within the walls of Eureka, they have been long aware that he is a special young man.
“His play pretty much speaks for itself,” head coach Jacob Sumner says. “Not only is he a talented young man on the field, but the best thing about him is his work ethic and attitude. He loves to play the game of football, and it shows in every aspect of his preparation and play. He is a full-throttle guy at all times and on top of that, he is the ultimate team guy. He is always the first to congratulate his teammates.”
Sumner admits he is not sure how Michigan found its way to Haskins, but his star back is glad they did.
“They have moved up to the top,” Haskins said. “When I was a kid, I always used to watch Michigan. Always and every time. I just fell in love with them. I just love them.”
He will take an official visit to Ann Arbor the weekend of Oct. 28. He does not have timeline for a commitment yet, as this will be his first time at Michigan. Sumner’s phone has been busy lately, and it is likely the Wolverines will not be the last school to offer Haskins, but their confidence in him has meant a lot.
“He just absolutely couldn’t be more excited,” Sumner said. “He is a very humble kid, but he smiled from ear to ear and that’s how I know how completely and overly excited about it he is. He is going up there to check it out, and we will see where it stands after that.”
While Haskins has been categorized as a recent discovery for Michigan and the recruiting world, Eureka High and the city of St. Louis know everyone is just catching up on what they have been seeing for several years.
“We knew it the minute we had him,” Sumner said. “His freshman year, we saw the talent and then coming back in his sophomore year, as soon as he touched the field the first week, we knew he was a D1 football player. He’s had an unbelievable season this year week in and week out with his running style and effort level on the field, so he’s been turning more eyes.”
Several of those eyes were in Ann Arbor, and the Wolverines will now look to add his physicality and toughness to their running game.
2 top targets set to decide
Michigan fans will have to keep their eyes on two announcements this Friday as both Missouri City (Tex.) senior tight end Mustapha Muhammad and West Lafayette (Ind.) junior defensive end George Karlaftis will announce their decisions.
Muhammad, a 6-foot-4, 231-pound four-star prospect, will announce his choice prior to his game at 7:30 p.m. Eastern time. The Wolverines are the favorites over Clemson, UCLA, and Texas.
On the other hand, the 247Sports Crystal Ball favors Purdue for Karlaftis. The Boilermakers have the local advantage and Karlaftis’ most recent visit was to Purdue. Michigan last had him on campus for their BBQ at the Big House in the summer.
He will announce his decision following his game on Friday night.
Allen Trieu began covering the state of Michigan for Scout.com in 2005 and began managing the entire Midwest in 2009. He has been featured on the Big Ten Network on its annual Signing Day Show. His Michigan and Michigan State recruiting columns appear weekly at detroitnews.com.