Bob Wojnowski and John Niyo preview UM-Notre Dame and MSU-Penn State on this week's College Football Show. The Detroit News
Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh has frequently been rumored to be returning to the NFL, and he always has issued vehement denials during his tenure with the Wolverines.
He called a recent report “total crap,” according to a letter he sent to recruits and obtained by the MichiganInsider radio show, and said this was another attempt by “enemies” of the program to negative recruit and misrepresent.
A Michigan spokesperson confirmed to The Detroit News the letter's authenticity.
Harbaugh, in his fifth season with the Wolverines, ranked No. 19 and with a 5-2 overall record, 3-2 in the Big Ten, felt compelled to reach out to recruits, according Sam Webb of the MichiganInsider, to refute a sourced report published Tuesday on FootballScoop.com. According to the website, sources had indicated “Harbaugh’s representatives have their eye on getting their client back to the NFL.”
This report appeared just a few days after Michigan’s loss at Penn State last Saturday that effectively ended the Wolverines’ pursuit of a Big Ten championship.
According to the letter authored by Harbaugh that Webb obtained and shared on his WTKA radio show Wednesday morning, the Michigan head coach denied the report.
“I am reaching out to let you know that the recent claims that I am ‘pursuing an exit strategy’ are total crap,” Harbaugh wrote. “It’s an annual strategy driven by our enemies to cause disruption to our program and to negatively recruit.
“By the way, I don’t even have an ‘agent or representative.’”
He asked parents to excuse the “informality” of the letter, but wanted to release this as quickly as possible.
“I am committed to your sons, their education and to their development as football players and people.”
Quarterbacks coach Ben McDaniels said Wednesday he has not fielded any calls from recruits looking for assurances Harbaugh will remain as head coach.
“I think all of our recruits at this point are very aware of this being a cyclical thing every year, some of that storyline getting out. I just know I’m glad he’s here, I know I’m glad I’m here. I know I’m glad he’s not going anywhere.
Michigan has 24 commitments to the 2020 class and currently has the No. 9-ranked recruiting class nationally by 247Sports composite.
This really has been an annual occurrence since Harbaugh arrived in Ann Arbor after coaching the San Francisco 49ers, which he took to Super Bowl. He has, at times, been colorful in his disdain for the rumors.
During the 2016 football banquet, he told the crowd of players, parents and fans that he was not leaving Michigan and was “not even considering it,” after similar reports had surfaced.
“A lot of this talk is coming from our enemies, from coaches, you know the names,” Harbaugh said at the time. “You probably know the names of the top three I’m referring to.
“We know them as jive turkeys. Say it like it is. That’s the way it is.”