Harbaugh's southern 'Swarm Tour' adds another camp

Angelique S. Chengelis
The Detroit News
Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh

Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh clearly is planning to make his presence known in the south as he continues to add camps in that region to his upcoming summer satellite tour.

Harbaugh’s “Swarm Tour” Part II now has four camp stops — Pearl High in Mississippi on June 8, Bob Jones High in Alabama on June 10 and the Showtyme Elite camp in Dallas on June 13 were the first three announced — and has added the Next Level camp at Cedar Grove High near Atlanta on June. 2.

Jimmy Smith, head coach of Cedar Grove, has never hosted a summer camp and said his players who know about the camp already are enthused.

“I’m so happy about it,” Smith told The Detroit News on Thursday. “The kids are already excited.”

He is expecting between 300 and 500 participants from all over Georgia.

Smith said he likes giving local players a chance to see another college program outside of their immediate area.

“It’s an opportunity to see something they would never see before,” Smith told The News. “A lot of kids only get to go to the same schools, the same area. I’ve always liked Michigan. It’s a great program.”

Smith coached incoming Michigan freshman linebacker Elysee Mbem-Bosse, rated three stars coming out of Cedar Grove, so has had a chance to get to know Harbaugh.

“I like how straightforward he is, and I like his honesty,” Smith said. “He wants what’s best for the kids.”

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Last year, Harbaugh and his staff traveled from June 4-12 making stops at camps in Indianapolis, Alabama, Texas, Pennsylvania, Florida and California and ended at the Sound Mind Sound Body camp in metro Detroit.

Harbaugh has said the camps are a way for players who can’t afford to make an unofficial visit to Michigan an ability to experience the program. They also serve as a recruiting tool for Michigan and can help the staff identify potential recruits.

“Jim Harbaugh is on the forefront in college athletics with what he is doing,” Pearl coach John Perry told the Clarion-Ledger in a story on Wednesday. “We are excited to have him here. It should be a really cool deal. Anytime you get a chance to be at a football camp with Jim Harbaugh and his coaches, you have to be excited. That’s why they had 500 people show up at Prattville (Ala. last year).”

While the SEC and ACC commissioners have been outspoken about Harbaugh’s decision to take his team to IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., for spring practice during spring break, they also have been challenging these satellite camps.

Last summer, several SEC and ACC coaches expressed issues with Harbaugh’s “Swarm Tour.” Those conferences only permit their coaches to work camps within a 50-mile radius of their schools.

The ACC and SEC in January submitted to the NCAA proposals that would abolish satellite camps. The ACC proposal would forbid universities to use secondary sites for camps, instead allowing only camps held on campus or facilities used regularly by the program. The SEC proposal would prohibit coaches from working as guest coaches at another school’s camp, as Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald did last summer at Harbaugh’s summer camp.

These proposals are expected to be voted on by the NCAA in April.


Twitter @chengelis