If the timing of Damien Harris’ commitment today was a bit of a surprise, the choice of Michigan was not exactly a shock. The Wolverines were considered the favorite for the Madison Southern running back, who is rated as the 20th best player nationally and third best tailback in the Class of 2015 by ESPN.
Did/does Kentucky have a chance in the Harris sweepstakes? Harris did make two visits to the UK campus and was said to be impressed with what he saw. But the 5-foot-11, 205-pound running back was looking for a school that (a) could win the national championship and (b) will run the football.
True, just last Friday at the Greater Louisville UK Alumni Kickoff Luncheon, UK offensive coordinator Neal Brown said that one of the biggest differences between his Air Raid and the old Air Raid is the ground game.
“We do know how to run the football,” Brown said. “There’s a lot of things positive about Coach Mumme (but) he wasn’t real interested in running the football. It’s a lot easier to do when you’re the head coach and not the offensive coordinator. We will run the football. Those are the two biggest things: tempo and being able to run the football.”
At Texas Tech last year, Brown’s offense ran the football 40.2 percent of the time — 399 rushing attempts compared to 594 passing attempts. Brady Hoke’s Wolverines last year ran the football 61.2 percent of the time — 502 rushing attempts; 318 passing attempts.
Michigan did just pick up a commitment from George Campbell, considered the nation’s No. 1 wide receiver prospect for 2015. Campbell is out o f Tarpon Springs, Florida and ran a 4.37 at the Nike camp in Oregon.
Then again, it’s a long time until February 2015, when Harris would officially sign. A lot can happen between now and then. Remember, Southern Cal thought it had
Justin Jason Hatcher wrapped up before Mark Stoops and Company flipped the Louisville Trinity defensive end, who signed with the Cats. I doubt Stoops/Brown will give up on Harris.