By Jake Lourim, Daily Sports Writer
Published January 21, 2014
Michigan football coach Brady Hoke’s prized 2015 recruiting class keeps getting smaller.
Top-ranked running back Damien Harris decommitted from Michigan on Tuesday morning, according to multiple media reports. Scout.com’s Sam Webb first broke the news on Twitter.
On Dec. 17, five-star wide receiver George Campbell — the No. 2 player in the country according to ESPN — also decommitted. The loss of Harris leaves the Wolverines with a glaring weakness at skill positions in the 2015 class.
The Wolverines’ 2015 class, which once had two of the nation’s top five commits, now has just four total: four-star athlete Shaun Crawford, three-star safety Tyree Kinnel, three-star kicker Andrew David and three-star offensive tackle Jon Runyan Jr. Among the remaining four, only Crawford ranks in ESPN’s top 300 for the class.
Harris’s decommitment came just five days after new offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier visited Harris. Nussmeier came from Alabama to replace fired offensive coordinator Al Borges on Jan. 8.
“We love coach Borges,” Harris’s mother, Lynn, told Scout.com. “He was the one that recruited Damien, so I’m not going to sit here and say that it didn’t have anything to do with it. I’m not going to sit here and say it had everything to do with it.”
Harris received a Michigan offer after his sophomore year on June 19, 2012 and committed on July 29 of the following year. He also had offers from Oklahoma, Penn State, Notre Dame, South Carolina, Florida and Ohio State, as well as home-state schools Louisville and Kentucky.
Lynn Harris told 247Sports that Michigan is still his No. 1 choice even though his recruitment is open again.
“Even though Michigan is No. 1, and that hasn’t changed, he just wants to make sure that he doesn’t have any regrets when he gets ready to enroll,” she told Scout.com. “He just wants to make sure he didn’t leave any stone unturned and make sure he didn’t miss out on anything.”
His high-school coach, Jon Clark, added that backlash from Michigan fans online would deter Harris from re-committing to the Wolverines.
“People need to back off of him (on Twitter),” Clark told ESPN.com’s Tom VanHaaren. “He’s a 16-year-old kid. People are attacking him on there. You have grown men who are way out of line, and Michigan fans better ease up or they’re going to push him away from Michigan. The coaches aren’t. The fans are.”
Harris had 220 carries for 2,621 yards and scored 44 touchdowns in his junior season at Madison Southern High School in Berea, Ky., amounting to 11.9 yards per carry and 218 yards per game. He amassed 1,778 yards and 35 touchdowns as a sophomore.