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Fact or Fiction: Jim Harbaugh protest too little, too late

National recruiting director Mike Farrell and national recruiting analyst Adam Gorney tackle three topics daily and determine whether they believe the statements or not.

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1. Jim Harbaugh is late to the party with his protest.

Jim Harbaugh
Jim Harbaugh (AP Images)

Farrell’s take: FACT. I like the fact that Jim Harbaugh is involved with the players and parents movement at Michigan, but where was this a few weeks ago when the voice of the Michigan coach would have been more powerful? When Scott Frost at Nebraska was leading the charge publicly, he could have used some vocal help from high power coaches like Harbaugh to perhaps save the fall. Now it might be too late.

Gorney’s take: FICTION. Harbaugh has been clear for the last few months about his stance and his desire for Michigan to play football. In July, Harbaugh said that the coronavirus pandemic is a part of our society and that no expert view that he knows of states that playing football would make things worse. He has continued to make those statements, making it as clear as possible that getting back on the football field is a top priority.

The Big Ten decided to not follow Harbaugh’s lead and the outcome of that decision is yet to be determined whether it was wise or not. It was important for Harbaugh to attend a protest at Michigan this past weekend and he clearly stated again that the Big Ten should be freed to play football. There’s not much more he can do on the topic if his university president won’t publicly back him and the conference he plays in is still trying to figure out what to do.

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2. Ed Orgeron’s stance on Oklahoma’s Sooner Summit is hypocritical.

Ed Orgeron
Ed Orgeron (AP Images)

Farrell’s take: FACT. When the Sooner Summit occurred, a visit of a group of players interested in Oklahoma apparently organized by Caleb Williams and with no coaches involved, LSU coach Ed Orgeron came out against it. Fast forward a couple of weekends and LSU is the site of a similar gathering with a ton of great players on campus. I get it — if you can’t beat them, join them, but it’s not a great look to copy an idea you criticized so soundly.

Gorney’s take: FICTION. The Sooner Summit, the LSU Summit this weekend and other player-led organized recruiting visits are another perfect example of the fact that the NCAA or conferences can try to stop the normal flow of life as much as they want but kids are still going to be kids and being together on recruiting visits is still important.

Maybe all of these summits will awaken the NCAA to the reality that it would be far better if the programs actually controlled these outings by giving out hand sanitizer, masks, keeping the players socially distant on the trips and following protocols, instead of seeing them all gathered together taking pictures.
As for Orgeron, I’m saying fiction here because his stance isn’t all that tough. He said it might be crossing the line a little bit and looks to see what the NCAA says, but he wasn’t overly critical of what the prospects organized at Oklahoma, only to have the same thing done at LSU. Orgeron cannot stop recruits from showing up in Baton Rouge, hanging out and touring the campus. His stance wasn’t super negative toward Oklahoma, so I don’t think it was hypocritical.

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3. UGA should be worried about Korey Foreman at LSU.

Korey Foreman
Korey Foreman

Farrell’s take: FACT. I made a FutureCast to Georgia for Korey Foreman and felt very confident about it based on what I heard about his visit to Athens. But if I’m Georgia, I’m worried that he’s at LSU with friend Maason Smith, the top DT in the country, in Smith’s home state. Georgia had a massive lead after Foreman’s visit to Athens, but we will see after this pitch from LSU.

Gorney’s take: FACT. Foreman has said for a while that he probably wouldn’t go to a school he hasn’t visited - and that last one on his list was LSU. He was there this past weekend and it was absolutely a very important trip for many reasons. the biggest of which may be hanging out with close friend and fellow five-star Maason Smith. My bet is that Smith follows a long line of top-ranked players from Louisiana and ends up playing for the Tigers. Foreman has made it no secret he would love to play with Smith and so now seeing LSU, that could be a reality. Georgia does have a lot to worry about now that Foreman has visited LSU but the Bulldogs are still very, very high on the list.

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