For Damien Harris last weekend’s trip to Michigan was all about a feeling. The four-star runner wanted to know if he truly felt the same way about Michigan he did before his decommitment in the aftermath of Al Borges’ dismissal as offensive coordinator last month. Fortifying his connections with the remaining staff members was important, but if there was a primary objective it was getting to know new offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier.
“Oh wow… he is a really nice person,” Harris’s mother said regarding Nussmeier. “He seems really genuine. He is very laid back. He is not trying to pressure us or anything like that. He is very laid back and genuine. He is really real if that makes sense. I have had the opportunity to speak with him a couple of times on the phone ever since he took over the job. I’ve called him a couple of times to talk to break the ice so that whenever we met it would just go smoothly… and it did. It really did. He fit right in like he had been there the whole time almost even though he hasn’t. Everything went really, really well.”
Nussmeier clearly passed his “first impression” test with flying colors, but did Harris’ latest experience in Ann Arbor elicit the same feelings from him that past visits did.
“It was the same comfort,” Ms. Harris reported. “I know for me it was. I really haven’t gotten a chance to sit down with Damien and discuss it (at length) because he has been in school and practice since we got home. I did ask him (Monday) night, ‘did the feelings come back that you had initially with Michigan?’ He was like, ‘the feeling never left. I never loss any of the feeling that I had for Michigan.’ It was just some things that came to light and the whole termination of Coach Borges. It wasn’t everything to do with him decommitting, but it had a something to do with it. He said, ‘I didn’t lose any of the feelings. The feelings are still there. I still love that place. I still love Michigan.’ He is just making sure that we went about it the right way and he got the full experience.”
So while the visit affirmed Michigan’s status as a favorite in Harris eyes, he is still a long way away from annoining it as his future home again. The Wolverines still have a battle on their hands, but Mom insists the Wolverines’ should not be deterred by that fact.
“This is just my opinion… I would say right now it is between Michigan and Ohio State,” she said. “I really would. He hasn’t the opportunity to go to any other places (yet), but I think it is between the two.”
“And I still believe from what I see that Michigan holds that edge over Ohio.”
A number of other suitors will have an opportunity to unseat the Maize & Blue in the coming months. Harris is determined to stick to his plan to take an extremely patient approach to his recruitment this time around so he can see as many of his suitors as possible.
“I think he is going to go visit the Florida Gators and we’ve been talking about going to visit Wisconsin,” Ms. Harris said. “I know he would love to see Florida State and Miami as well. He would like to go visit Alabama as well. There are no dates as of yet. I just know that we’re trying to get as much done between spring and summer before fall season starts.”
“It will be signing day when he announces (the school he is committing to),” she later added. “That’s what he wanted to do at first and then we kind of made a hasty decision back in July. He was like, ‘I’m going to go ahead and commit. I was like, ‘are you sure because you know you wanted to announce on signing day of your senior year?’ Now he is like, ‘no…. I want to make my decision on signing day. That’s when I want everybody to know.’ I said, ‘okay, that’s what we’ll do.”