One of the many in-state stops for Jim Harbaugh last week was Orchard Lake St. Mary’s Prep. And as was the case during all the other visits, the presence of Michigan’s new headman received a great deal of fanfare. St. Mary’s star linebacker Josh Ross certainly was among those enthused by Harbaugh’s arrival. As a matter of fact, everything about Harbaugh enthuses him.
“He’s a real cool dude,” Ross said. “I didn’t to talk to him, but (him being there) was really nice. He asked (St. Mary’s coach George Porritt) about my grades and asked about basketball.”
“I was just excited (that Harbaugh was named coach). I want to see them do better. Next year I want to see them progress. I think he was the best coach for them to get out of everybody.”
Spoken like a lifelong Michigan fan. Also spoken like a player for whom the bloom had fallen off the rose when it came to his perception of his childhood favorite. Michigan State, Ohio State, Oklahoma, and Tennessee all stepped forth with offers, and all subsequently gained significant traction in his recruitment. That’s especially true for the Spartans and Buckeyes. Though he still thought highly of the Wolverines, he couldn’t hide the fact that he didn’t see them in the same light.
The question now is, did Harbaugh’s hire restore that light?
“Yeah… honestly, it did,” Ross replied.
The talented youngster’s leaderboard became rather non-descript last fall. Now it appears that the initial hierarchy, the one that had Michigan at the top, is on the verge of being restored.
“I don’t really know,” replied Ross when asked if he has a leader. “I know Michigan is up there a lot. Very high now. But I don’t really know. I’m probably going to wait until the spring after basketball season to start visiting schools.”
That illustrates where Ross’ focus is at the moment… on the hardwood. To be clear he doesn’t have any visions of basketball stardom. After all, there aren’t many 6-1, 215-pound power forwards in college. No, he throws his weight around on the basketball floor to help his team and to further his conditioning for a junior football campaign that he hopes will be more exemplary than the one he just experienced.
“I think I did good,” Ross said regarding his sophomore performance. “I think this year I got better with my reads. I was quicker (and) faster with them. And I was faster to the ball.”
“Coming from the beginning of the year starting a little slow and then by the end of the season winning the state championship… I think we had a great team this year. I think it was a real good season. Next year we’re going to be even better.”