ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- The story went viral this week.
Michigan tight ends coach Jay Harbaugh -- the son of Wolverines’ headman Jim Harbaugh -- penning a letter to the girlfriend of 2016 four-star tight end recruit Naseir Upshur in an attempt to recruit the young man in a different way.
Unorthodox but certainly not unprecedented when it comes to recruiting, Harbaugh wanted no part of discussing the handwritten letter while meeting with media Thursday evening inside Schembechler Hall.
“Yeah, not going to take any recruiting questions,” Harbaugh said. “That’s not; I’m not allowed to talk about recruiting unfortunately.”
Although Harbaugh wouldn’t directly respond to the recruiting tactic gone national story, the 25-year-old did admit to having a very unique perspective when it comes to building relationships with his players and/or potential recruits.
Just a few years older than some, Harbaugh says he brings a different approach based on his age.
“I see things through a lens that’s closer to that of the guys that we -- I said I wasn’t going to talk about recruiting -- from those people,” Harbaugh said. “I think that’s helpful sometimes or even from our own players perspectives it’s probably much different I guess from the rest of the staff.
“Just like it’s great to have people from different schemes, west coast scheme and this scheme and that scheme, all together from an offensive perspective, I think it’s probably good for a staff chemistry perspective. I’m the young guy but I get the short end of the stick on votes and stuff cause I’m the youngest guy so, I’ll live with it though.”
The youngest coach on Michigan’s staff by 12 years, Harbaugh enjoys the great ability to be able to relate to his players on a level that maybe others can’t.
Even so, despite the small age gap between player and coach, Harbaugh has drawn a line in the sand and established himself as the authority figure, not a buddy-buddy system in the tight ends room.
“I just feel like their coach,” Harbaugh said. “Last year I was with guys much older than me and I didn’t feel like I was their little brother. I don’t know.
“They’re fun to be around though and I feel we have a good professional relationship in terms of coach and player, there’s a good mutual respect there, I hope. And I really like being around them.”