Jim Harbaugh had a strong message for Pembroke Pines (Fla.) Flanagan linebacker Devin Bush

D.J. Durkin’s departure from Michigan was “bittersweet” for Pembroke Pines (Fla.) Flanagan linebacker Devin Bush, but Jim Harbaugh assured his prized target that the Wolverines won’t miss a beat.

The recruiting finish line is finally in sight for Devin Bush Jr..  On December 16th the Pembroke Pines (Fla.) Flanagan standout will announce the winner from a final four consisting of Michigan, Auburn, Georgia, and Florida State. However, it’s a deliberation process that has been rendered more difficult by the turnover at defensive coordinator for all of his finalists except Florida State.

“That threw his thought process off,” Bush’s father Devin Bush Sr. said.  “All those places with those changes… it was crazy.  It was like, ‘wow!’  It threw him off. It’s almost like he just opened back up a little bit.  He has weigh this thing out because it’s a whole new recruiting process to him now.  It’s not the same people recruiting him.  It’s a whole new set of people.  So for him it was like the recruiting process started all over… and he has to try to figure it out (quickly) because he is an early enrollee.  I feel sorry for him.  I was hurt for him when that happened.”

The defensive uncertainty in Ann Arbor, Auburn, and Athens has led to speculate that the Seminoles had seized a late advantage.  While dad didn’t come close to confirming that, he did acknowledge what is clearly a distinguishing characteristic for his alma mater.

“They’ve had no changes there,” he said simply.

But changes aren’t necessarily harbingers of doom for those that are going through them. Michigan made its way down to Pembroke Pines last week and the interaction with its coaches, especially Harbaugh, served as a reminder that the connections with the remaining staff are really strong too.

“Harbaugh came to Devin Gil’s house and we all went over there,” Mr. Bush said.  “We all were over there and we just had like a cookout/hangout. We had food and we just hung out, talked, watched football games… we were just hanging.  It was like hanging with the boys. “

“Harbaugh is a regular guy.  He didn’t have to do those head coaching duties or do those interviews.  Harbaugh would rather to just be sitting back, watching TV, Laughing… talking about something he thinks is interesting, and just be under the radar. He is just a guy.  He was like, ‘man I’m one of the guys.’”

One of the topics of conversation was D.J. Durkin’s departure, but Harbaugh offered very strong assurances about the continued positive trajectory of his program.

“(Harbaugh) said, ‘listen, it’s Michigan. ‘ He brought Durkin in, so why would he do worse (when hiring a replacement)? Why wouldn’t he do a bang up job? He is going to carefully plan what needs to be done.  He is going to figure it out and he is going to bring the best guy in to accomplish what he needs to have accomplished.”

“We were very excited for (Durkin) because my son and I had developed a relationship with D.J., and he had become close to us,” said Mr. Bush.  “It was an opportunity for him.  For us it was bittersweet. It was like, ‘dang! We didn’t get a chance to work underneath him,” if he (Bush Jr.) choose (Michigan).  But my son hasn’t chosen a school yet.  So we’re just happy for D.J. and we’ve had to sit back and see what else unfolds.”

Bush Jr.’s faith in the vision of for the future in Ann Arbor could tell the tale.

“The big factor with him now is the opportunity,” Mr. Bush stated.  “He is real energetic about the opportunity.  He wants to be a part of something special because use to it after what those guys built at Flanagan.  (It was) a school that wasn’t noticed and now they’re getting ready to play for a state championship.  He wants to play for a defensive coordinator that’s great.  He wants a guy that is highly energetic.  He wants a guy that has defenses that are stingy.  He wants a guy that has a ferocious defensive plan.  He doesn’t want to play sitting back. He wants a guy that is aggressive (and) attacking.”

Over the next seven days he’ll determine whether that’s the kind of coordinator the ultimate victor has, or if it’s the kind of coordinator he believes his victor will get.


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