Michigan assistant Jay Harbaugh has racked up a slew of frequent flier miles on the recruiting trails in recent weeks. Trips from Florida to Massachusetts, and then last night to Arizona were among the latest on his busy itinerary. The trip to the desert was definitely among his longer trips, but the chance to get face-time with Phoenix (Ariz.) Brophy Prep senior defensive end Connor Murphy surely made it worthwhile. Harbaugh first stopped by the talented youngster's school before meeting back up with him later that night for in-home visit.
“I didn’t know too much about (Coach Jay), but I obviously have a great relationship with his father. So really this was kind of about building a relationship with him,” Murphy told The Michigan Insider. “We were talking about setting up an official visit date and that will be somewhere around January 20th. It will be around there for sure. The biggest thing about Michigan I love and what both Coach Harbaughs are doing is the way they are rebuilding the program. (That) stands out to me the most about Michigan football. They are recruiting the biggest, toughest, meanest SOB, blue collar guys they can find. Those are the type of guys you can win a national championship with. They said they are looking for guys like that, and I fit that mold exactly for what they are looking for. They love me and I love them.”
“I would probably give (the in-home visit) a nine out of 10. (Coach Jay) has such a great personality. He was kind of like a older brother to me and we clicked instantly. We got along and answered all the questions I asked, which weren’t too many. (We) kept the conversation going and it was pretty solid.”
The 6-7, 250-pounder has a long-standing relationship with Jim Harbaugh that dates back to his older brother Trent's time playing for him at Stanford. After sitting down with the younger Harbaugh for the first time, Murphy definitely saw a little bit of his dad in him.
“Obviously they are father and son, so they will share some similarities there,” said Murphy. “Coach Jay definitely has his father’s personality. Coach (Jim) Harbaugh is just a way older version of Jay. Coach Harbaugh is a little more serious since he is older, and Coach Jay is a little more laid back, but they are both straight-shooters and both say how it is. They aren’t going to BS you at all and will tell you how it is.”
One of the main topics of discussion during the in-home visit was the departure of former defensive coordinator D.J. Durkin.
“He spoke very highly of Coach Durkin," said Murphy. "Me, my father, and my older brother Trent kind of built a good relationship with Coach Durkin from the past. He was my brother’s coach at Stanford for a little bit. We already knew about Coach Durkin and he is a fantastic coach, so that is probably why he left. He is going to be the head coach somewhere else because he has that power and is capable of being offered that job. Once again he is a great coach. Coach Jay kind of promised me that they are going to do the best they can to fill that spot and Coach Harbaugh has a lot of connections. If you look at all the coaches that have been under Coach Harbaugh, they all have been pretty successful. Coach (Derek) Mason is the coach at Vanderbilt and Coach (Lance) Anderson over at Stanford is thinking of maybe going to be the head coach at BYU. All these guys have been pretty successful under Coach Harbaugh. I’m sure the next defensive coordinator at Michigan will also be great. It sucks that Coach Durkin left, but I’m sure the next person up will be just as good. It is a big deal for me, but at the same time it is not.”
Another consideration for Murphy will be the caliber of talent around him. Harbaugh & company have already landed some of the top linemen in the country, and the Wolverines are in main contention for several others. That has caught Murphy’s attention.
“(Jay Harbaugh) really talked to me about how I am a perfect mold for Michigan on top of guys they are recruiting,” said Murphy. “I also asked in general about Rashan Gary, who is the No. 1 recruit. Coach Jay was talking about him and saying we have a good chance with him. They are living up to what (they'd do) and they are recruiting the biggest and baddest guys. If they keep doing that then there will only be better things for them in the future.”
“I would be dumb if I didn’t want to be a part of that. You don’t want to play with a crappy defensive line. In high school. if you are a stand out guy on the defensive line, then you will be getting all the double and triple teamed. That is not as fun. At the next level you don’t want the same exact thing. You want to be with guys with your same mentality, so the offensive line has to be worried about all of us. That is a big thing for me. If they have to worry about all of us, then they can’t triple team all of us. They will have to pick and choose wisely. That would be such a handful for the Big Ten offensive lines in the future if we had such a high-powered defensive line like that. That is one thing all big-time recruits kind of look at.”
With offers from Arizona State, Oregon, UCLA, USC, Arizona, Stanford and many others, Murphy maintains he’s still open and will look to take all his official visits. However, many pundits are forecasting him to stay out West. Murphy, though, insists that is far from a foregone conclusion.
“Michigan is definitely up there and one of the top ones for me,” said Murphy. “I’m very serious in them and my interest is very high for Michigan. I kind of got the concept and idea for what they are about, so that is why I’m taking my official visit up there... so I can make sure if that hype is true. I want to go up there and check out the campus and see what it is like and see if I am a true fit for it, so then I can take the next step with Michigan.”