Photo: Gregory Shamus/Getty

Recruiting college athletes is an unpredictable process in which players can change their minds at the literal drop of a hat.

In an attempt to shore up some of this uncertainty, the ever-evolving recruiting machine that is Jim Harbaugh (remember the satellite camps?) hired the father of a top dual-threat quarterback prospect for the class of 2019.

The fresh Michigan football hire, Michael Johnson Sr., was previously the head football coach at The King’s Academy, a private school in California.


Johnson isn’t not qualified. As notes, he was “a former college and NFL offensive coordinator.” But by looking at Harbaugh’s past staffing decisions, it’s clear that hiring adults who hold sway over potential recruits is strategic.

In 2015, Harbaugh hired the mother of Stanford transfer Wayne Lyons to be a director of player development. Last January, he hired the high school football coach from Paramus Catholic, and then signed the country’s top recruit, Rashan Gary from—you guessed it—Paramus Catholic. Last February, after Devin Bush Jr. signed with the Wolverines, Harbaugh added Devin Bush Sr. to the coaching staff.


These recruiting tactics adhere to the letter of NCAA law, if not the spirit: