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Michigan Commit Adds To Satellite Camp Controversy

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Dytarious Johnson's story ensures the satellite camp controversy isn't going away anytime soon.

Take you and your dad pants back to Michigan.
Take you and your dad pants back to Michigan.
Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

UPDATE: It seems new Michigan commit Dytarious Johnson was already on the Wolverines' radar to some extent:

"When I went and visited (with Davis in April) they told me they wanted to evaluate me more," Johnson recalled.  "They wanted me to come to their (satellite) camp (in Prattville), and I guess they liked what they saw (because) they offered me today. So I wanted to commit."

I've redacted the line referring to the contrary below.

What makes this excellent is that instead of a true "light bulb" feel-good story, we have Michigan all but setting up a "camp" for the sole purpose of reviewing players they were considering offering. It was never about having a true teaching camp.

The Michigan fans who've given us feedback can be upset about a prior mischaracterized sentence, and that's fine, because in the end the fact that the Prattville junket catered to these kind of targets makes Harbaugh's behavior worse, not better. Finding a diamond in the rough is one thing - intentional obfuscation and shady-as-hell torturing of the rule to turn this "camp" into a specific recruitment visit is quite another.

It might even be an NCAA violation.

The original article (with minor updates for clarity) follows:


Satellite camps can evoke ambivalence when a "Rudy" image is juxtaposed against the reality of a uniform rule designed to afford coaches, players, everyone a break from recruiting.

On one hand, the camps are little more than recruiting opportunities and face time for coaches who are deprived of regional talent -- no matter what their proponents suggest. The SEC's closure of its loophole has merely allowed conference coaches to now travel and exploit the same rule that the Big Ten has exercised for the past few years. Nonetheless, it is a loophole that the Rules Committee can't have seriously contemplated when the measure was first enacted.

On the other hand, exposure to the Jim Harbaughs and James Franklins of the world affords an opportunity for a top-flight education and playing experience to some overlooked guys in our talent-laden part of the world.

That takes us to the story of 2-star linebacker Dytarious Johnson and his Prattville experience:

Johnson Continues Prattville Pipeline - Michigan - Scout

Thanks to a strong showing at Michigan’s satellite camp in Prattville, Alabama Friday, Jim Harbaugh extended an offer to Prattville high linebacker Dytarious Johnson today. The under-the-radar youngster wasted little time becoming the tenth commitment to the Wolverines' 2016 class.

Is it a feel-good story? Of course it is, especially for a guy with offers to such pigskin luminaries as Troy, South Alabama and Memphis. Can we be happy for the kid? Sure, why not. Unfortunately, that's going to be the only angle we hear/read regarding Johnson.

For opponents of the satellite camp, and I am firmly among them, Johnson's commitment to Michigan also reinforces what a sham we're presently operating under. Attaching one's self to a high school 1300 miles away like a dad-jeaned toadstool is by no stretch a "teaching opportunity," as the camps were so designed. We've said all along these are nothing but recruiting junkets. That even Michigan's own film study and recruiting efforts previously overlooked the lightly-regarded Johnson only underscores this fact.

Rather than bolstering the satellite camp, in fact, a measured view of the camps in light of Johnson's commitment, only shows that the loophole is a chance to lazily poach talent in contravention of a rule designed to avoid turning recruiting into a 12-month long circus.

Johnson, in fact, visited Michigan in April. That makes the entire Prattville camp one thing and one thing only: a recruitment trip by the coaching staff during the quiet period:

Quiet period

The quiet period tightens things a bit more, preventing any off-campus contact or viewing. Visits to the college's campus and written or electronic communications are still permitted.

Coaches often try to have prospects visit campus unofficially during this time in the spring and early summer, so that they can become familiar with campus.

The Quiet Period this season, when a prospect may ONLY unofficially visit campus, and coaches MAY NOT visit or evaluate players or contact prospects, is June 1 - June 28.

Read Johnson himself's words from the Scout article cited above:

When I went and visited (with Davis in April) they told me they wanted to evaluate me more," Johnson recalled.  "They wanted me to come to their (satellite) camp (in Prattville), and I guess they liked what they saw (because) they offered me today. So I wanted to commit."

Congratulations, Dytarious Johnson, you've all but admitted that Harbaugh and company have circumvented the NCAA quiet periods for recruitment. And, to Coach Harbaugh, helluva' start there, buddy. Helluva' start.