The Rutgers football program is a copycat, according to a recruiting staffer at Michigan.
On Friday morning, a three-star 2017 prospect from Connecticut named CJ Homes tweeted out what appears to be a congratulatory graphic from the Rutgers football office, for the occasion of his birthday:
— Cj Holmes (@CjHo1mes) May 20, 2016
Seems very nice. Good for Rutgers coach Chris Ash and his staff for remembering the young man’s birthday. That’s the kind of personal touch that really ought to help the Scarlet Knights land top-flight prospects in the future.
But Michigan, apparently, has thought of this before.
— Aaron Bills (@AaronBDesigns) May 20, 2016
This side-by-side is brought to us via Aaron Bills, the “director of football creative” for the Wolverines. It depicts Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh holding up what appears to be a birthday greeting for another recruit last fall. (Bills had to remove Holmes’ (or whoever the recruit was) name and picture from the graphic because of NCAA rules, but that’s probably where he found it.
This is fun, because it’s one Big Ten team publicly and bluntly accusing another of lifting its recruiting tricks. It’s also fun because Rutgers and Michigan clearly have beef right now, and they’re willing to openly hit each other over it.
(Hat tip to several folks in the comments and on Twitter who’ve pointed out that a Michigan Easter graphic looks awfully similar to one Ohio State once did, although — then again — Easter eggs are a fairly common thing.)
Michigan landed five of the top eight players in New Jersey in the 2016 recruiting class, while Rutgers didn’t get any of the best prospects from its own home state. Ash has made a big show of trying to keep top talent home, including pushing the hashtag #FenceTheGarden and putting on an aggressive press to keep the Wolverines at bay.
Harbaugh’s giving the commencement address this year at a New Jersey high school that just happens to have a bunch of blue-chip recruits, including this past year’s No. 1 player, defensive tackle and Michigan signee Rashan Gary. The Wolverines are hosting a satellite camp at that same school on June 8, and Ash transparently shot back by announcing his own camp — featuring Ohio State head coach and his former boss Urban Meyer — just miles away at the same time.
If Ash starts wearing khakis on the sideline, this thing’s going to really heat up.