There were around 50 recruits who got the chance to see Michigan secure its 900th victory, and 2015 running back Damien Harris (Berea, Ky./Madison Southern) was one of them.
The atmosphere was electric and the experience was something Harris says he will take with him forever. If it was even possible, the Wolverines moved further up his leaderboard after the weekend visit.
“I’d say that Michigan was already on top, but it just moved them up even more for me because that’s definitely the type of atmosphere I’d like to play in,” he said. “That makes me want to go there even more. To know that the fans are that into the game, it definitely moved them up.”
His excitement started when he and his mother, Lynn, pulled into the parking lot. They were both floored by the number of tailgaters and fans walking around campus, which was a precursor to what they were about to see inside the stadium.
Prior to the game Harris entered the field through the tunnel and was greeted by cheering fans who screamed Go Blue in his direction. The warm welcome was well received and made Harris and his mother feel at home.
“When we got to the stadium, just to be back there felt good. When the game started to see the stadium fill up and everyone was so excited to be there was great,” his mother said. “I was in awe the whole day, and it was way more than I expected. I knew it wouldn’t be a typical college football game, but I wasn’t ready to come home.”
A sea of maize pompoms being flung around by the cheering fans after kicker Brendan Gibbons made the game-winning field goal has been sticking in Harris’ mind since the game ended.
Everything Harris saw on Saturday was impressive, including Michigan’s most recent commit, offensive lineman Denzel Ward (Chicago/Hales Franciscan). It’s hard to miss the 6-foot-9 lineman, but Harris says it’s something he’s definitely keeping an eye on in his recruitment.
“That’s the one thing I’m looking at is who the top recruits are and where they’re going. If I see a college with a good recruiting class for offensive linemen then that would help with me,” he said. “I’d definitely like to run behind [Ward]. We did some research one linemen and where guys have committed, so I’ll definitely take that into consideration.”
Adding Ward and five offensive linemen who appear in the ESPN 150 between the 2012 and 2013 classes can’t hurt Michigan’s chances on paper.
Harris said he would like to make it back up this season for another game, but isn’t sure if he will be able to. It might not be necessary, though, as he and his mother both saw enough to last awhile.
“There were times at the game when I couldn’t even hear myself talk,” he said. “I can’t really describe it or put it into words how amazing it really was.”