Jim Harbaugh made sure that Wednesday wasn't your father's National Signing Day.
And it might never be again.
The Michigan coach took the annual event to a new and, perhaps, absurd level with a star-studded celebration of the Wolverines' signing class that was broadcast online by The Players Tribune. His brother, Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh, would have been the main attraction at a more tame news conference. But Harbaugh is anything but tame, and by the time Derek Jeter, wrestling legend Ric Flair and New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady made their appearances on the show, his brother's presence was something of an afterthought.
Former coaches Lou Holtz and Mike Shanahan discussed the signees' physical skills while video highlights of their high school games rolled in the background in Michigan's 3,500-seat Hill Auditorium. Holtz suggested during the event that other college coaches would begin to copy Harbaugh's signing day.
But will they?
In terms of exposure and excitement, Harbaugh definitely raised the bar. But by organizing an event in which celebrities and respected former coaches touted incoming signees with suggestions, for instance, that "a young Tyrone Wheatley" is joining the program, Harbaugh could be setting himself up for trouble. As strong as Michigan's signing class was, history shows very few will become a star player, many will take redshirts, and some might not make an impact at all.
And it's hard to imagine some of the nation's more conservative coaches doing anything to add to expectations that are already unreasonably high for incoming freshmen.
Here are some other things we learned Wednesday from national signing day:
2. Rebel yell. An NCAA investigation into allegations of violations in the Ole Miss athletic program did nothing to prevent Rebels coach Hugh Freeze to reel in a top-10 signing class. It's future classes that the NCAA cloud might affect. This one, however, was stellar. And it included a five-star quarterback in Shea Patterson who could be the heir apparent to Ole Miss starter Chad Kelly, who has one more year in Oxford.
3. Coming on Strong. The Texas Longhorns began the day with the No. 32 signing class in the nation, according to ESPN, and eventually rose to a top-15 class. A jump of nearly 20 spots on signing day is virtually unheard of, and served notice that Texas is back as a recruiting power. The primary thrust came from LB Erick Fowler, a five-star recruit from Manor, Texas, who had been committed to LSU and flipped to Texas. Coach Charlie Strong still has plenty of problems to solve at UT, but this signing class should do a lot to help.
4. Tide rises late. Texas wasn't the only team to make a big signing-day splash. Alabama entered the day with a signing class ranked No. 8 in the nation in Rivals.com's rankings, and falling as far as No. 14 later in the morning. With a late rush of signings from top recruits, however, the Crimson Tide closed with the kind of class Alabama fans have come to expect from Nick Saban. Letters of intent from LB Ben Davis, DB Shyheim Carter, and LB Mack Wilson pushed the Tide's class to the top of the rankings.
6. One Bosa out, one in. Just weeks after losing DE Joey Bosa to the NFL draft, Ohio State coach Urban Meyer added his younger brother, Nick Bosa, to the Buckeyes' 2016 signing class. Also a defensive end, the younger Bosa comes from the same powerhouse high school (Ft. Lauderdale Aquinas) as Joey, and comes in with similarly high expectations. Meyer did little to dampen those Wednesday, saying Nick is ahead of where Joey was at the same age.
7. Spring in the heat. Harbaugh announced that the Wolverines will indeed hold part of spring practice at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., a move that reportedly had been in the works for weeks. That might not have anything to do with the 2016 signing class, but you'd better believe it has a lot to do with recruiting. Exposing the Wolverines program to recruits in the South has been a focus for Harbaugh with his satellite camps, and the motive here is surely no different.
8. Big day for Clay. So much for the assumption that USC needs a slick-talking, high-profile coach to recruit top classes for the Trojans. Clay Helton, whose hire from interim to permanent head coach was largely panned in the media, signed the top-rated class in the Pac-12.
9. Flipped. One of the most notable signing-day switches Wednesday came from DL Shavar Manuel of Tampa, who had been committed to Florida but signed with Florida State.
10. Snoop with the scoop. Thousands of recruits announce their intentions on signing day, and a few elite ones get to do it on television. But only Jack Jones announced his decision with Snoop Dogg: