Chris Partridge: Commitments must hold up their end of bargain

ByTom VanHaaren ESPN logo
Saturday, January 30, 2016

Expanding on coach Jim Harbaugh's defense of Michigan's recruiting practices, Wolverines recruiting coordinator and linebackers coach Chris Partridge told ESPN on Saturday that he and the staff have been upfront about expectations.

"You have to continue to work," Partridge said. "You can't just shut things down when you get a scholarship offer. You still have to hold up your end of the bargain academically and athletically."

Harbaugh and his program have come under recent fire after recruits Erik Swenson and Rashad Weaver complained they weren't given proper notice that they would no longer be a part of Michigan's 2016 class.

Without addressing specific complaints, Harbaugh told reporters Friday that his recruiting process was "a meritocracy," and that much like the current Michigan players, recruits would be held to a certain standard. He also said he and his staff have been transparent in their recruiting efforts and communication.

Partridge said parents of other Michigan commitments have been in touch to ask about the incidents -- and to notify them of negative recruiting efforts by other schools.

"It just shows us that, if we weren't doing a good job then they wouldn't be doing that kind of stuff," Partridge said. "We're doing a good job. We had a phenomenal season and I think people must be a little intimidated because they're really going into their imagination to make stuff up. I feel very strongly about Coach Harbaugh and the direction we're headed, and we just plan to stay the course."

Partridge is the former head coach at Paramus Catholic High in New Jersey, where 2016 No. 1 prospect Rashan Gary, a Michigan recruit, plays. He said he expected the negative recruiting, having seen it firsthand in his former role. Partridge coached current Michigan star Jabrill Pepperswhen he was the No. 2-ranked prospect out of Paramus.

"With Jabrill, I'd be sitting in the room and people would pull out booklets and PowerPoints trying to recruit against other schools," he said. "One time a coach had a booklet with a cover page, beautiful binding, that he gave to me and Jabrill. I started to go through it and it was all bashing the five other schools Jabrill was considering.

"I grabbed the book from Jabrill, grabbed mine and threw [them] in the trash and told the coach that we would now like to hear about his school."

Partridge says Harbaugh told his staff not to attempt to combat negative recruiting, which he said isn't part of Michigan's strategy.

Michigan currently has the fifth-ranked class in ESPN's rankings.

National signing day is Wednesday.

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