Jim Harbaugh: Michigan State is 'biggest guy on the block'

Dr. Saturday
(AP Photo/Tony Ding)
(AP Photo/Tony Ding)

Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh made an admission about the state of his program on Wednesday.

“We know we’re not the biggest guy on the block – Michigan State’s the biggest guy,” Harbaugh said, per the Detroit Free-Press.

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Harbaugh was speaking in front of nearly 200 high school coaches at a clinic in Detroit and one person in the room clapped when Harbaugh acknowledged the recent success of the Spartans.

“Rightfully so,” Harbaugh said in response to the applause. “They have done a tremendous job. We respect the job they’ve done, but we want to be that.”

Michigan State has won six of the last seven matchups in the rivalry with the Wolverines and has been the far better program in the last decade overall. Harbaugh is Michigan’s third head coach since 2011 and has some work to do to reach the level of Mark Dantonio’s MSU program – especially in recruiting. Dantonio’s staff has long-standing relationships with high school coaches in the Detroit area, so Harbaugh and crew are playing catch up. He admitted as much. 

“We want Detroit players at the University of Michigan,” Harbaugh said. “We’ve got a great history of Detroit players (at Michigan), and not just for football, we want them to get an education, we want to educate your players and we want them to succeed. Not just with football, but as great people.”

Thomas Wilcher, head coach at Cass Technical High School in Detroit, told the Free Press that Harbaugh’s concession was something the local coaching community wanted to hear.

"The most important thing I saw Jim do today was he recognized, this is Michigan but right now, Michigan State is on the big block," Wilcher said. "That gives you an opportunity to say hey, we've got to get back on that block right now at the top. He gave respect to Mark Dantonio and the most important thing is he took that and will build upon that. He understands where he's at and he understands where he has to go. He has a vision. And that's what's important."

For more Michigan news, visit TheWolverine.com.

For more Michigan State news, visit SpartanMag.com.

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Sam Cooper is a contributor for the Yahoo Sports blogs. Have a tip? Email him or follow him on Twitter!

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