New Missouri football coach Barry Odom says he’s neither surprised nor put out by Jim Harbaugh’s upcoming “Swarm Tour” Part II, which will visit the Show-Me State.
Harbaugh, the Michigan coach who touched off a national debate last spring when he toured the country as a guest instructor at clinics through the Southeastern Conference’s recruiting territory, so-called “satellite camps,” is setting up shop in the Tigers’ back yard.
“You look across the country, that’s happening everywhere,” Odom said Wednesday during a teleconference for SEC East coaches. “The University of Missouri will do a great job when recruiting our state. We’re going to do a great job continuing to develop the relationships that we have. … I understand that we’re going to have some people recruit the state of Missouri and I look forward for us to doing the same.”
Harbaugh will be featured at the Midwest Elite Football Camp, a clinic for high school football players June 15 at Blue Springs South High. He also will appear at a camp at Pittsburg State in southeast Kansas earlier that day.
Blue Springs South boys basketball coach Jimmy Cain is the brother-in-law of Harbaugh’s wife, Sarah. Cain is married to Sarah’s sister, Amy.
After the NCAA Division I Board of Directors reversed course on proposed satellite-camp ban last month, the SEC also lifted conference-level restrictions on its membership fanning out as guest instructors across the country. Missouri is ramping up its own summer recruiting schedule with visits planned through Texas and the Gulf Coast.
“We’ll try to get as many evaluations as we can … and it will be a busy summer,” Odom said. “We’ll be in Dallas, specifically, and the Texas area four or five times. We’ll get down into Mississippi and over into Georgia and Florida.”
The Tigers have been announced as a participant in Oklahoma State’s mega camp in conjunction with the University of Mary Hardin Baylor, which makes five stops in Texas — Belton on June 2, San Antonio and Houston on June 3 and Tyler and Dallas on June 4. Several other power-five schools — Mississippi, Kansas State, Iowa State, Arizona State, Boise State, Northwestern and Oregon State — also are scheduled to appear.
USA Today reported last month that Mizzou would be part of a 15-team mega camp in Atlanta along with Mississippi among others, but it’s unclear if or how the NCAA Division I Council’s initial decision to ban the camps and the NCAA’s subsequent reversal affected those plans. The Tigers also reportedly will partner with North Carolina State for a camp in Atlanta, according to Power Mizzou.
Technically, guest instructors aren’t allowed to recruit players during satellite-camp appearances, but the rapport developed through instruction and the chance for a hands-on evaluation can be pivotal in the recruiting process.
Odom reiterated that getting prospects on campus remains the top priority as it allows for more time with the Tigers’ staff and, he believes, provides a recruiting edge by showcasing Mizzou’s facilities and campus.
That didn’t stop the Tigers from joining the fray, including recently announced camps in Kansas City on June 7 at Park Hill High and in St. Louis on June 5 at Kirkwood High in addition to the on-campus lineup.
Missouri almost certainly isn’t done adding camp dates and locations, including a keen interest in an appearance in Chicago.
“We’ve got a couple of opportunities and just have to decide how it’s going to fit within our window of time and find a way to make it work,” Odom said. “That area, the city of Chicago, is 5 1/2 to 6 hours from our campus, so obviously it could be a draw there. Our alumni base, you’ve got St. Louis, you’ve got Kansas City, you’ve got Dallas and then Chicago. Those are our major alumni bases for the University of Missouri and they play great football. We’ve got to find the right fit and recruit the right kids, but it’s a great opportunity to take our staff somewhere else.”
Plenty of other camp options are bounds to surface.
“Literally, I get a text every five minutes about another (satellite camp) and it’s tough,” new Georgia coach Kirby Smart said. “You’ve got to decide, ‘Am I going outside my footprint of recruiting or am I staying inside, staying my ground?’ That’s the dilemma we have now in trying to make these decisions. We’re not really used to it. This is kind of a new thing.”