The story behind how Michigan’s Jim Harbaugh and UGA’s Kirby Smart ended up working the same camp

Michigan's Jim Harbaugh will be camping with UGA's coach in June

This might be this summer’s odd couple in recruiting.

Hours after the NCAA rescinded a ban on satellite camps Thursday, both UGA coach Kirby Smart and Michigan’s Jim Harbaugh agreed to deal to work together at a camp in the Atlanta area on June 2. They’ll be coaching and evaluating high school kids on the same field.

It’s an interesting arrangement after Harbaugh fired a shot “at the Georgia coach” about satellite camps a few months ago on Twitter.

Cedar Grove High School coach Jimmy Smith, the host of the June camp, explained to DawgNation on Thursday night about how it all went down.

“Once I found out the NCAA changed the rule, I called (Smart) and he said, ‘I’m down with coming,’” Smith said.

“Coach Harbaugh had told me from the beginning that it was my camp … so he didn’t care who else came. I didn’t know how to handle that, because it is my camp. But it is Coach Harbaugh.

“So I contacted him. I felt like it was out of respect that I let him know that I wanted Georgia to come to camp also. Coach Harbaugh said, ‘Yes, that’s fine. Let’s all work the camp, and let’s coach these kids up.’”

Will Harbaugh and Smart be able to get along on the same field for one day? Smith, who was aware of the backstory between the two coaches, just laughed when asked.

“I don’t know,” Smith said. “I guess they get along. We’ll see when they get here. I hope they are friends. If they’re not, I’ll get them each some football pads and let them go from there.”

Although the Cedar Grove camp will be open to kids from other areas, the DeKalb County high school has two juniors committed to UGA – junior offensive linemen Netori Johnson and Justin Schaffer. It was important for the Bulldogs to show up with the looming presence of the Big Ten coach.

Back to the Harbaugh-Smart story: Last February, Smart was asked about Michigan’s plans for satellite camps around the country, and he responded in part by saying, “They’re (Michigan) obviously trying to gain a competitive advantage and that’s their right. But I think the NCAA in due time will have to step in.”

Smart’s comments generated a stinging tweet by Harbaugh: “If the Georgia coach is implying any intent on our part to break rules, he is barking up the wrong tree.”

Last week in Dallas, Smart was asked about the situation.

“That whole thing got so overblown,” Smart said. “Because he and I, he and staff members from his staff had communicated. That’s a big deal to the media, big deal to you guys. But in the coaching profession we’re a bit more lighthearted about it.”

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