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Jim Harbaugh goes from baby sitter to recruiter for Arizona prospect

File this one under “Only with Jim Harbaugh.” Yes, another one for that file.

One of Michigan’s newest recruiting targets has been on Harbaugh’s radar for nearly a decade. The coach first met Connor Murphy, a 2016 three-star defensive end from Arizona, when he was 8 years old. At the time, Harbaugh and Michigan defensive coordinator D.J. Durkin (then a Stanford assistant) were in town to recruit Connor’s older brother Trent to play for the Cardinal.

The visit got off to an unusual start when Harbaugh arrived to learn that Murphy's parents were both at the hospital because Connor's mother was seven months pregnant and having labor pains. The rest of the clan was at their home in Phoenix, so Harbaugh and Durkin decided to stick around and help baby-sit the kids.

“It was either go get ready for Jim Harbaugh or take my wife to the hospital,” Larry Murphy, Trent and Connor’s father, told Sports360 in Arizona recently. “Well, my wife is going to win.”

Five hours later, the Murphys returned home to find the Stanford head coach and former All-Pro quarterback on the living room floor playing chess with Connor and sipping on a glass of milk.

“Not many people can say that they sat down on the floor with Jim Harbaugh and played chess and drank milk with them,” Connor said.

Harbaugh, a noted believer in the powers of milk, must have been impressed by the family’s cows. He ended up signing Trent, who is now a linebacker for the Washington Redskins after finishing his career with the Cardinal as a consensus All-American. Several glasses of milk later, Connor now stands at 6-foot-7 and 250 pounds, and Harbaugh is interested in bringing him to Ann Arbor.

“We watched that guy rebuild Stanford. We watched him rebuild the 49ers. And now he’s trying to build Michigan,” Larry Murphy said. “Is this guy going to be a part of all that rebuilding process once again? Will a Murphy be there to help old Harbaugh build this thing? We don’t know, but we’ll find out pretty soon.”

The younger Murphy, considered one of the five best prospects in Arizona this year, has scholarship offers from a long list of schools including Michigan, Oregon, Stanford and USC. Still, Harbaugh has to like his chances. And if the Murphys need a baby sitter in the meantime, they know whom to call.