The University of Michigan’s head football coach and former quarterback Jim Harbaugh has found a unique and next-level recruiting tool to make his incoming and potential recruits feel a little extra special this year: virtual cake.

After receiving a photographed cake for his 51st birthday last year from the university—during the time the program was trying to recruit the former quarterback to become its next head coach—Harbaugh implemented the practice with high schoolers he’s trying to get into the Maize and Blue. On Nov. 18, his coaching staff sent a series of photos to Jonathan Jones, a linebacker prospect from Orlando, FL, to let Jones know the school was thinking about him on his big 18th birthday.


More recently, he sent a virtual cake that kind of represents the state of Texas to Houston defensive tackle Jordan Elliott. While the cake itself might look a little sad, its homemade quality seemed to impress Elliott.


While the practice seems odd (why not just send the kid an actual cake?), Harbaugh’s ingenious tactic helps him skirt NCAA regulations. The teens, if they wish to play college football, can’t actually receive physical cakes from recruiters. Instead, the coaches got creative via text message to show a little love and remind the players that they’d love their presence on campus next year.


According to the National Letter of Intent, February 3rd makes the start of the initial signing period for high-school athletes looking to play in college. Who knows what sort of cake designs Harbaugh has up his sleeve next.

[via Detroit Free Press]