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Harbaugh's Familiarity Aids Scouting Process

Posted Feb 22, 2013

USC WR Robert Woods met with Jim Harbaugh, who recruited him in high school.

INDIANAPOLIS - If you didn't go to Stanford, chances are Jim Harbaugh may still be holding a grudge.

"I'm like and elephant. I never forget," Harbaugh told 49ers.com.

That's an advantage for the 49ers head coach when evaluating this year's draft prospects - he's either coached, recruited or game planned against several of those now competing in front of NFL scouts.

"I went to the 49ers room and Harbaugh was in there," USC wide receiver Robert Woods recalled about his meetings Thursday night. "He was laid back and asked me a couple of questions. He asked me why I didn't go to Stanford when I came out."

Instead of helping to mold Woods into an NFL-caliber receiver, Harbaugh had to figure out how to stop Woods.

Harbaugh got the best of Woods in 2010 as the Cardinal beat the Trojans 37-35 thanks to a field goal at the end of regulation. Woods, however, couldn't be blamed for the loss. The freshman receiver finished with 12 receptions for 224 yards and three touchdowns.

"He's really done a wonderful job," Harbaugh said. "He came out of school - Serra in Southern California. They had five phenomenal players that we wanted to get to Stanford and not one of them came to Stanford. It's neat to see him doing so well. Sometimes paths cross again. Sometimes life is that way. It was great to see him last night and watch him compete this weekend."

One of Harbaugh's former pupils, tight end Zach Ertz, said he met with offensive coordinator Greg Roman this week in Indianapolis and still has fond memories of his former coaches.

"I learned so much from the two of them, the approach to the game and the ins and outs of the West Coast offense," Ertz said. "I had a great relationship with coach Harbaugh and coach Roman when I was there."

Next up for the 49ers scouting staff is determining the draft value for players like Woods and Ertz and whether they could eventually play in San Francisco.

Harbaugh's experience with the players could be a factor.

"There's still a lot of work to be done and (General Manager) Trent (Baalke) would say the same thing, but definitely are pretty far along took and that's good," Harbaugh said. "This will be another piece of the puzzle."