Five Potential Transfer Portal Departures From Michigan Following Jim Harbaugh Exit Include Star CB Will Johnson

    Jim Harbaugh is headed back to the NFL, but which Michigan Wolverines players could enter the transfer portal following his departure?

    It finally happened. After a near-annual dance with the NFL in recent years, Jim Harbaugh finally landed a date and will leave the Michigan Wolverines ahead of the 2024 college football season.

    Similar head coach departures have seen multiple players flee for the transfer portal, so which big names could we expect to see leave Ann Arbor in the now-open 30-day transfer portal window?

    Five Potential Michigan Players Entering the Transfer Portal Following Jim Harbaugh’s Exit

    Before kicking off the list of potential Michigan departures in the wake of Harbaugh’s exit, there is one difference between the Wolverines and other teams in this cycle. Although they can’t officially announce it for seven days due to state law, it feels likely that an internal hire will likely fill this high-profile vacancy.

    Offensive coordinator and offensive line coach Sherrone Moore filled in for Harbaugh during the departed head coach’s enforced absence this season and is well-respected and well-liked within the program. His ascension to the top job is the probable outcome in Ann Arbor, and as a result, he’ll be well-positioned to retain the players we’re about to discuss.

    Will Johnson, CB

    Michigan’s Defensive Freshman of the Year in 2022, Will Johnson added four interceptions to his college football résumé as a pivotal part of the National Championship-winning defense. Considered one of the top cornerbacks in the nation, he has the size, agility, and speed combined with top-tier ball skills and impressive physicality to instantly upgrade any college defense.

    Defensive departures from Michigan in the wake of Harbaugh’s exit are likely, not just as a result of the head coach making the leap back to the NFL, but as a by-product of the staff he may take with him. Defensive coordinator Jesse Minter is the most likely to follow his head coach out of Ann Arbor, and a playmaker like Johnson may seek new surroundings in an important year.

    Mason Graham, DT

    Minter isn’t the only coach to make an impact on the defensive side of the ball. Strength and conditioning coach Ben Herbert has been crucial in developing this Michigan team into a bully in the trenches, and is considered a potential departure from the Wolverines in the coming weeks. Several linemen could look for new homes if he leaves, and Mason Graham will be coveted.

    The 6’3″, 318-pound defensive tackle is an absolute freak on the interior who tallied 7.5 tackles for loss, three sacks, and a forced fumble. His insane explosion and sheer strength were on full display against the Alabama Crimson Tide in the 2024 Rose Bowl, and his combination of alluring skill set and impressive production should ensure that teams are beating down his door.

    Kenneth Grant, DT

    Remember when Kenneth Grant long-armed the Washington Huskies’ left guard back into the turf on his way to sacking Michael Penix Jr. in the 2024 National Championship Game? You can bet your bottom dollar that every college football head coach scouring the portal for defensive help remembers it just as well as Nate Kalepo — the aforementioned offensive lineman — does.

    MORE: College Football Transfer Portal Tracker 

    Another massive man on the defensive interior, Grant hurled his 6’3″, 339-pound frame into opposition backfields and passing lanes last fall, logging five tackles for loss, 3.5 sacks, five pass breakups, and an interception. He’ll be courted in the transfer portal, with the rival Ohio State Buckeyes and the USC Trojans — home of primary recruiter Shaun Nua — two teams to watch.

    Colston Loveland, TE

    Jim isn’t the only Harbaugh who could be making his way out of Ann Arbor. Jay Harbaugh is the current special teams coordinator and safeties coach for the Wolverines, but he has also been responsible for developing tight ends during his time at Michigan. Tipped to follow his father to the NFL, he was also the primary recruiter for a possible transfer portal departure.

    Colston Loveland is arguably one of the top tight ends in college football for the coming season. Boasting impressive athleticism, savvy route-running, and a catch radius and capability unrivaled at the position for 2024, the Michigan tight end will be the apple of the eye for many coaches looking to land an impact-maker in all phases of the game from the transfer portal should he enter.

    Donovan Edwards, RB

    Donovan Edwards spurned the NFL to return to Michigan for the 2024 college football season as the presumptive RB1 in the wake of Blake Corum’s departure. If Moore is the Harbaugh replacement, that situation should stay the same. However, if an outside hire changes the team’s offensive philosophy, then Edwards may seek a fresh start via the transfer portal.

    MORE: Top 5 Candidates To Replace Jim Harbaugh

    The former five-star has been often overshadowed by Corum during his Wolverines career, but in games like the National Championship win over Washington, he showcased that he still has a devastating skill set that can unlock any defense. Steve Sarkisian recruited Edwards while at Alabama. Tashard Choice recruited him for Georgia Tech. Both now lead a Texas Longhorns offense that lost backs to the NFL in successive years.

    Miss any action from the top college QB Rankings during the 2023 football season? Want to track all the movement with the college football transfer portal? College Football Network has you covered with that and more!

    College Football Transfer Portal Tracker

    Never miss a beat with the CFN-exclusive College Football Transfer Portal Tracker, listing the student-athletes entering and exiting the transfer portal.

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