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Jim Harbaugh accomplishes incredible feat ahead of NFL Draft

Harbaugh has seemingly done the impossible with Michigan’s roster.



Oct 31, 2015; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Michigan Wolverines head coach Jim Harbaugh looks on during the first half against the Minnesota Golden Gophers at TCF Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Over the past two Michigan football seasons, there is not much that Jim Harbaugh and his staff have yet to do. The Wolverines are 25-3 overall (19-1 Big Ten) and have two dominant wins over Ohio State, blowout wins over Michigan State and Penn State, two straight College Football Playoff appearances, and consecutive Big Ten titles.

This list got more impressive this week as the Wolverines saw two significant milestones that are polar opposites of one another. Usually, when your program sends a large number of players to the NFL, there is a high turnover rate the season after — see Penn State in 2021 to 2022. Yet that is not the case with the 2023 Michigan football team.

Michigan sees many departures, yet retains much of its production

As the NFL Draft approaches, Michigan football is well-represented in the NFL Combine. Nine Wolverines will be headed to the Combine in hopes of impressing the NFL’s top scouts ahead of the Draft in April — Michigan’s nine Combine players is more than any other Big Ten program.

If you still need to guess, the next two behind Jim Harbaugh’s Wolverines are Ohio State (8) and Penn State (7). While this many players heading towards the NFL is an impressive accomplishment, what is even more amazing is that Michigan football returns more production from 2022 than any other Big Ten program.

With so many players NFL bound, you’d expect the Wolverines to have an incredibly inexperienced roster this fall, yet the opposite remains true. Jim Harbaugh and the Michigan football team retain 81 percent of their production from a year ago — the most in the conference — which is scary when you consider that last year’s team was a touchdown and an extra point away from playing in the National Championship game.

Jim Harbaugh has built a monster in Ann Arbor

Michigan football is coming for it all in 2023 — a third-straight win over Ohio State, a third-straight Big Ten title, and even a National Championship game berth are all in the cards for the Wolverines this fall.

While Michigan already became the first team to win back-to-back Joe Moore Awards (nation’s best offensive line), the Wolverines might have their best O-line unit yet — it’s deep, experienced, talented, and disciplined. Behind this elite offensive line is rising junior JJ McCarthy, who should be in store for an elite season as the Wolverines’ second-year starter.

Behind McCarthy in Michigan’s backfield is the best running back duo that we likely have ever seen in Ann Arbor — it’s the best RB duo in the country, without a doubt. 2022 Heisman contender Blake Corum and former five-star prospect Donovan Edwards will be looking to wreak havoc on opposing defenses and could be the key to a National title run this fall.

Michigan football is as talented as ever on the defensive side of the football, and with the same coaching staff (mostly) returning this fall, the Wolverines could be in for Jim Harbaugh’s best season yet.

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CJ has covered college athletics in paid roles for around five years, including numerous sports and beats. His most recent work revolves largely around Penn State and Michigan football and basketball as a member of the credentialed media at both schools. Right now, CJ writes for Blue by Ninety, where he also serves as the site's credentialed football reporter. He also does some credentialed basketball coverage. Previously, CJ has made stops with sites like GBMWolverine, Saturday Blitz, Steeler Nation, and more.