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Michigan is looking for a new head coach. Jim Harbaugh will be the next head coach of the Los Angeles Chargers, according to a league source. The athleticsFor the first time since 2014, he will open the top job in Ann Arbor.

Harbaugh led Michigan to glory, ending its run with a national championship, three straight Big Ten championships and three straight wins over Ohio State. After accomplishing everything possible, he returns to the NFL in search of that elusive Super Bowl.

This may be a very quick search considering who is on staff and what has happened this season, but it is enough time to squeeze in a job profile.

So how good is the Michigan job? What names can be found in the mix? Here are some reasons to keep in mind.

Michigan is a national championship program.

For many years, Michigan was not seen as a program that could compete at the top of the sport. It had history, boatloads of money and great players, but it didn’t seem like Ohio State had the talent to compete with the SEC’s best. Harbaugh continued to hit ceilings during his tenure, first at Ohio State and in bowl games and then in the CFP semifinals.

That has now completely changed. Harbaugh has shown that there is no limit to this program by penetrating through every ceiling. The Wolverines won it all and drafted the largest draft class in the country. They can grow and win better than anyone in a given season. There are no extras or restrictions here.

It will be rebuilt a little, but there are solid pieces in place

The Wolverines are back for the 2023 season to accomplish what many of their star players have done. They are now gone. Players on their way to the fans include quarterback JJ McCarthy, running back Blake Korm, wide receiver Roman Wilson, guard Zach Zinter, defensive end Chris Jenkins, defensive end Mike Sunsteel and cornerback Josh Wallace, among others.

That’s a lot to replace for any team. Harbaugh said before the season that he thought this Michigan team could set a record for NFL draft picks, and that seems possible.

But returning players include running back Donovan Edwards, tight end Colston Loveland, defensive lineman Mason Graham and cornerback Will Johnson, all current or potential stars, though there are always more players out the door after a coaching change. On the flip side, Michigan could get a lot of players through the portal now or in the future, especially at quarterback, if the coaching situation finally gets sorted out.

It’s one of the top-ranked programs in the country, but can it compete with NIL recruiting?

There has never been a shortage of resources. The Colts ranked 11th nationally in football spending in 2021-22, according to the Sportico database. All facilities are in place.

But what’s surprising about Michigan’s incredible run to the national championship is that it made that team without being ranked at the top of the recruiting rankings. The Wolverines’ recruiting classes from 2020 to 2023 finished 10th, 13th, 9th and 17th in the 247Sports composite rankings. They were ranked 14th nationally in the 247Sports team talent rankings last season. Winning a national championship without a top-five recruiting class or a breakout quarterback hasn’t happened in recent history. The Wolverines became one of the best developmental programs in the country and turned great players into NFL players.

Is that development sustainable without Harbaw? Or does Michigan need to recruit at the level of Georgia, Alabama and Ohio State? The Buckeyes, fresh off a three-game winning streak at Michigan and a national title, have been loaded over the past week, adding several top recruits and transfers. Head coach Ryan Day said last year that Ohio State needed to add in Neal. Looks like they have. Michigan has never reached that stage. Maybe he should be replaced by a new coach. Or maybe not.

So what names can be found in the mix?

This search obviously begins and may end here. Offensive coordinator Sherron Moore. It’s not often that a school doesn’t have an assistant on staff with two top-10 wins. While Moore beat Penn State on the road and Ohio State in Ann Arbor, Harbaugh sat out because of Big Ten sign-stealing and an early scouting suspension. As Michigan’s head coach, winning at Ohio State is a standing point that no one can match. He is loved by his players, can continue the culture and progress, and has coached some games. He’s Harbaugh and Michigan’s pick for the second time Harbaugh has been suspended, and unless anything from the Connor Stallins scandal comes back to directly haunt Moore, he’ll be an easy pick here. We haven’t seen it up to this point.

If, for whatever reason, Moore doesn’t get the job, defensive coordinator Jesse Minter and running backs coach Mike Hart could be internal options.

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Kansas head coach Lance Leipold He has been involved in many jobs, including Washington, for his miraculous work in Lawrence, and knows the Midwest as a Wisconsin native. The man wins. The 59-year-old won a nine-game winning streak in his third season taking over a Kansas program, beating Oklahoma and finishing 23rd this season. He won two MAC division championships in Buffalo and developed several NFL players before that. He went 109-6 in six Division III national championships at Wisconsin-Whitewater. The big question is whether he can recruit at the top of the sport. He just signed Deshawn Warner, a top-70 recruit to Kansas.

Kansas State head coach Chris Klieman They’ve won 27 games over the past three years, a Big 12 championship in 2022 and 20th in the streak. The 56-year-old previously won four FCS national championships at North Dakota State. Similar to Leipold, Kliman won a lot. But can he recruit at a top-10 level like Leipold?

Baltimore Ravens offensive coordinator Todd Monken And Defensive coordinator Mike McDonald They can be options. Both are future NFL head coaches, so they may not want to return to college football, but Monken led Georgia’s offense to back-to-back national championships in 2021 and 2022, and he did a great job as the head coach at Southern Miss A. Ten years ago. McDonald’s He was Michigan’s defensive coordinator in 2021 (when they lost CFP to Monken and Georgia), before returning to the Ravens to run that defense. Both obviously have a connection to working for John Harbaugh in Baltimore.

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Iowa State head coach Matt Campbell He felt like a natural fit for several Big Ten jobs, but stayed in Ames. The 44-year-old Ohio native led Iowa State to a century of success, winning the Fiesta Bowl and finishing first in the Big 12 in 2020, but he’s 18-20 since then and his name isn’t hot in coaching circles. It was a few years ago. We haven’t seen him coach and recruit in a highly anticipated Power 5 job.

LSU head coach Brian Kelly A name emerged as possible a few weeks ago. Perhaps coincidentally, LSU has seen an overhaul and expansion of the Tigers’ staff since then. Kelly Baker hired Blake Baker, the highest-paid assistant coach in college football, after turning down several big jobs. Kelly hired defensive line coach Bo Davis from Texas for a raise. Kelly spent two decades at Michigan and it always seemed like an odd tradition to replace Ed Orgeron at LSU, but LSU’s moves in recent weeks make it seem unlikely that such a move would be made by Kelly.

has been Wisconsin head coach Luke Fickell Interested? The lifelong Buckeye has an $8 million buyout to leave Wisconsin. In the year Removed from his 6-7 interim coaching stint at Ohio State in 2011, Fickell went 57-18 at Cincinnati, winning at least 11 games three times and reaching the 2021 College Football Playoff. If this was a year ago, it would make all the sense in the world. But being new to Wisconsin and coming off an extremely difficult 7-6 season last fall makes that unlikely for either side.

Wake Forest head coach Dave Clawson He has also won at various levels of the sport. Clawson is 63-61 with Wake Forest since 2014, six seasons in the last eight years, including an 11-3 record in 2021. He previously coached and won at Bowling Green, Richmond and Fordham. At Wake Forest, Clawson succeeded in one of the toughest jobs in the Power 5, recruiting and developing players like Sam Hartman and Kenneth Walker III before moving on in their final seasons.

(Top photo: Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)