Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh reacts after being knocked into a dunk tank for the first time during the Maize and Blue Big Top Event Kids Fair at the Dort Event Center in Flint on Thursday, July 21, 2022, as part of the Michigan football state caravan.

Jim Harbaugh, Michigan thinking big with ‘best player’ under center

Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh laid out his goals for the 2022 season – including winning the national championship – with either Cade McNamara or J.J. McCarthy under center.

Harbaugh, speaking at Big Ten Media Days in Indianapolis, made clear it’s an open competition between the quarterbacks, both of whom had “phenomenal seasons” in 2021. McNamara was the starter last season, passing for 2,576 yards and 15 touchdowns.

“The best player is going to play,” Harbaugh said.

“Cade McNamara is going to be really tough to beat out for the starting quarterback job,” Harbaugh added. “J.J. McCarthy is going to be really tough to beat out for the starting quarterback job.”

McCarthy threw for 516 yards and five TDs while rushing for 124 yards and two scores.

“A really cool stat on Cade McNamara is over 50 percent of his drives end in points,” Harbaugh said. “I don’t know exactly what the number is for JJ, but it seems like every time he got in there and led a drive it ended in points as well.”

While that competition begins Aug. 3 when preseason camp kicks off, Harbaugh pinpointed the four goals for the Wolverines in 2022, two of which the team checked off last season.

“Our goals would be to beat Ohio State and Michigan State in the same year, win the Big Ten championship and win the national championship,” Harbaugh said. “Those are our four goals.”

The Wolverines beat Ohio State last season for the first time since 2011 but suffered their only regular-season loss to Michigan State.

Harbaugh guided the Wolverines to the Big Ten championship and College Football Playoff in 2021. They lost to eventual champion Georgia in the semifinals. Harbaugh was named the 2021 Associated Press Coach of the Year.

The Big Ten title was the school’s first since 2004.

Harbaugh is also coaching under a new contract he inked in February. Harbaugh will make $7.05 million this season, the first year of his reworked five-year contract. The new deal makes Harbaugh the second-highest paid coach in the Big Ten behind Michigan State’s Mel Tucker.

He owns a 61-24 record during his seven seasons at Michigan, his alma mater.

–Field Level Media

Oct 12, 2019; Champaign, IL, USA; A Michigan Wolverines helmet sits on the back of the bench during the second half of the game against the Illinois Fighting Illini at Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Michael Allio-USA TODAY Sports

Former Michigan coach Gary Moeller dies at 81

Gary Moeller, a longtime football coach best known for succeeding Bo Schembechler at Michigan, died on Monday.

Moeller was 81. A cause of death was not specified.

Among his 23 years associated with the Wolverines, Moeller spent five seasons (1990-94) as their head coach. He was also the head coach at Illinois (1977-79) and the NFL’s Detroit Lions (2000).

Moeller’s Michigan teams went 44-13-3 in his five-year head coaching stint, including three Big Ten Championships and a 4-1 record in bowl games. He led Michigan to a 9-0-3 record and a Rose Bowl victory in 1992.

From 1990 through 1992, the Wolverines won 19 straight conference games, setting a Big Ten record.

“The football world lost a great man in Gary Moeller,” current Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh said in a statement. “Coach Moeller cared for his players and his teams and was devoted to the University of Michigan. He gave a lot to the game of football, excelling as both an offensive and defensive coordinator and head coach in the college and NFL ranks. We have lost a wonderful family man.”

Harbaugh overlapped with Moeller from 1982-86, when Harbaugh played quarterback and Moeller was the defensive coordinator on Schembechler’s staff. Moeller then served as the Wolverines’ offensive coordinator from 1987-89 and took over the top job when Schembechler retired from coaching.

Moeller resigned as head coach in May 1995 after he was arrested for disorderly conduct at a restaurant in Michigan. After two seasons as the Cincinnati Bengals’ tight ends coach, he coached the Lions’ linebackers until being promoted to interim head coach during the 2000 season when Bobby Ross resigned mid-year.

Moeller’s Lions went 4-3 during his interim stint.

–Field Level Media

Co-host Josh Landon speaks with former University of Michigan football coach Lloyd Carr during 2019 Michigan Sports Hall of Fame induction ceremony at MotorCity Casino Hotel, Saturday, Oct. 5, 2019.

100519 Halloffame Amb 003

QB CJ Carr, grandson of Lloyd Carr, picks Notre Dame over Michigan

Notre Dame landed a commitment from a five-star quarterback in the Class of 2024 — and it also allowed the Fighting Irish to score a win over one of their biggest rivals.

CJ Carr, the grandson of longtime Michigan head coach Lloyd Carr, committed to Notre Dame Thursday.

Carr also listed Michigan, Michigan State, Georgia, LSU and Wisconsin as finalists.

He plays at Saline High School in Saline, Michigan, outside Ann Arbor, but he told ESPN that South Bend always left him impressed.

“I’ve been telling my family I’m going to Notre Dame since this last spring,” Carr said, per ESPN.

Carr even said his father asked him to hold off a little longer to consider his other options.

“After the last camp at Notre Dame, we were supposed to go down south and I was like, ‘Dad, I know where I want to go,’ and he let me commit,” Carr said.

Listed at 6-foot-2 1/2, 195 pounds, Carr is the No. 20 overall prospect and the fifth-best quarterback in the Class of 2024, per the 247Sports composite.

Lloyd Carr coached the Wolverines from 1995-2007. He led Michigan to a national title in 1997 and he retired with a 122-40 record with victories in the Rose, Citrus and Orange Bowls.

The elder Carr’s Michigan teams went 5-4 against Notre Dame.

–Field Level Media

April 29, 2022; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals safety Daxton Hill (23) smiles during an introductory press conference after the team selected him in the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft, Friday, April 29, 2022, at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati.  Mandatory Credit: Kareem Elgazzar-USA TODAY NETWORK

Report: Bengals reach deal with 1st-round pick Daxton Hill

The Cincinnati Bengals agreed to terms on a four-year rookie contract with first-round draft pick Daxton Hill, NFL Network reported on Wednesday.

Hill, a safety out of Michigan, was selected by the Bengals with the 31st overall pick of the 2022 NFL Draft.

A first-team All-Big Ten selection, Hill recorded 69 tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss, two interceptions and 11 passes defensed in 14 games last season.

Hill collected 151 tackles, four interceptions and three fumble recoveries in 33 career games with the Wolverines.

–Field Level Media

Mar 4, 2022; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Michigan defensive lineman David Ojabo (DL36) talks to the media during the 2022 NFL Combine.  Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Reports: Michigan’s David Ojabo tore Achilles at pro day

Michigan edge rusher David Ojabo sustained a torn Achilles during his pro day workout, multiple media outlets reported Saturday.

Per ESPN, Ojabo is expected to return to play in approximately six months. A September return means he would miss the first few weeks of the regular season.

Ojabo, who is regarded as a potential first-round pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, clutched his leg during a pass-rush drill and needed assistance to exit the field in Ann Arbor, Mich.

The 6-foot-5, 250-pound junior took to Twitter to deliver a message to his fans.

“God got me!! ima be back stronger than ever (heart emoji) all part of my story,” he wrote.

Ojabo registered 11 sacks and five forced fumbles this season as the Wolverines advanced to the College Football Playoff.

Raised in Aberdeen, Scotland, Ojabo didn’t start playing football until his junior year of high school after moving to the United States.

He did not appear in any games for Michigan as a freshman in 2019 and registered just one tackle in six games in 2020.

–Field Level Media

Tyler Nielsen trips up Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson in a game played Nov. 5, 2011 in Iowa City.

Iowbrd 11 06 2011 Pc 1 B005 2011 11 05 Img Iow 1106 Ia Vs Mich 1 1 Aoieg4p Img Iow 1106 Ia Vs Mich 1 1 Aoieg4p

Report: Ex-Michigan QB Denard Robinson to join Jim Harbaugh’s staff

Former Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson is returning to serve on coach Jim Harbaugh’s staff, 247Sports reported Wednesday.

The outlet said Robinson, 31, will be the football program’s assistant director of player personnel.

Robinson quarterbacked Michigan from 2009 to 2012. In 2010, he placed sixth in the Heisman Trophy voting after completing 62.5 percent of his passes for 2,570 yards and 18 touchdowns. He finished his college career throwing for 6,250 yards and 49 TDs.

Robinson was selected by the Jacksonville Jaguars in the fifth round of the 2013 NFL Draft. He played four seasons as a running back in Jacksonville before joining the Atlanta Legends of the Alliance of American Football league in 2018.

After the league folded in 2019, Robinson joined the Jacksonville University coaching staff as an offensive analyst. He became the Jaguars’ offensive quality control coach in 2020, and later, under then-Jags coach Urban Meyer, Robinson became a college scouting assistant in the team’s front office.

–Field Level Media

Jim Harbaugh

Reports: Jim Harbaugh’s new deal starts at $7M in 2022

Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh will make $7.05 million in the first year of his reworked five-year contract, multiple outlets reported Thursday.

Harbaugh, 58, stands to earn $7.6 million in the final year of the deal, per the outlets, citing copies of the contract obtained through a records request with the school.

The new deal makes Harbaugh the second-highest paid coach in the Big Ten behind Michigan State’s Mel Tucker.

Harbaugh would owe Michigan a $3 million buyout if he leaves after the first year. The buyout drops $750,000 per year after that.

Harbaugh had a base salary that was slashed to $4 million in 2021 after a 2-4 finish in 2020. However, he earned much more after hitting performance incentives. Those incentives are part of the new deal, including $1 million for winning the national championship and $500,000 for reaching the national semifinals again, among others.

The new deal essentially restores Harbaugh to where he was prior to the 2020 season.

Harbaugh returned to Ann Arbor somewhat unexpectedly after interviewing for and being linked to the Minnesota Vikings head coaching vacancy. After not getting the job, Harbaugh said he’s done chasing NFL jobs, telling a Detroit newspaper that “this is the last time.”

Harbaugh guided the Wolverines to the Big Ten championship and College Football Playoff in 2021. They lost to eventual champion Georgia in the semifinals. Harbaugh was named the 2021 Associated Press Coach of the Year.

He owns a 61-24 record during his seven seasons at Michigan, his alma mater.

–Field Level Media

Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh watched his team warm up before the Orange Bowl against Georgia on Friday, Dec. 31, 2021, in Miami Gardens, Florida.

Capital One Orange Bowl

Jim Harbaugh gets contract extension at Michigan

Michigan and head coach Jim Harbaugh on Wednesday agreed to a contract extension through the 2026 season.

The new deal adds a year to the deal Harbaugh and the school announced in January 2021. It also alters the terms, which were not released.

“I love Michigan Football, the University of Michigan and the Ann Arbor community,” said Harbaugh. “My enthusiasm for tomorrow, the day after and every day following is as high as ever, and we are ready to get on the practice field and start preparations for the 2022 season.”

Harbaugh, 58, returned to Ann Arbor somewhat unexpectedly after interviewing for and being linked to the Minnesota Vikings head coaching vacancy. After not getting the job, Harbaugh said he’s done chasing NFL jobs, telling a Detroit newspaper that “this is the last time.”

Harbaugh guided the Wolverines to the Big Ten championship and College Football Playoff in 2021. They lost to eventual champion Georgia in the semifinals. Harbaugh was named the 2021 Associated Press Coach of the Year.

He owns a 61-24 record during his seven seasons at Michigan, his alma mater.

–Field Level Media

Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh watched his team warm up before the Orange Bowl against Georgia on Friday, Dec. 31, 2021, in Miami Gardens, Florida.

Capital One Orange Bowl

Reports: Michigan to hire Jesse Minter as DC

Michigan is set to hire 38-year-old Jesse Minter as its next defensive coordinator, multiple outlets reported Tuesday, another transaction from the brothers Harbaugh pipeline.

Minter spent last season with Vanderbilt as its defensive coordinator but was with John Harbaugh and the Baltimore Ravens from 2017-20. Minter would replace Mike Macdonald on Jim Harbaugh’s staff at Michigan. Macdonald left Ann Arbor after one season to become the DC in Baltimore, reuniting with John Harbaugh.

Minter and Macdonald overlapped in Baltimore, where Minter was a defensive assistant from 2017-19 and defensive backs coach his final year there. Minter has also had stops with Georgia State (2013-16) and Indiana State (2011-12) as DC. Minter is the son of former Cincinnati head coach Rick Minter.

The deal is expected to be finalized this week.

Jim Harbaugh also has to hire a new offensive coordinator after Josh Gattis left for Miami.

–Field Level Media