There are a number of “opening days” when it comes to Michigan football. One of them was today (Tuesday) in Chicago as Coach Jim Harbaugh took the stage during Big Ten Football Media Days 2017.
Harbaugh and the Wolverines have plenty of work still to do before the real opening day on Sept. 2 in Arlington, Texas when the Wolverines host perennial powerhouse Florida.
The Wolverines are returning just five starters from last season – one of the lowest in the country. But the flip side to that coin is that Harbaugh has been a winner in the off-season as much as he’s been on the football field. This year’s team may not have a lot of experience but it will have back-to-back top 10 recruiting classes as its foundation.
“I feel good about the team,” said Harbaugh, during his presser on Monday. “To start with, our second newest guys, which is our freshmen that came at the mid-year, the 10 that have really flourished and did exceedingly good in spring practice, and which makes me think that the newest guys that arrived on campus, 19 true incoming freshmen, because the 10 did so well I think these 19 are going to do just as well because they were the same type of good players in high school that the 10 were.”
All that adds up to feeling good about the younger guys.
“And then the third newest, the freshmen that are going to be sophomores this year, I’m very excited for them,” he continued. “I’ve already talked about Rashan (Gary), but also Chris Evans in that group. And Michael Onwenu and Lavert Hill and Devin Bush, Jr., Sean McKeon and some very talented players that played as true freshmen. Nate Schoenle. All the youngsters in that class, very excited about them because everything they’re doing now they’ve already done, they’re doing for a second time.”
Harbaugh, entering his third year back with the Wolverines, also has high expectations for the junior class, the group of players he recruited just a month after his Dec. 30, 2014 commitment to take over Big Blue.
“There was only, like, 10 or 11, 12 in that class, but now those guys are juniors,” he said.
“And then the senior class, in the fifth year class, very excited for them as well. They, many of them, like Chase and Mo Hurst and Wilton Speight and Mike McCray and Bryan Mone and Mason Cole, those guys in particular that were in games last year, they were there when we won nine straight games and everybody is high-fiving in the locker room after the game.
“And they were also there when we lost three out of our last four games, two by one point and another game by three points in overtime. They know what it feels like. And they like the feeling of the high-fiving better than the other.”
And so do Michigan fans. Let the high-fives begin on Sept. 2.