Last year at this time, Michigan football had filled very specific needs via the transfer portal, having secured commitments from multiple offensive linemen, tight end AJ Barner, linebacker Ernest Hausmann, and more. But in 2024, the Wolverines have been flat-footed as they’ve faced unsurety in the wake of Jim Harbaugh’s NFL flirtation (which ultimately led to his departure).
Now it’s Sherrone Moore’s show, and the transfer portal has had to wait for him to get acclimated. Closed until spring, any targets that Moore would like to bring in to fill current needs won’t make it to campus for some time, and there’s no telling who will be available after the red-hot winter portal period.
With rival Ohio State being incredibly active in bringing in talent in the month of January, ESPN wonders where the Wolverines stand, listing the maize and blue as one of three teams that have the biggest questions to answer once the spring portal opens. (subscription required)
Speaking of Downs, given all that Ohio State has added recently in the transfer portal with Downs, quarterback Will Howard and Ole Miss running back Quinshon Judkins, it begs to ask where Michigan will stack up in 2024. The Wolverines are losing starting quarterback J.J. McCarthy; star running back Blake Corum; offensive linemen Zak Zinter, LaDarius Henderson and Trevor Keegan; as well as linebacker Junior Colson, corner Mike Sainristil and a handful of other impact players. The staff doesn’t have a clear replacement at quarterback at the moment and has utilized the transfer portal in the past to fill holes along the offensive line. As it stands, Michigan has added Northwestern guard Josh Priebe and Maryland linebacker Jaishawn Barham, but more is going to be needed to compete at the highest level again in 2024.
As for the maize and blue, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Moore target an experienced quarterback, wide receiver, and cornerback via the portal. But otherwise, there’s a lot of returning experience, even if many (particularly on the offensive side of the ball) weren’t necessarily starters in 2023. Just as big, however, will be Moore’s ability to retain his current roster, especially given that there will likely be teams working to pry loose some of the Wolverines’ stars from a year ago.