With Jim Harbaugh back, it’s national title or bust for Michigan Football

Now that Jim Harbaugh has announced he is staying with Michigan football, it really is the national title or bust for the Wolverines in 2023. 

You could feel the momentum building toward a Jim Harbaugh return as a number of key Michigan football players announced their return recently.

It started with one-time Heisman favorite Blake Corum, who announced he was coming back to Michigan football for another season, even though he wasn’t sure Jim Harbaugh was coming back.

Then, Trevor Keegan and Zak Zinter did the same. They were joined by Michael Barrett, Cornelius Johnson, and Kris Jenkins on Monday, who had received some buzz as a first-round pick.

Soon after Jenkins made his announcement — that he was staying for another season, Santa Ono took to Twitter and announced that Jim Harbaugh called him and said he was staying as Michigan football head coach.

National title or bust for Michigan football

With so many key pieces returning along with former five-stars J.J. McCarthy at quarterback, Donovan Edwards at running back, and Will Johnson at wide receiver, it seemed like Harbaugh was the only missing piece.

When I ranked national title contenders for 2023 the other day, the Wolverines were my No. 3 contender to knock off Georgia, in large part, because I wasn’t sure who the head coach was going to be.

Now, Michigan football is squarely in the top two. The Wolverines have 15 of 22 starters coming back, as well as both running backs and its quarterback.

The offensive line lost a couple of starters but added multi-year starters from the Pac-12 and got two-NFL caliber dudes back in Keegan and Zinter.

The 2021 and 2022 recruiting classes were loaded with talent too. Mason Graham and Kenneth Grant are set to dominate at defensive tackle and with Jenkins back in the fold, Michigan might have as good a defensive interior as anyone in college football.

Michigan lost two starters at cornerback, but one starter next year will be Johnson and Mike Sainristil, who was a revelation at the nickel spot, is also coming back.

Plus, Michigan added the No. 2 transfer overall (via 247) at linebacker in Ernest Hausmann, as well as Josiah Stewart, a talented EDGE from Coastal Carolina.

Beyond that, Derrick Moore (EDGE), Darrius Clemons (WR), Jimmy Rolder (TE), and due to breakout from the 2022 class, sort of like Colston Loveland did at the end of the season.

In terms of winning a national championship, it could be Jim Harbaugh’s best chance. Georgia is losing some key players and its quarterback (although still loaded), Alabama has to replace Bryce Young, Ohio State has to replace C.J. Stroud, and Tennessee is without Hendon Hooker.

The door is wide open. Michigan still has to prove it can beat the best teams in the College Football Playoff and beating Ohio State isn’t a sure thing, but with everyone coming back, it’s clear that the goal for Michigan football in 2023 is to win a national title.