Potential replacements if Jim Harbaugh leaves Michigan football for NFL

Who is likely to take over for Michigan football head coach Jim Harbaugh if he leaves the Wolverines? We take a look at potential candidates.

2024 CFP National Championship - Michigan v Washington
2024 CFP National Championship - Michigan v Washington / CFP/GettyImages

Jim Harbaugh and the Los Angeles Chargers "are within striking distance" of a deal for Harbaugh to leave Michigan football and go back to the NFL.

After the last two offseasons, this shouldn't come as a huge surprise. Harbaugh wants to win a Super Bowl and after winning the national championship, he's achieved everything he can at Michigan football, outside of building a dynasty.

Still, Jim Harbaugh has won three straight Big Ten titles and beaten Ohio State three consecutive times. It makes sense to move on now. But what will Michigan football do next? Sherrone Moore seems like the next head coach, but we break down a few potential options.

Brian Kelly

Someone keeps mentioning Brian Kelly as a possible replacement for Jim Harbaugh, but it's probably Kelly's agent. Just look at what rumored interest in the Alabama job did for guys like Mike Norvell. LSU fans probably wouldn't mind if Kelly went back up North, but I see zero chance of that happening. Despite his name getting mentioned in connection with Michigan football, the Wolverines don't seem to have any interest in the former Notre Dame head coach.

Lance Leipold

This is probably the only outside candidate worth considering for Michigan football. He's done a spectacular job at Kansas. He's also won everywhere he's gone, sort of like Kalen DeBoer. Leipold was thought to be a good fit for the Nebraska job but stayed at Kansas. I'm sure the Michigan job would tempt him, but I don't know if the Wolverines will hire outside the building.

Sherrone Moore

That leads us back to Sherrone Moore, the offensive coordinator for Michigan football. He did a great job for Jim Harbaugh as the interim coach last season and was the head coach for top-10 wins over Penn State and Ohio State. Moore is also a stellar recruiter and by keeping him, the Wolverines would maintain continuity. You'd think that Moore would be able to keep most of the staff intact, as well as preventing players from entering the transfer portal.

Next. NEXT . Way-too-early 12-team playoff projection . dark

There will be some departures, but Moore can build on the culture and it's clear he'll be a head coach very soon, somewhere. Why not Michigan? It just makes too much sense, especially after seeing the mass exodus of players from Washington and Alabama in recent weeks.