Michigan hires Sherrone Moore to replace Jim Harbaugh, and that comes with challenges for 2024

Jim Harbaugh returned to the NFL and took the job with the Los Angeles Chargers on Wednesday. Sherrone Moore – who was the interim coach during Harbaugh’s three-game suspension by the Big Ten this season – will take over as the Wolverines’ next coach. Michigan announced the promotion of its offensive coordinator on Friday night.

The move was not unexpected in the aftermath of Michigan’s season – which produced a 15-0 record and the program’s first national championship since 1997. 

Now, Moore follows Harbaugh – who had an 86-25 record at Michigan through nine seasons.

Sherrone Moore hired as Michigan’s next coach  

Moore, 37, played guard at Oklahoma before starting his coaching career in the FBS. He was an assistant coach at Louisville (2009-11) and Central Michigan (2014-17) before joining Harbaugh’s staff at Michigan in 2018. 

Moore was the tight ends coach from 2018-20 before taking over as the offensive line coach in 2021. Under Moore, the offensive line won the prestigious Joe Moore Award in 2021 and 2022. Moore took over as the offensive coordinator while maintaining offensive line duties last season. 

Moore served as the acting coach on Sept. 16 against Bowling Green while Harbaugh served a three-game school-imposed suspension. Harbaugh would serve a second suspension for the final three regular-season games, and Moore coached in those games. That stretch served as the ultimate audition for the job:

DATE OPPONENT RESULT
Nov. 11 at No. 10 Penn State 24-15
Nov. 18 at Maryland 31-24
Nov. 25 vs. No. 2 Ohio State 30-24

He is the first African-American coach in Michigan history. 

Sherrone Moore challenges in Year 1 at Michigan 

Will Michigan lose players to the transfer portal? 

Michigan’s roster turnover in 2023 is already substantial. The Wolverines have 15 players from last year’s team listed on the NFLDraftBuzz.com Big Board. That’s good for the program in terms of exposure, but in the short team there will be massive changes on the two-deep roster. 

That includes quarterback J.J. McCarthy, running back Blake Corum, All-American safety Mike Sainristil and All-American guard Zak Zinter. Harbaugh’s exit also means the transfer portal will open up for the next 30 days for Wolverines’ players who want to attend another school. 

The Wolverines still have several key playmakers coming back. Donovan Edwards – who scored two TDs in the 34-13 victory against Washington in the College Football Playoff championship game – will be the lead back. The defense still features All-American talent in defensive tackle Mason Graham and cornerback Will Johnson. Defensive tackle Kenneth Grant and safety Rod Moore also are back. 

Michigan also added Northwestern offensive lineman Josh Priebe – a three-year starter – and Maryland linebacker Jaishawn Barham – who had 37 tackles and three sacks in 2023 – via the portal. The cupboard is not bare despite heavy losses and a huge question at the most-important position. 

Who is Michigan’s QB in 2024? 

McCarthy leaves Michigan with a 27-1 record as the starter for most of the last two seasons. Jack Tuttle, an Indiana transfer, has applied to be eligible for a seventh season. 

Alex Orji – a 6-3, 236-pound junior – was used in Wildcat packages this season for the Wolverines. He would be the leading candidate to start. Freshman Jadyn Davis – a four-star quarterback from Providence Day (Charlotte, N.C.) High School – could get in the mix. Junior Jayden Denegal and senior Davis Warren also are on the roster. 

If there is no separation, then a transfer quarterback in the spring window could be a real possibility for the Wolverines in 2024. 

Will Ohio State retake control of The Game? 

Ohio State had not lost three consecutive games to Michigan since 1995-97. It’s safe to say Ryan Day responded this offseason to that slide in The Game. 

The Buckeyes dominated the transfer portal by picking up Kansas State quarterback Will Howard, Ole Miss running back Quinshon Judkins and Alabama safety Caleb Downs – the top player in the portal this cycle. 

Several key pieces from a defense that allowed 11.2 points per game are back, too, and the losses to the Wolverines were a motivating factor. Those players include defensive tackles Ty Hamilton and Tyliek Williams, edge rushers J.T. Tuimoloau and Jack Sawyer and cornerback Denzel Burke. 

Ohio State also has a new offensive coordinator in Bill O’Brien and a new athletic director in Ross Bjork. Keep in mind that despite Michigan’s recent success in The Game, the Buckeyes are still 17-6 against the Wolverines since 2000. Legacies are won and lost in this game, and Moore will face the same pressure as Harbaugh – who was 3-5 against the Buckeyes.

MORE: Ohio State’s hire of Bill O’Brien continues big offseason 

Will the NCAA punish Michigan more? 

Michigan is subject to a pair of NCAA ongoing investigations. Harbaugh served a school-imposed three-game suspension to start the season as a result of a NCAA investigation into impermissible contact with recruits – a case in which Harbaugh faced a Level I violation. 

The NCAA investigation into an  in-person scouting and sign-stealing scandal also is ongoing. That resulted in the firing of staffer Connor Stalions and assistant coach Chris Partridge, and the potential for more penalties is still to be determined. 

If that happens, then Moore – not Harbaugh – will feel the brunt of those penalties. 

Michigan Wolverines 2024 schedule 

The coaching change coincides with massive changes to college football in 2024. The Big Ten is expanding to 18 teams, and the College Football Playoff is expanding to 12 teams. 

The Wolverines have a tough schedule that includes two playoff teams from last season in Texas and Washington and tests against USC, Oregon and Ohio State. All five of those teams are ranked in Sporting News’ Way Too Early Top 25 for 2024, but Michigan will not have to face any in back-to-back weeks. 

The good news is the Wolverines’ first five games – including those showdowns against the Longhorns and Trojans – will be at Michigan Stadium. The traditional matchup with Ohio State will be in the regular-season finale on Nov. 30. Michigan has eight home games.

Michigan went 40-3 the last three seasons under Harbaugh. The only FBS school with a better record in that stretch is Georgia at 42-2. 

DATE OPPONENT SN RANK
Aug. 31 vs. Fresno State N/R
Sept. 7 vs. Texas 3
Sept. 14 vs. Arkansas State N/R
Sept. 21 vs. USC 21
Sept. 28 vs. Minnesota N/R
Oct. 5 at Washington 9
Oct. 12 Bye  
Oct. 19 at Illinois N/R
Oct. 26 vs. Michigan State N/R
Nov. 2 vs. Oregon 5
Nov. 9 at Indiana N/R
Nov. 16 Bye  
Nov. 23 vs. Northwestern N/R
Nov. 30 at Ohio State 6

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