You can say what you want about the success of Jim Harbaugh since he took over the head coaching job at Michigan back in 2015. In Harbaugh’s tenure, the Wolverines are just 47-18, have lost at least three games in every season, are only 1-4 in bowl games, and they haven’t beaten their hated rival Ohio State. But Harbaugh has had one major success at Michigan that is undeniable: He produces pros.
The 2016-17 season at the University of Michigan was the best season Jim Harbaugh has had in Ann Arbor. In his second season as head coach the Wolverines finished the season at 10-3 losing two games by one point and the other in triple overtime, a couple of bounces away from the Playoff. But it is what happened that off-season that is even greater.
Two big things happened for Michigan that off-season. In two years Harbaugh took in a group of underclassmen that he did not recruit and developed them into the largest draft class in Michigan history. After only having 3 players drafted in 2016, the Wolverines had 11 players selected in the 2017 draft, two of them going in the first round, the most of any team in college football.
What also happened in the 2017 off-season is that Michigan brought in the 5th ranked recruiting class in the country, sandwiched between the 4th ranked class of USC and Florida State at #6. In three seasons, Harbaugh turned that fifth-ranked recruiting class into 10 picks in the 2020 draft, the second most of all of college football. USC and Flordia State had 3 combined players picked in this year’s draft.
It is easy to criticize the job that Jim Harbaugh has done as the head football coach at the University of Michigan. But, after playing 14 seasons and coaching 4 years in the NFL and reaching the Super Bowl he knows what it takes to become a professional football player, and that is exactly what he turns his players into. In Harbaugh’s 5 years at Michigan, he has had 31 of his players drafted, five of them in the first round. So despite being underwhelming in the win and loss column, Michigan recruits at a high level, and they turn that talent into NFL-ready players. Make no mistake, the Wolverines are still a college football powerhouse.