Discussing the Michigan Wolverines football's offseason transfers and their impacts.
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The Transfer Portal, And The Impact Of Michigan's Recent Departures

The impact of the transfer portal is being felt in both college football and college basketball more than ever nowadays, and the Michigan Wolverines' football program has endured its wrath lately as well … especially in the former.

Two more football players announced their departure via the portal yesterday, in redshirt junior safety Hunter Reynolds and freshman linebacker William Mohan. The two athletes' exits continued a wave of departures from Michigan this offseason, most notably in the form of contributors such as sophomore running back Zach Charbonnet, redshirt sophomore linebacker Ben VanSumeren and several others.

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Michigan Wolverines football coach Jim Harbaugh
Michigan Wolverines football coach Jim Harbaugh has compiled a 49-22 record during his six years at U-M. (AP Images)

Some casual observers of Michigan (and of college football in general) have taken note of the high number of departures from the Wolverine team, and have immediately asked 'What in the world is wrong with U-M's program?'

The answer is nothing. It's all about perspective with this topic, and simply put, this is the current state of college football. Nearly every program around the nation is dealing with significant offseason attrition more than ever, meaning it's not just a 'Michigan problem.'

The fact that the NCAA no longer forces athletes to sit out a year (except for the few times it decides to punish a kid and randomly makes him sit out a year) when transferring has made it incredibly easy for players to jump schools, causing the immense roster turnover at programs all across the country.

Michigan has actually fared quite well with its offseason departures, especially when considering how dismal its 2020 campaign was. Yes, Jim Harbaugh's team has lost a few contributors since the fall (Charbonnet, redshirt freshman center Zach Carpenter, etc.), but the majority of the defections have come from players who were buried on the depth chart.


Linebackers Osman Savage and Charles Thomas, for example, never made an impact whatsoever at Michigan before transferring, while redshirt sophomore running back Christian Turner and redshirt junior defensive end Luiji Vilain played sparingly throughout their careers before heading for greener pastures.

The two most recent defections — Reynolds and Mohan — fit this description to a T. Reynolds came to U-M as a walk-on and was eventually put on scholarship, before actually averaging 42.5 defensive snaps in the four games he competed in last year.

With two starters in fifth-year senior Brad Hawkins and sophomore Daxton Hill each returning in 2021 though, Reynolds wasn't necessarily expected to make a significant impact next fall.

Mohan, on the other hand, appeared in the season-opening blowout win at Minnesota, but then never saw the field again. Similar to Reynolds, he was not expected to make much of an impact in 2021 with redshirt junior Josh Ross and redshirt sophomore Mike Barrett each returning to the linebacking unit, along with three of the linebacking classmates he (Mohan) came to U-M with (Kalel Mullings, Cornell Wheeler and Nikhai Hill-Green).

Scholarship Safeties Slated to be on Michigan's Roster in 2021 (Ordered by Class)
Player Class

Brad Hawkins

Fifth-Year Senior

German Green

Redshirt Sophomore

Daxton Hill

Sophomore

Quinten Johnson

Redshirt Freshman

Jordan Morant

Freshman

R.J. Moten

Freshman

Makari Paige

Freshman

Rod Moore

Freshman

Michigan Wolverines football's Anthony Solomon
Michigan Wolverines football's Anthony Solomon came to U-M as a three-star prospect. (USA Today Sports Images)
Scholarship Linebackers Slated to be on Michigan's Roster in 2021 (Ordered by Class)
Player Class

Josh Ross

Redshirt Junior

Michael Barrett

Redshirt Sophomore

Anthony Solomon

Sophomore

David Ojabo

Redshirt Freshman

Joey Velazquez

Redshirt Freshman

Junior Colson

Freshman

Nikhai Hill-Green

Freshman

Jaydon Hood

Freshman

Tyler McLaurin

Freshman

Kalel Mullings

Freshman

Cornell Wheeler

Freshman

The transfer portal gives collegiate athletes an easy way out at the first sign of adversity and/or when they don't get their way, but fortunately, we haven't seen that much at U-M this offseason.

Perhaps Reynolds and Mohan each saw the writing on the wall in regards to future playing time, and decided to leave for that reason. It's hard to fault fault an athlete in that situation.

The positions that the actual on-field contributors left behind, meanwhile, will be fine as well. Sixth-year senior center Andrew Vastardis will likely start once again at center in the midst of Carpenter's departure, while redshirt sophomore Hassan Haskins and a pair of freshmen in Blake Corum and Donovan Edwards make up a formidable running back spot that Charbonnet left behind.

There is no sense in dwelling over the loss of a player who doesn't want to be on the team, or who is no longer happy at their school.

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