After weeks of speculation, Michigan football head coach Jim Harbaugh put to rest any hope that true freshman wide receiver Tarik Black would play in the Outback Bowl this Monday.
Harbaugh spoke to the media Thursday afternoon and gave updates on several topics, such as rumors of his NFL return, Brandon Peters’ progression and more.
But the one that stood out to me was his update on Black. Even though Black could “probably” play in the bowl game, Harbaugh is opting to play it safe, have Black sit out of the game and receive a medical redshirt this season.
Black was having a tremendous start to his freshman season before breaking his foot in the third game of the season against Air Force at Michigan Stadium on Sept. 16. He managed 11 catches, 149 receiving yards and one touchdown through those three games and was outplaying every receiver at the time by a long shot.
After Black’s injury, no one individually took his place as the No. 1 receiver. Donovan Peoples-Jones assumed the role, but didn’t find his groove until the last few games of the season. Others like Kekoa Crawford, Grant Perry and Eddie McDoom all shared their struggled throughout the year, and Crawford and Perry both missed time due to injury. True freshman Nico Collins and sophomore tight end Nick Eubanks also suffered injuries that limited their play this year.
Michigan should have a lethal receiving game next season with Black back in the mix with the aforementioned Peoples-Jones, Collins and Perry, and also tight ends Sean McKeon and Zach Gentry. That is, if they all can stay healthy and on the field.