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Thursday Morning Brews: Beat Goes On

A football record holder returns to finish his degree, Harbaugh comments on Grant Newsome’s return, and a new Director of Player Personnel is hired.

NCAA Basketball: Michigan at Minnesota Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

Happy Thursday, folks. In this morning’s Brews: A football record-holder returns to finish his degree, a basketball signee is a finalist for Michigan Mr. Basketball, Jim Harbaugh discusses Grant Newsome’s return, and Sean Magee is hired as Director of Player Personnel.

Let’s hit the links:

There’s a familiar face on Michigan’s campus this winter term. Braylon Edwards, the record-holding WR of yesteryear, has re-enrolled in school after his successful nine-year career in the NFL and two years in the analyst’s chair. Edwards, now 34 years old, recently moved back to Michigan and met with former football player and current athletics director Warde Manuel. Manuel, says Edwards, discussed his own efforts to graduate from Michigan (and earn an MBA from the Ross School of Business) after his playing career was cut short by injury. Manuel kept stressing the importance of a Michigan degree during their lunch, and convinced Edwards of the merits of finishing school. Braylon will graduate this spring with a degree in general studies.

Michigan signee Isaiah Livers is among the six finalists to be named Michigan Mr. Basketball. Livers, the 6’7” 195lbs PF prospect, committed to John Beilein back in August and sent in his LOI during the basketball early signing period this past November. The other finalists are Jamal Cain, Greg Elliott, Amauri Hardy, Xavier Tillman, and Jason Whitens. Cain, Hardy, and Tillman are the other finalists who have signed with collegiate programs. They’ll be attending Marquette, Oklahoma State, and Michigan State, respectively. Other members of the 2018 recruiting class for Michigan include PG Eli Brooks and SG Jordan Poole. The Wolverines are also participants in the Mo Bamba sweepstakes. The 6’11” center and #2 prospect in the 2018 class is expected to choose from Duke, Kentucky, Michigan, and Texas sometime in late spring.

Jabrill Peppers’ versatility in college may be causing NFL teams to shy away from taking him with their first round pick. Some pro scouts view Peppers as a defensive prospect, while others view him as an offensive prospect. While you may think this would make him more appealing to potential teams, some scouts say it may cause him to fall out of the first round in April’s NFL Draft. MLive’s Nick Baumgardner is reporting that analyst Bucky Brooks has said of Peppers, “As crazy as it sounds, some coaches and evaluators would rather have a prospect with a clearly defined position to plug into their scheme instead of a potential star with an unspecified role heading into the league.” Next week’s NFL Combine will provide Peppers with yet another opportunity to impress pro scouts and may provide additional clues on where he would fit best at the next level.

Just wanted to highlight this one in case you missed it on Tuesday night. Freshman Devin Asiasi has been granted his release from the University of Michigan. Asiasi, a highly touted TE prospect, was something of a surprise commitment on National Signing Day 2016 and showed that Harbaugh had established nationwide reach by pulling Asiasi out of California. In limited action this past season, Asiasi had two catches for 18 yards and a TD. Asiasi, who has great hands, had been expected to play a larger role in the offense this coming year with Jake Butt’s graduation.

In a bit of positive news, Jim Harbaugh has said that he’s confident that Grant Newsome will return to football at some point. The sophomore left guard started on the OLine early in the year before suffering a gruesome knee injury at the start of October that required multiple surgeries and 38 days in the hospital. Newsome, who echoed Harbaugh’s comments on Twitter, began walking again in December.

Michigan received its third commitment of the 2018 class from Wolverine legacy Aidan Hutchinson. You can check out MnB’s analysis of Hutchinson’s game HERE. Aidan is a 4* 6’5” 235 lbs defensive end prospect, and is the son of former Michigan player Chris Hutchinson. The elder Hutchinson played for Bo and Gary Moeller in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, and earned All-Conference and All-American honors, before going to medical school at Michigan and settling in Southeast Michigan. The younger Hutchinson is Michigan’s third commitment of the 2018 class, joining Otis Reese and Emil Ekiyor. Michigan’s 2018 class is expected to be approximately 20 recruits.

Jim and Sarah Harbaugh were judges at Mock Rock Tuesday night. Mock Rock is an annual variety show put on to benefit local organizations doing great work in the community. This year, all proceeds from Mock Rock are going to Fresh Start Clubhouse. Fresh Start Clubhouse works with adults who suffer from mental illness, and provides a place where skills may be learned and relationships formed. During the event, Harbaugh announced that he and Sarah would be matching all donations to the organization.

Sean Magee has been hired as Michigan’s new Director of Player Personnel. The off-field position was formerly held by Tony Tuioti, who left to coach the DLine for Fresno State. The University reports that Magee, a former player at the Naval Academy, served during Operation Iraqi Freedom both aboard a ship in the Arabian Gulf and at a base in California. His tours of active duty complete, he then transitioned to the administrative side of the Navy. After overseeing all enlisted and NROTC recruiting for Ohio, Kentucky and Virginia, he took a job in the administration at the Naval Academy before becoming the Director of Player Personnel for their football team. Magee seems to mark a shift in Jim Harbaugh’s off-field hires, in that Magee does not come from a coaching background.