This is interesting.
Earlier this week Jim Harbaugh said that he’d like to see Michigan basketball forward Isaiah Livers play football at Michigan.
“I’ll just put this out there, if Isaiah Livers is a basketball player that likes to watch football, at some point, I’d love to get him an opportunity to play football! Isaiah Livers, the sixth-man on our basketball team here at Michigan right now – tight end would be a heckuva position (for him).”
“When I had seen that, I sent it to my dad and he said, ‘I told you so,’” Livers said. “I used to play football back in high school — my freshman year. My dad made me put it down, because I was getting too tall,” Livers said about Harbaugh’s comments.
“Always — I’m always open to playing any sport,” Livers said.
While Livers said he’s open to playing another spot, that doesn’t mean he will. However, Livers is leaving the door open and now we will see if this was just a fun thought Harbaugh had on his podcast or if he truly wants to put Livers on the football team.
Livers stands 6-8 220 with good speed and even better vertical ability. On paper, Livers seems like he could be a dangerous addition on the football field if he can catch the football consistently.
Without factoring in who the other tight ends are on the Michigan roster and how good they are, the idea that Livers could play football for Michigan isn’t crazy whatsoever.
There’s been plenty of precedent through the years where collegiate basketball players make the jump from basketball to football and become two-sport athletes. Marquee names such as Tony Gonzalez, Julius Peppers, Jimmy Graham, Julius Thomas, Antonio Gates all excelled in both sports and turned out to be great NFL players.
The sport of basketball is obviously much different than football but hoops still requires a high level of conditioning, weight training, hand-eye coordination, the catching of an object that’s a... ball. Basketball requires a player to get open against a defender, they have to use their vertical ability, among other similar traits that can provide a helpful transition from one sport to the other.
Football has more nuances and complexities, we don’t know how Livers would handle any of them, but Harbaugh thinking outside of the box is not only fun, but it’s smart. Bring in talent however you can find it, even if it’s a basketball player at U of M.
This may be the last we hear about Livers and Michigan football in the same sentence, or it may be the beginning.