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Michigan announces completed defensive coaching staff, two assistants retained

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The search on the defensive side of the ball is done.

Michigan v Maryland Photo by G Fiume/Maryland Terrapins/Getty Images

The Michigan Wolverines and head coach Jim Harbaugh announced on Wednesday evening the completion of its revamped defensive coaching staff. Reported hires Maurice Linguist (co-defensive coordinator/defensive backs) and George Helow (safeties) were made official.

Maurice and George are outstanding additions to our defensive coaching staff,” Harbaugh said in a statement.. “They are highly regarded and well-respected coaches who have worked with some of the top defensive minds in college football. Their experience at some of the top programs in the country will benefit our team and student-athletes. Michigan Football welcomes Maurice, George and their families and look forward to them joining our football family and university community.”

Linguist, 36, has experience in college having coached at Texas A&M, Minnesota, Mississippi State, and Iowa State. He was also considered for South Alabama’s head coaching position during this past hiring cycle.

Linguist has an impressive track record as a recruiter and was considered a top-20 assistant there during his last season at Texas A&M in 2018. As pointed out by Orion Sang of the Detroit Free Press, he was a big factor in the recruitments of six top-100 players with the Aggies and also helped bring star wide receiver Rashod Bateman to Minnesota.

“I have always had an appreciation and an admiration for Coach Harbaugh and his accomplishments at the University of Michigan,” Linguist said. “The University of Michigan is full of college football’s best traditions, and I cannot wait to get started. I look forward to leading and serving the young men in the program, developing life-long relationships, and competing at the highest levels on the field. My family and I look forward to getting to Ann Arbor, and we are beyond excited to join the Michigan family. Go Blue!”

Helow, 34, played for Ed Orgeron and Houston Nutt at Ole Miss from 2006-10, spent last season at Maryland in that post but has spent time on staffs with Nick Saban, Kirby Smart, Jimbo Fisher, Mark Richt, and more.

He broke into coaching in 2012 on Saban’s staff at Alabama working as an intern in the strength and conditioning program before joining Fisher’s staff at Florida State as a defensive graduate assistant. Helow helped coach the safeties at Georgia as a grad assistant from 2014-15 before moving on to Colorado State. He spent four seasons there, which saw him elevated to safeties coach in 2018-19.

“I am incredibly excited and grateful to be joining the Michigan Football program, a school with a rich tradition and history of winning,” Helow said. “I am looking forward to developing great players who are also upstanding citizens. This is an outstanding opportunity to work with Coach Jim Harbaugh, one of the best in the business, and the great coaching staff that he has assembled at Michigan. I can’t wait to get to work. Go Blue!”

Also packed into the release was an announced contract extension for defensive line coach Shaun Nua. Linebackers coach Brian Jean-Mary will remain on the staff and is still under contract heading into his second year with the program.

Linguist will be paired with recently-hired defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald, who was hired earlier this month after spending time as the linebackers coach with the Baltimore Ravens.

The only change to the offensive side of the ball this point was the decision to not retain quarterbacks coach Ben McDaniels, as well as the hiring of former Michigan running back Mike Hart the coach the position he once starred at in Ann Arbor. Harbaugh will taking on quarterback coaching duties himself.

Offensive line coach Ed Warinner and tight ends coach Sherrone Moore are also expected to be retained. Talk has quieted on Jay Harbaugh after he was was speculated to be moving to special teams full-time, so we will have to wait and see what happens there.