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Michigan Coach Profile: New Defensive Coordinator Jesse Minter

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A look at Minter’s history that has led him to Ann Arbor.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: DEC 04 Big Ten Championship Game - Michigan v Iowa Photo by Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Former Michigan defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald did so well during his first year at Michigan that he went back to where he came from — The Baltimore Ravens. Macdonald was the Ravens linebackers coach when he left for Michigan, and returns to Baltimore as their defensive coordinator.

Macdonald’s replacement is someone who was on Baltimore’s staff with Macdonald from 2017-20 — Jesse Minter. In fact, Minter was under consideration for a spot on Michigan’s staff last season. Minter’s someone head coach Jim Harbaugh was aware of, a coach that comes from the staff of Harbaugh’s brother, Ravens head coach John Harbaugh.

“He came highly recommended last year by my brother John and Jesse and I have continued to have discussions and maintain a friendship which helped bring him to Ann Arbor,” Jim Harbaugh said earlier this month.

Minter’s father, Rick Minter, is a well respected coach who had two stints as defensive coordinator for Notre Dame, was Cincinnati’s head coach from 1994-03, and has over 40 years of coaching experience. And now 38 year old Jesse has his best shot yet to really make a name for himself in the profession.

While this is Minter’s biggest opportunity to date, he has prior experience as a defensive coordinator. Here’s a look at some of his stops during his coaching career.

Indiana State- 2009-10 (linebackers coach), 2011-12 (defensive coordinator

The Indiana State defense ranked third in the FBS in scoring defense in 2012 (14.32 points per game) and sixth in total defense (296.4 avg). The Sycamores have been a historically lackluster program, but during Minter’s time there they had three winning seasons in a row for the first time in over 40 years.

Georgia State- 2013-16 (defensive coordinator)

Georgia State had the biggest improvement in scoring defense in the nation from 2014 to 2015. Georgia State allowed 15 fewer points and 122.3 fewer yards per game. Minter was nominated for the 2015 Broyles Award, which goes to the top assistant coach in college football. Georgia State ranked in the top-25 in 2016 in red zone defense, yards per play allowed, and pass efficiency defense.

Baltimore Ravens- 2017-18 (defensive assistant), 2019 (assistant defensive backs coach), 2020 (defensive backs coach)

Minter worked with the defensive backs in 2017 and ‘18 and was involved in quality control, self-scouting, and opponent analysis. Minter was elevated to assistant defensive backs coach in 2019, a year where the Ravens had three Pro Bowl selections in their secondary (Marlon Humphrey, Marcus Peters, Earl Thomas). In 2020 as defensive backs coach the Ravens ranked third in the NFL in fewest yards/passing attempt (6.4) and seventh in defensive passer rating (87.2).

Vanderbilt- 2021 (defensive coordinator)

Vandy ranked 118th in total defense, 107th in rushing defense, and 114th in passing yards allowed. The biggest bright spots were ranking in 27th in red-zone defense, and 33rd in passes intercepted.

Summary

Minter is Michigan’s defensive coordinator because he’s someone Harbaugh believes will bring the same type of energy and effort that Macdonald did. Macdonald was a grinder who put in lots of late hours turning Michigan’s scheme and defensive production around. Minter comes from the same Baltimore Ravens organization as Macdonald, not only is he familiar with the type of scheme Macdonald ran at Michigan in 2021, the process of game-planning is likely similar. The Ravens have their own way of doing things from philosophical and preparation perspectives. Minter is his own man, he’ll put his own stamp on the Michigan defense, but a lot of the scheme and terminologies should remain intact.

Many questioned why Harbaugh hired Macdonald, and now the same thing is happening with Minter. Sometimes it’s better to take a chance on someone who’s ready to ascend in the profession opposed to a coach who’s burnt out, older, and not giving it his all even if he’s a known commodity.

Minter has his work cut out for him, especially with the departures of players such as Aidan Hutchinson, David Ojabo, Josh Ross, and Daxton Hill. Still, it’s clear why Michigan hired Minter and we’ll see if that vision leads to success.