It was Oct. 1, 2016. The No. 4 Michigan Wolverines were playing No. 8 Wisconsin at the Big House in a monumental early-season Big Ten showdown. The Wolverines won a tight game, but lost a star offensive lineman in the making, Grant Newsome.
Newsome was sprung into action early in the season, as his impressive play made it impossible for Jim Harbaugh to keep him off the field. The redshirt freshman was blocking for De’Veon Smith when all of a sudden, his life changed forever.
Newsome suffered a gruesome knee injury due to that block, so bad that he nearly lost his leg. The rehab process began and he put in as much work as he possibly could.
The grueling rehab continues for @grant_newsome. A lesser man would have thrown in the towel many moons ago. pic.twitter.com/CDDQfR4DrL— Coach Harbaugh (@CoachJim4UM) August 22, 2017
Even though Newsome had to medically retire, he didn’t fully retire from the game of football. He stuck around the program, while still working towards his degree, to be an assistant tight ends coach.
TE drill (some coaching from Grant Newsome) pic.twitter.com/gm9CD50Lzi— angelique (@chengelis) December 26, 2018
Newsome was elevated to a graduate assistant coaching role to work with the offensive line after he graduated from U-M with a degree in American culture (he later earned his Master’s Degree in public policy — he’s one smart dude). The long hours of work finally paid off this offseason when he was promoted to the tight ends coaching position after Jay Harbaugh was moved to the safety room.
His first year on the job will be one where the position is absolutely loaded. Erick All returned for one final ride, as did Luke Schoonmaker. The latter recently spoke to the media and described what it’s like to have a former Michigan player and younger guy be coaching his position group.
“He’s been great, he’s been a great addition,” Schoonmaker said. “He just has such a great IQ for the game. He was a great player when he played and, again, moves right into the coaching staff. He knows so much and is so helpful with us because I think he is right around our age, too. He gets it and it’s been fun. I think we can relate a lot with him and he does a good job with that.”
Behind them are a couple vets — Joel Honigford and Carter Selzer — who will also play quite a bit. Finally, the young bucks — redshirt sophomore Matthew Hibner, redshirt freshman Louis Hansen, and true freshmen Colston Loveland and Marlin Klein — will try to crack the rotation as well.
Under the tutelage of Newsome, I fully expect All to have a monster 2022 season. He really came on late in the season; we all remember the game-winning touchdown against Penn State, but he had a couple phenomenal catches against Iowa in the Big Ten Championship, too. After struggling with consistency his first two seasons, All really put it together last year. I anticipate him stepping it up another notch this year.
Schoonmaker is no slouch, either, tying for the team-lead in receiving touchdowns a season ago (3) while also making a nifty one-handed grab against the Hawkeyes that nearly went for six. He’s been a reliable target over the last couple years, so you should expect him to play a big role in 2022.
It’s been a long journey for Newsome; a journey that has featured many highs and many lows. But now he’s settled into his new role — his new life, really — teaching young men not only the game of football, but how to overcome anything life throws at them.
He’s the youngest assistant coach in the country — only 25 years old. He’s made 247Sports’ “30 Under 30” list two years consecutively, so he isn’t just well-known locally. He has just as much star potential in the coaching ranks as he did when he was player. As long as he keeps climbing the ladder, Newsome will be a successful head coach in no time.