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ESPN names three U-M assistants as coaches to watch in 2023

Sherrone Moore, Jesse Minter and Jay Harbaugh are among the top assistant coaches in college football.

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

ESPN recently released a list of the top coordinators and assistant coaches in college football. The Michigan Wolverines were represented by all three of their coordinators: offensive coordinator Sherrone Moore, defensive coordinator Jesse Minter and special teams coordinator Jay Harbaugh.

Moore is entering his first season as Michigan’s sole offensive coordinator. The previous two seasons he split the responsibilities with Josh Gattis (2021) and Matt Weiss, both of whom are now currently unemployed.

Moore is one of the country’s hottest names in coaching. After taking over the offensive line in 2021, he has led the unit to back-to-back Joe Moore Awards and has been a stabilizing force on the offensive side of the ball.

Head coach Jim Harbaugh has had a decorated history with offensive coordinators, so for Moore to earn his trust to this degree speaks to his coaching prowess and inevitable head coaching future.

On the defensive side of the ball, it is no surprise to see Minter’s name here. Minter — a Broyles Award finalist in 2022 — guided Michigan’s defense to a top 10 finish nationally in almost every defensive category during his first year in Ann Arbor.

Michigan’s defense has lofty expectations entering 2023 with eight starters returning. However, there is still a small chance he does not return to the Wolverines. It was reported last week Minter had interviewed with the Philadelphia Eagles. Being in demand is the taxing cost of success, but it also validates his presence on this list.

Lastly, Harbaugh’s son Jay and Michigan’s longest tenured assistant coach finds himself recognized by ESPN. Unlike some assistant coaches in the Big Ten, Jay is on Michigan’s staff due to his coaching acumen and not his last name.

Jay started out mopping up weight room floors in 2008 at Oregon State and 13 years later, he was recognized as the special teams coordinator of the year by in 2021.

Jay has coached tight ends, running backs and safeties in addition to his special teams duties during his time in Ann Arbor, and each group has flourished under the younger Harbaugh’s guidance.

Three Michigan coaches were featured, but honestly there was a case for six. The recent return of super recruiter Chris Partridge to coach the linebackers, and the returning co-defensive coordinator Steve Clinkscale are both deserving of recognition.

However, none are more deserving than strength coach Ben Herbert —the heart and soul of the program — whom Harbaugh himself tried to nominated for Broyles consideration last year but was rejected because he is not an on-field coach.