The biggest news to emerge from the coaching carousel in college football recently could have some implications in the NCAA Transfer Portal for the Texas football program early this offseason. The Michigan Wolverines lost head coach Jim Harbaugh to the NFL's Los Angeles Chargers (who agreed to terms with him for the hire on Jan. 24).
Harbaugh leaving the defending National Champion Michigan for an NFL head coaching job isn't a surprise, as he was rumored to be interested in returning to the league for the last couple of years.
Which possible Michigan transfers would make the most sense for Texas football after Harbaugh leaves for the NFL?
Following Harbaugh's departure, Michigan players have a 30-day window where they can enter the transfer portal without a penalty. If Michigan experiences significant roster turnover, the Longhorns are one of the many Power Five programs that can take advantage.
And considering that many of Michigan's key assistants that were on Harbaugh's staff are expected to join him with the Chargers in the NFL, I would expect many Michigan players to enter the portal in the coming days and weeks.
Texas took advantage of a similar situation when longtime legendary head coach Nick Saban retired after 17 years with the Alabama Crimson Tide earlier this month. Head coach Steve Sarkisian and the Longhorns landed multiple Alabama transfers who can immediately impact this roster in 2024.
The Longhorns and Wolverines will square off on the gridiron in Ann Arbor in Week 2 of the 2024 season. If there was some portal movement between the two schools following Harbaugh's departure this offseason, that would add more intrigue to that game this upcoming season.
Here are three possible Michigan transfers who the Longhorns could pursue in the portal this offseason after the departure of Harbaugh.
Kenneth Grant, DL
The first position that comes to mind that the Longhorns should address in the portal if some quality Michigan players transfer is defensive line. Texas added a defensive tackle in the portal earlier this week to add proven depth to the defensive line rotation this fall in Arizona junior transfer Tiaoalii Savea.
But the Longhorns still likely need one more proven commodity at defensive tackle to shore up the DL rotation entering spring ball.
The specific spot along the interior defensive line where the Longhorns could use some proven depth is at nose tackle. Texas's most experienced returning nose tackle in 2024 is rising redshirt sophomore Aaron Bryant.
That's why if a proven nose, such as Michigan sophomore Kenneth Grant, appeared in the portal, the Longhorns would be wise to reach out immediately. At 6-foot-3 and 340 pounds, Grant has the size and strength the Longhorns need to be a disruptive presence at nose in the SEC.
Grant was the highest-graded nose tackle in the Big Ten in his first full season as a starter at Michigan in 2023. He was a hulking presence as an interior pass rusher and interior run stopper. Grant graded out among the three best nose tackles in the Big Ten last season in the pass rush and run defense.
Nose tackles of this caliber appear in the transfer portal so rarely. If Grant hypothetically put his name in the portal this offseason, he would be a logical option for the Longhorns to pursue to fill a positional need and upgrade this defensive front that already has a lot of potential to do well in the SEC in 2024.