How Tyrone Wheatley\’s Hire Impacts Recruiting

When Jim Harbaugh returned to Michigan, everyone went crazy. And now he\’s brought back another former star player to join him in his quest to bring the Wolverines back as former running back Tyrone Wheatley will be the new running backs coach.


As a Wolverine, Wheatley was one of the best in the program\’s rich history. Along with being a 3x All-B1G member, he was the 1992 B1G Offensive Player of the Year and Rose Bowl MVP. Add in his 10 years in the NFL (with the Giants and Raiders) and you can see why he\’s one of the top running back coaches in football.

As for his coaching career, Wheatley started off at a local Michigan high school (Robichaud HS), made his way through the college ranks where he ended up really making a name for himself at Syracuse. With the Orangemen, he became their top recruiter and helped turn around a once dead program. However, when Syracuse head coach Doug Marrone took the Buffalo Bills job, he made sure to bring Wheatley with him.

In his 2 years in Buffalo, he coached one of the most formiddable running back duos in the NFL (Fred Jackson and CJ Spiller). However, Marrone decided to opt out of his deal which left Wheatley open to find a new gig.

And the timing couldn\’t have been more perfect.

It is official – Tyrone Wheatley signed a contract this afternoon to be #Michigan\’s running backs coach. Reports to Ann Arbor Monday

— Sam Webb (@SamWebb77) January 9, 2015

Wheatley will take over the RB coaching position that has been manned by Fred Jackson for the last 23 years. While Jackson should go in the Michigan football hall of fame, this allows the program to take a true step forward.


  • Having another coach on the staff that was a star in the Maize and Blue, as well as a seasoned NFL player gives Michigan a recruiting advantage that most schools cannot offer.
  • Thanks to his ties to the area, expect Wheatley to be the main recruiter in Michigan and especially Detroit. Which means Mike Weber will be his #1 target.
  • Along with his playing and coaching experience, Wheatley happens to be the father to his namesake son and four star athlete Tyrone Wheatley Jr. And from what I\’ve heard, the hiring of Wheatley Sr. will be a game changer in Junior\’s recruitment.

Besides Wheatley Jr, several other recruits let it be known that hiring Wheat would be a big deal:

Tyrone Wheatley will be a great RB coach if hired on Harbaugh staff. 〽️

— KentrailMoran (@Wooda_Moran24) January 8, 2015

Michigan Making big Moves happen 〽️

— tobias gilliam (@Tob7as_) January 7, 2015

With guys like Kareem Walker, Kentrail Moran, Robert Washington, Matt Falcon and Elijah Holyfield in the 2016 class, having a former NFL running back and star Wolverine on staff gives Harbaugh a recruiting tool that most programs lack. Add him to the other NFL experienced coaches and Michigan should have a legit shot at most elite prospects.