Inside the Fish Bowl is Searching for a Defensive Coordinator

If you’ve been living under a rock for the last day or so, congratulations, you made it! Also, it’s news to you that now former Michigan defensive coordinator DJ Durkin is the new head coach at Maryland. This is a great move for his career even though it is a bit of a hit to UM in the immediate future though I don’t believe it will do much damage to the recruiting class or bowl game defense.

Could Durkin Flip Some Commits?

Yes, I believe that is very possible. One name I’d watch closest would be Riverdale Baptist (MD) CB Sir Patrick Scott for obvious reasons.

Durkin may also go after some of the guys that have been rumored to be not that high on Michigan’s final board though are still committed. I don’t know for a fact which players those happen to be but I’m sure Durkin would love to land them if they become available.

Possible Replacements

I put together a list of a couple possible defensive coordinator candidates that Harbaugh would look to hire as his defensive coordinator yesterday, which included, arguably, the best bet to take the job, Scott Shafer, as well as Vic Fangio and Lance Anderson.

Well, there are even more names to add to that list.

First off, the name that is now on the market that would probably make the biggest immediate impact on the recruiting trail is former Georgia DC Jeremy Pruitt. And according to 247Sports’ Josh Newberg, though he seems destined to end up at Alabama, he’s interested in the job up north:

While Pruitt would be a quick hit on the recruiting trail, the coordinator may be at the same place the majority of the staff came from: The NFL.

According to The Wolverine’s Michael Spath, Harbaugh has reached out to three big time names ($) in previously mentioned Chicago Bears DC Vic Fangio, as well as current Baltimore Ravens DC Dean Pees and current Indianapolis Colts head coach Chuck Pagano.

Fangio is a very popular name on everyone’s list because of his ties to Harbaugh (former DC at Stanford and with the 49ers) but that’s looking like a long shot. Pees is a name to watch thanks to his ties to the Harbaugh family though it’s unknown if he’ll be available.

As for Pagano, that would be an absolute home run hire. BUT, I highly doubt that happens. I don’t have any sources surrounding this but being 6-5 and doing it with a 40 year old back up while Luck is injured/having a horrible year is pretty impressive. Though that may not be enough to keep his job, I can’t imagine him not having other NFL head coaching options.

That’s the negative with Pagano.

The positive: On top of his relationship with the Harbaugh family, his nephew, Carlo Kemp, will be a freshmen on the UM football team and coaching him in college could be something Chuck wants to do in his career. That’s something, similar to Jim wanting to return to Ann Arbor with his family, that no one but Pagano knows.

A couple other names that have been thrown out there include The Michigan Insider’s Sam Webb bringing up Green Bay defensive line coach and former Michigan defensive line coach Jerry Montgomery and Wolverine247’s Steve Lorenz mentioning Baltimore Ravens linebacker coach Don Martindale.

Another in-house coach besides Greg Mattison that is starting to get a lot of press is current DB coach Greg Jackson. It looks like he’d be the choice if Harbaugh goes with the promotion route over bringing in a new name.

CP Staying in AA 

While everyone was a little bummed about Durkin leaving Michigan, it was the reports of him possibly bringing UM’s recruiting coordinator Chris Partridge with him that really irked the fan base.

However, breathe easy, according to Wolverine247, Partidge is staying put at Michigan ($). On top of that, according to TMI’s Sam Webb, Harbaugh may have “increased his opportunity” at UM ($).

It’s not known exactly what has improved but I’d guess Partridge may be either receiving a nice pay raise or will be adding an assistant positional coach tag to his title.

This is obviously a great move by Harbaugh to keep Partridge on board thanks to how loved he is from recruits and his ties to the New Jersey recruits in the 2016 class and beyond, mainly the #1 overall player in the 2016 class, Paramus Catholic (NJ) DL Rashan Gary. Though I believe Michigan still would have remained the heavy favorite for both Gary and DePaul (NJ) RB Kareem Walker even if he left, keeping him on staff just increases their chances even more to sign them and the other top Garden State targets.

Gatorade POYs

Two of Michigan’s cornerstone 2016 commits and one of their top remaining targets on the board were named their state’s 2015-16 Gatorade Player of the Year:

New Offer

Michigan has offered 2017 Plaquemine (LA) DB Todd Harris:

December Commit Watch 

Congrats on making it to the end of the article!

Here’s your prize: I have confirmed that Michigan will be picking up at least one more commitment in the 2016 class later this month. You’ll enjoy this one. That’s all I can say at the moment.

Photo Credit: AP Photo/Patrick Semansky