This is a hard post to write because there are so many variables, but there is nothing out of the ordinary going on within the Michigan football program. It’s difficult to explain but the Solomon situation is really nothing more than a kid who hates the cold weather and was extremely homesick. I’m told he considered transferring out last year because of the cold but stuck it out one more year and with injuries had a miserable year in Ann Arbor and was just looking for a change. He is very close to his mother and other family in Georgia and the pull of the peach state was too much for a kid who wasn’t buried on the depth chart and had a future. I talked to a former player who claims “being away from home for the first time, with all the challenges of college football can be difficult, without injuries.” He isn’t the first young player who just wanted to go back to familiar surroundings. Trust me when I say Solomon needed to be closer to home.
The other big transfer is James Hudson, I’m told he simply thought he was ready to start and it didn’t happen fast enough, so he left. “James thought he was the man but the coaches didn’t agree,” according to another high profile source around the program. Sounds like a kid who thought he got passed over and wasn’t going to wait around another year to find out. He added, “the coaches aren’t playing around, this is college football in 2018.”
What is most concerning is the Michigan fans lack of stomach for big time cut throat football, roster churn can be part of the deal when you are trying to compete with the Alabama’s an Clemson’s of the world, clearing scholarships is the way it’s done and with some of the current transfers, that is exactly what happened. When Harbaugh was hired I was told by a solid source and I’ve written about it in the past, if a player isn’t contributing as a freshman he is vulnerable to roster churn. The only exception is Offensive Line where the goal is to almost ALWAYS red-shirt to gain weight and strength. It’s the cold, hard reality of big time college football and you are starting to see the players get wise to it too. That is why so many are unwilling to risk playing in a bowl game with nothing at stake.
In short, you have a short period of time to contribute or the school wants the scholarship back for the next great stud player. The upside to transfers is Michigan has eight to ten scholarships remaining which makes it likely they can load up in 2019 with a full 30 scholarships. It’s all about churning that roster to find contributors. Even the best prospects can find themselves on the outside looking in, sadly players are like shiny new cars, their value drops the minute you drive them off the lot.
My source also claims “coaches do have their favorites, which can skew their view of any given player, no matter how highly they were recruited.” I think anybody who has played organized sports know this happens on every team. That is why Hudson likely left, he wasn’t a Warriner recruit and felt that he wasn’t gong to crack the rotation as he wasn’t a Warriner prototype. They six OL recruits in 2019 are Warriner guys and are a different type of offensive lineman. They are all highly athletic, long and can move.
It’s a new world in college football, coaches are smarter and more ruthless and players are smarter and more self aware, they know what is best for them and their careers. This is why we are seeing many more high profile transfers.
Another interesting nugget came out of my conversation today, Harbaugh is not happy that players are skipping the bowl game, particularly an underclassman captain. I’m told Harbaugh told each and every player that is skipping the bowl game that he is pissed, though he can never say it publicly. As a matter of fact, Rashan Gary is already gone, he’s off campus and working out for the NFL. Again, it’s a different world.