Jim Harbaugh replacements: CFB insider names two potential candidates for Michigan if Big Ten champ leaves the Wolverines

Big Ten Championship Football
Possible Jim Harbaugh replacements at Michigan, should one be needed

Amid the sign-stealing scandal Michigan is battling, rumors have persisted regarding Jim Harbaugh's future with the program. In light of this, some analysts have speculated that he might take an NFL job this offseason.

Bruce Feldman of The Athletic is one of those who feels Jim Harbaugh will make the move. On "The Rich Eisen Show" recently, Feldman discussed potential coaching candidates who would be suitable to replace Harbaugh if he were to leave Michigan after this season.

Wolverines offensive coordinator Sherrone Moore and Kansas head coach Lance Leipold are two candidates Feldman considers as top options. Moore has led Michigan in several games this season and Leipold did a great job with the Jayhawks (8-4), who have traditionally struggled, this season.

“Sherrone’s done (as good of a job) as you could have hoped,” Feldman said. “He led them to a bunch of wins against big teams, and the kids play hard for him and he can really grow into the job.
“To me, the biggest winner of the coaching carousel this year is Kansas, Lance Leipold is still in Kansas. If that job comes open, if I’m Michigan, do I look and say, 'Well, if we’re not really ready to give it to Sherrone because we're just not sure if he’s ready to take over full go,' then try to get the guy from Kansas.”

Will Jim Harbaugh leave Michigan for the NFL?

Jim Harbaugh has been a fantastic college football coach. He has had significant success at San Diego, Stanford and Michigan. However, he has over the years harbored the ambition to return to the NFL.

He had discussions with a couple of NFL teams last offseason but his hiring never materialized. There are also many teams, including the Chicago Bears and the Las Vegas Raiders, currently considering bringing him on board for next season. This makes an exit more likely for the coach.

There’s a belief that Jim Harbaugh has the ambition to win the Super Bowl, and this is pushing toward a return to the NFL. He led the San Francisco 49ers to the championship game in 2012 but lost out to the Baltimore Ravens, who were led by his brother, John Harbaugh.

With an exit likely, Harbaugh will hope to guide Michigan to its first national title since 1997 as a perfect goodbye. No. 1-ranked Michigan (13-0) is set to face No. 4-ranked Alabama (12-1) in the semifinals of the College Football Playoff.

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Edited by Joseph Schiefelbein