Michigan, Jim Harbaugh wake up as champs: 'This wasn't a dream'
League: NCAA Football
Posted on: 09 Jan, 2024 at 04:53 PM
Credit: Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports
The day after winning the national championship, Michigan fully embraced the reality of donning college football's crown.
"It's good waking up this morning, this wasn't a dream," said head coach Jim Harbaugh on Tuesday morning, seated between running back Blake Corum and cornerback Will Johnson after the College Football Playoff title game win over Washington.
Michigan completed a 15-0 season and claimed its first national championship since 1997, but big changes are expected before the Wolverines start their delayed spring practices around Valentine's Day. One of those could be Harbaugh leaving for the NFL, a possibility athletic director Warde Manuel and university president Santa Ono said they are trying to confront head-on.
Harbaugh indicated he's willing to tackle a tough conversation with the NCAA if there was a need to further talk about the sign-stealing investigation that led to his second suspension during the 2023 regular season.
"Yeah, anybody. I think they know my number," he said Tuesday.
Harbaugh was still embracing the spoils of his first national championship, giddy over the prospects of a parade in Ann Arbor and not yet ready to talk about his future. He repeated that he does plan to make good on his word from October and get a "15-0" tattoo to commemorate the season.
Johnson, a sophomore whose third-quarter interception shifted the momentum back to Michigan on Monday night, said he's not sweating what's next for his head coach with the NFL hovering.
"There's a reason they're so interested in him. He's a great coach," said Johnson, who was named the most valuable defensive player in the CFP championship game Monday. "He deserves to be looked at in that light. But I'm not too worried about it. I know whatever decision he makes is going to be the best decision for him and for the team"
With or without Harbaugh, Michigan expects quarterback J.J. McCarthy to enter the 2024 NFL Draft before the Jan. 15 deadline. Corum, named most valuable player on offense Monday night with 134 rushing yards and two touchdowns, is turning pro.
For those sticking around, Harbaugh again beat the drum of college football revenue sharing with on-field personnel as a fix the sport needs to make, starting by giving players a voice at the table.
"It's long past time to let the student-athletes, the talent, share the ever-increasing revenues. We're all robbing the same train. The ones in position to do the heavy lifting are the players," Harbaugh said.
Johnson said he'll be front and center as the Wolverines carry the season-ending No. 1 ranking into a new year.
"We've got a great group of guys that will be back next year," Johnson said. "Guys that are super talented in my class ... older guys that will come back."
--Field Level Media