Michigan has lost its entire defensive coaching staff from its national championship season.
The Wolverines lost the final piece of that defensive staff on Saturday when co-defensive coordinator and defensive backs coach Steve Clinkscale chose to join Jim Harbaugh’s staff with the Los Angeles Chargers, following defensive coordinator Jesse Minter and defensive line coach Mike Elston to Los Angeles.
This just in: Defensive backs coach and Steve Clinkscale is leaving Michigan to join Jim Harbaughs staff on the Chargers, sources with knowledge of the situation tell the Free Press.— Tony Garcia | Detroit Free Press (@RealTonyGarcia) February 10, 2024
Another major blow to the coaching staff, this one in particular on the recruiting trail. pic.twitter.com/fmT9yM3YCk
Jay Harbaugh, who coached Michigan’s safeties for the past two seasons along with its special teams, left the Wolverines for the Seattle Seahawks.
Clinkscale’s departure could be a significant hit for the Wolverines on the recruiting trail, as he was seen as one of Michigan’s best recruiters. On the field, his secondary anchored a defense that ranked second in the FBS in passing yards allowed per game in 2023 behind only Ohio State.
Michigan is set to hire former New York Giants and Baltimore Ravens defensive coordinator Wink Martindale as its new defensive coordinator, maintaining some degree of continuity for the Wolverines’ defense as Minter worked alongside Martindale in Baltimore and ran a similar defensive scheme in Ann Arbor.
The actual roster of defensive coaches, however, will be completely different than the one who led the nation’s top-ranked defense in 2023. Michigan also has a new head coach, with Sherrone Moore replacing Harbaugh, and a new director of strength and conditioning, with Justin Tress replacing Ben Herbert after Herbert also followed Harbaugh to Los Angeles.