Marcus Freeman poses a problem for recruiting in Michigan Football

Jim Harbaugh’s quest to establish Michigan football as a steadier competitor in the Big Ten has run into a snag in this off-season, the tireless recruiting efforts of Notre Dame head coach Marcus Freeman.

Football in Michigan and Notre Dame are rivals both on and off the field. On the field, the rivalry is well documented, with matches between the two going back to 1887.

However, off the field, the two constantly find themselves in direct conflict over similar recruits. Which makes sense, as both are powerful Midwest powers with plenty of history, prestige, and tradition, and they both focus heavily on academics as well.

But lately, Notre Dame has felt like a bigger inconvenience to recruiting than usual, almost all thanks to its recently promoted coach, Marcus Freeman. He was their defensive coordinator for only one year, and Notre Dame felt so comfortable handing the reigns to the 36-year-old Ohio graduate he was promoted rather than thoroughly researched by training after it was announced that Brian Kelly was leaving the LSU job.

Already in 2023, Freeman made commitments from many of The Wolverines were keenly interested, as were Maryland defensive lineman Devan Houston (brother of Michigan basketball player Caleb Houston), Massachusetts player Preston Zenter (brother of Michigan guard Zach Zenter), and North Carolina guard Sam Pendleton.

Worse yet, Notre Dame has risen to prominence for a few other top prospects the Wolverines are pursuing, such as Detroit quarterback Dante Moore, Maryland linebacker Jason Moore, Illinois offensive tackle Charles Gagosa, and Washington retreating Jayden Lemar.

However, the Wolverines keep fighting, continuing to push for five-star passers-by Keon Keeley, a current commitment at Notre Dame, and jumping into the mix for four-star safety Peyton Bowen since he introduced him back in February.

Mark C. Rebelas – USA Today Sports

While it wasn’t time to press the panic button at all because Marcus Freeman didn’t even coach a single match for the Fighting Irish (and Harbaugh put 36 points into Freeman’s UC defense in 2017), his ability to recruit has really hampered Michigan’s attempts to cash in From the breakout season in 2021.

Although the Wolverines and the Irish aren’t playing each other this fall (their next game isn’t scheduled until 2033, over a decade), it’ll be worth watching the Irish’s success this fall, given how frequently they clash with Michigan football on the enlistment trail .

With games against talented opponents like Ohio State, Clemson, BYU and now USC-led Lincoln Riley and Caleb Williams, a handful of losses for the Irish will certainly aid Jim Harbaugh and Mike Elston’s recruiting track efforts this fall, Michigan’s program is more successful against a young coach struggling to get on footing.

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