Michigan football hires Alabama co-offensive coordinator Josh Gattis

Michigan football coach Jim Harbaugh has settled on an offensive mind.

And he’s coming from Alabama.

A source with direct knowledge of the situation confirmed to the Free Press on Thursday that Josh Gattis, who spent the 2018 season as Alabama’s co-offensive coordinator/wide receivers coach, has been hired by Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh.

The Athletic’s Bruce Feldman and Chris Vannini first reported the move, reporting that Gattis had agreed to be Michigan’s offensive coordinator shortly after it appeared he was headed to Maryland for the same job.

Feldman also reported that Gattis is expected to be Michigan’s play caller.

U-M has not yet responded to a request for comment.

Gattis, who will turn 35 on Tuesday, has made five coaching stops during his career – he spent three years as a wide receivers coach at Penn State prior to joining Alabama. Gattis was with Penn State coach James Franklin at Vanderbilt as a wide receivers coach from 2012-13.

Before that, Gattis spent one year as a receivers coach at Western Michigan (2011) and was a graduate assistant at North Carolina in 2010.

Last season, Gattis helped Alabama’s offense hit No. 6 nationally, averaging better than 522 yards per game.

Gattis shared the offensive coordinator duties with current Maryland head coach Mike Locksley at Alabama.

The Wolverines did not have a formal offensive coordinator in 2018.

Moments after U-M’s loss in the Peach Bowl, Harbaugh was asked if he anticipated any changes to his coaching staff. Harbaugh said no, but that was before Ohio State swooped in and hired defensive line coach Greg Mattison and linebackers coach Al Washington earlier this week.

Gattis’ position of expertise throughout his career has been as a wide receivers coach. This past season at Alabama, Gattis coached the Biletnikoff Award winner in Jerry Jeudy, who had 68 catches for 1,315 yards and 14 touchdowns as a sophomore.

The core of Michigan’s 2019 offense will be built around three talented junior receivers in Donovan Peoples-Jones, Nico Collins and Tarik Black. Michigan is also bringing back quarterback Shea Patterson for a senior season.

Gattis’ time at Penn State was highlighted by a turnaround Big Ten title season in 2016 before the Nittany Lions exploded under former offensive coordinator Joe Moorhead for 460 yards per game in 2017.

He helped future NFL receivers DaeSean Hamilton and Chris Godwin during his time at Penn State. He was also key in signing 5-star prospect Justin Shorter.

A North Carolina native, Gattis has also built a reputation as a solid recruiter. He was rated as the No. 23 recruiter nationally by 247Sports for his work with the 2019 class. Gattis is known for his ability to recruit both the state of New Jersey as well as the DMV (Washington D.C., Maryland, Virginia) area.

How this all works for Harbaugh’s offensive staff remains to be seen.

Harbaugh has used a by-committee play-calling approach during his entire tenure at Michigan. Last season, he called plays along with passing game coordinator Pep Hamilton and offensive line coach Ed Warinner.

U-M finished 2018 No. 49 nationally in total offense but threw the ball just 347 times — ranking No. 102 nationally.

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Posted by Tribune News Services

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