Mike Elston, Michigan’s defensive line coach the past two seasons, is joining Jim Harbaugh’s staff with the Los Angeles Chargers, a team source confirmed. NFL Network first reported the news.
Elston’s departure creates another opening for new Wolverines coach Sherrone Moore, whose staff has been hit by a wave of departures. Moore has been searching for a defensive coordinator to replace Jesse Minter, who posted a farewell message Tuesday on social media and is expected to join Harbaugh in L.A. Harbaugh also hired strength coach Ben Herbert, while special teams coordinator Jay Harbaugh is leaving to join former Michigan defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald with the Seattle Seahawks, according to multiple reports.
Nothing but love to everyone at Michigan, especially the players. We had a great journey together. pic.twitter.com/fZMAWEJIHn
— Jesse Minter (@Coach_Minter) February 6, 2024
Elston’s departure is significant for Michigan, as the Wolverines defensive line was among the best in college football during his tenure. Elston, who joined Michigan after 12 years at Notre Dame, helped Kris Jenkins grow into a projected early-round draft pick and was instrumental in the development of Mason Graham and Kenneth Grant, rising juniors who will be in high demand if they elect to explore their transfer options.
Continuity was a selling point for Moore, but he’s faced stiff competition to keep the rest of Michigan’s staff together. Defensive backs coach Steve Clinkscale is also a candidate to join Harbaugh with the Chargers, though no decision has been made. Several members of Michigan’s support staff are expected to depart as well.
Moore has officially retained two members of Harbaugh’s staff: Kirk Campbell, who moved into the role of offensive coordinator, and Grant Newsome, who moved from tight ends coach to offensive line coach. Moore also promoted analyst J.B. Brown to special teams coordinator to replace Jay Harbaugh and promoted Justin Tress to director of strength and conditioning.
Hiring a defensive coordinator remains one of Moore’s most pressing tasks. Elston and Clinkscale were regarded as internal options, and Moore has also looked to the NFL ranks for coaches with experience in the Baltimore Ravens scheme.
(Photo: Jaime Crawford / Getty Images)