Michigan football players shoot down transfer rumors, all-in for U-M

ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Mostly perpetuated by rival fans who insist ‘the hammer is gonna drop’ on Michigan football ‘any day now,’ there have been persistent rumors that the Wolverines will lose a bulk of their star players to the transfer portal this offseason.

That does make sense. It’s been the law of the land this year, especially with teams with coaching changes. Alabama lost a ton of star players, as did Washington. Ohio State started to before adding a lot in the aftermath. However, Michigan lost just one major contributor with Keon Sabb choosing to play in Tuscaloosa over Ann Arbor next year. But otherwise, that’s been it. The spring portal window awaits, however, and those rival fans continue to be insistent that Michigan will lose the heart and soul of its team in 2024.

But those players themselves? They vehemently deny that that will be the case, insisting that they’re all about the team and the bonds they’ve built.

“We definitely talk about it. But, I want to be here and everybody wants to be here and everybody wants to be with each other,” junior defensive tackle Kenneth Grant said. “So I mean, that kind of outweighs everything. Just the type of brotherhood you just have for each other, it’s bigger than just anything. So just try to stick together as best as you can.”

Grant, fellow defensive tackle Mason Graham, tight end Colston Loveland, and cornerback Will Johnson are often the subject of these rumors, and while Johnson can see why some might make that decision — especially in the new world of name, image, and likeness — the legacy defensive back is happy where he’s at.

And he feels like the rest of the team is, too.

“I think it’s all about your situation that you’re in at your school, whatever the money is for you or your team, wherever,” Johnson said. “There’s a lot that goes into it. So I think it all depends on the situation. But I mean, I’m happy where I’m at, I’m happy with what they’ve been doing for us. So I think it’s been great here.”

Of course, with the coaching turnover as well as player turnover, that means that Michigan could have an uphill battle this upcoming season.

Last year, it was clear that the Wolverines would be a national title contender given how many players were returning and with only two assistant coaches moving on. But this offseason has been drastically different, which could cause some to second-guess their decisions to stay — especially on offense.

The maize and blue lost star players Blake Corum and J.J. McCarthy, as well as the entire starting offensive line. That means a lot of retooling. However, Colston Loveland doesn’t feel like that creates as many problems for he or his teammates in terms of seeing the potential.

“I think some people might think it’s tough, but it’s like — these are all my guys. And I know they got my full support, I got their full support,” Loveland said. “So I’m just trusting in — I know everyone’s gonna do what they need to do. And those quarterbacks know they got to step up and they know that and they’re gonna, they will do that.

“And so everyone’s everyone’s in a great mind right now. And yeah, no one’s worried about — I don’t think anyone’s worried about anything right now. We’re just taking it day by day just trying to get better.”

OK, speculation is speculation, but it’s a brave new world in college football. Teams tamper and the NCAA doesn’t seem interested in doing anything about it.

Other schools will do what they can to work to lure players away, even if they’re not in the transfer portal. There are rumors that money plays a factor, and that can certainly sway some, especially if they’re not making a lot of NIL money at their current school.

Still, these Wolverines are satisfied in Ann Arbor and it doesn’t appear they can be lured away.

“Stuff out there is going to be stuff out there — can’t really focus on that stuff,” Grant said. “You’ve gotta be present in the moment and just focus on the moment.”

“It’s easy to get tempted for sure,” Johnson said. “Especially when you hear all the numbers and things like that. But I mean, we’re so close, we got a group of guys that are so talented, it’s something that’s hard to pass up, too. So we’re really just about staying together, keeping it together and getting better together. So that’s just what our mindset is. And that’s where we are standing.”


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