Jesse Minter, Wolverine

Jesse Minter, Wolverine

February 8, 2022
Jesse Minter (image via 247 Sports)

Michigan has a new defensive coordinator in the form of Jesse Minter. Minter comes to the Wolverines after spending one year at Vanderbilt as the Commodores’ defensive coordinator.

Minter is the son of former Cincinnati head coach Rick Minter, and he played wide receiver at Mount Saint Joseph in Ohio. He then spent time at Notre Dame and Cincinnati as a low-tier assistant before becoming a linebackers coach and then defensive coordinator at Indiana State (coincidentally, where several former Wolverines now coach, including head man Curt Mallory). Minter then moved on to become Georgia State’s defensive coordinator in 2013 and was a Broyles Award nominee as one of the top assistants in the country.

Minter was hired in 2017 to be an assistant for the Baltimore Ravens, coaching defensive backs through 2020. After just one season as the primary defensive backs coach in 2020, he was hired away by Vandy to be their defensive coordinator.

Hit the jump for more.

Here’s how Minter’s defenses have fared as a defensive coordinator:

  • Georgia State in 2013: #107 total defense, #110 scoring defense
  • Georgia State in 2014: #119 total defense, #128 scoring defense
  • Georgia State in 2015: #74 total defense, #78 scoring defense,
  • Georgia State in 2016: #46 total defense, #54 scoring defense
  • Vanderbilt in 2021: #118 total defense, #119 scoring defense

I know some people think this is a home run hire for Michigan because it likely keeps a similar defensive structure and some similar terminology, since both Minter and departed defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald are former Ravens coaches. While I do think continuity is important, I have to say this is perhaps Michigan’s most underwhelming coordinator hire under Jim Harbaugh. Harbaugh’s former plan was to take well respected coordinators like D.J. Durkin and Don Brown to coach his defenses, along with a guy who was on the cusp of being an NFL defensive coordinator in Macdonald. This time he’s taking a guy with lots of experience, but with very little in the way of an outstanding track record.

I trust Jim Harbaugh that he sees something in Minter. After all, he’s done a good job of identifying coordinators in the past. But on the face of it, it’s not all that exciting of a development. The huge caveat is that Minter has not been working with cream-of-the-crop talent at Indiana State, Georgia State, and Vanderbilt, so they’ve been overmatched in the vast majority of games; the flip side is that no other program with access to talent decided to entrust their defense to Minter.

Minter is apparently a plus recruiter who is ensconced in the college recruiting game. He’s been involved with recruiting all except for his four-year detour with the Ravens. That means he should be a step up from Macdonald in that area, since Macdonald seemed to have an eye on the NFL, where he wouldn’t have to recruit.

As for how Minter fits into the coaching staff, it’s a bit of an odd fit. Mike Elston is the defensive line coach, and Steve Clinkscale seems locked in as the cornerbacks coach. Those two seem pretty solid. After that there’s a bit of an odd mix with Minter (who has experience with LB, CB, S), George Helow (the LB coach who can also coach S), and defensive newcomer Jay Harbaugh. Clinkscale is contractually promised a co-defensive coordinator role, but it’s an awkward fit if you have both your co-coordinators as defensive backs guys. So they’re going to “co-coordinate” with a focus on the back end of the defense, while the front end doesn’t get much attention?

I think it can work, because the staff will obviously work together, especially since Elston is a well respected coach with a good track record. But it’s just not the norm. As for where Jay Harbaugh fits into the equation, it seems like he will remain the special teams coordinator, and I think an easy way to ease him into coaching defense is to put him in charge of the nickel position (which Daxton Hill played in 2021). That way he’s coaching a small number of players, working with multiple coaches (S/CB, perhaps LB) in drills to expand his knowledge, and not too overburdened to handle his special teams coaching duties.

In Harbaugh I trust, but it will be interesting to see how things play out.

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