Tyrone Wheatley

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Report: Michigan RB coach Tyrone Wheatley expected to leave for NFL’s Jaguars

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Former Michigan running back and current running backs coach Tyrone Wheatley could be heading back to the NFL. According to a report from The Sporting News, Wheatley is expected to be joining the coaching staff of the Jacksonville Jaguars under new head coach and former head coach of Syracuse Doug Marrone.

Wheatley previously worked with Marrone at Syracuse and with the Buffalo Bills before returning to his alma mater to join the coaching staff under Jim Harbaugh. Since his return to Michigan, Wheatley has been praised as a talented recruiter, perhaps one of the best in the country. His departure for the NFL, however, is not a finalized deal at this time, although it has been reported the Jaguars have shown interest.

Wheatley’s son, Tyrone Wheatley Jr., currently plays tight end for the Wolverines.

Michigan’s Tyrone Wheatley describes his ideal running back

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Former Michigan running back Tyrone Wheatly is back in Ann Arbor this season. The former Wolverine is a running backs coach for Jim Harbaugh, and he is getting to work on figuring out how to get the most out of the running game in 2015 as the Wolverines have opened spring practices. As he gets acclimated to his new position on the staff, he is taking the spring to evaluate what he has to work with before making any hard decisions with Harbaugh.

Michigan has a good stable of running backs, which adds USC transfer Ty Isaac and welcomes back Derrick Green from a collarbone injury this season. With some talented options to work with, Wheatley says he is unsure just how the ball will be distributed this fall.

“You would like to say you want one back, but right now you really can’t tell,” Wheatley said in an interview published by Michigan’s athletics website. “We don’t know who’s going to emerge; we don’t know what’s going to emerge. You want great competition and every one to rise to the top. You want the decision to be the hardest decision to ever make.”

The decision may be a difficult one by the end of the spring, but Wheatley did expand on the characteristics he is hoping to see from his most ideal running back.

“A smart guy that handles not only the ball but can handle the game. Meaning that the game never gets too big, and that he can basically be a coach on the field, make corrections, see the game and make the game slow down for himself, understand the ebb and flow, situations,” Wheatley explained. “Sometimes a three-yard run is the best one you can have in a game — not always looking to hit the home run. And pass protection — just a real well-rounded back that is going to play within his talent level and take care and manage the game.”

Does Michigan have a running back that meets that criteria? It would seem so.

In a year that could be huge for running backs, Michigan has two players potentially worthy of national recognition. Green is a former five-star recruit. His season was brought to a premature end when he broke his collarbone in a game against Rutgers. He has returned to practice this spring and has put in some good early work according to Wheatley. Isaac is also a former five-star recruit who sat out last season due to NCAA transfer rules. Drake Johnson is recovering from knee surgery but is using his time on the sideline to observe and learn. And do not forget about De’Veon Smith, last season’s leading rusher. He could still fill a role in the running game as well.

Wheatley says there is pressure to get the running backs going this spring, but there is no pressure now to figure out which running back, if any, will be the one that carries the bulk of the action in the fall. He has plenty to evaluate before getting to that point.

All in the Michigan family: Tyrone Wheatley Jr. follows dad to Ann Arbor

Tyrone Wheatley Jr
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Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh was tasked with bringing the Michigan family back together when he was hired. Today he seems to be doing that somewhat literally.

Tyrone Wheatley Jr., a four-star tight end recruit out of Buffalo, has decided to join the Wolverines over a surging UCLA program. Wheatley Jr. is the son of former Michigan running back Tyrone Wheatley, who has recently been added to the Michigan coaching staff as a running backs coach. The younger Wheatley is the top-rated recruit in New York according to Rivals, and the No. 13 running back in the Class of 2015.

Wheatley Jr. is not the only legacy recruit in Harbaugh’s first recruiting class at Michigan. Offensive lineman Jon Runyan Jr. out of Philadelphia’s St. Joseph’s Prep has also been included in this year’s haul. Runyan Jr. is the son of former Pro Bowl offensive lineman and Wolverine standout Jon Runyan. Michigan has missed on a few big-time recruits today, but Harbaugh is starting to generate some momentum with the recruiting process. As it stands right now, Michigan has five four-star recruits lined up in the Class of 2015 and is awaiting just two more expected letters of intent.

No word on whether Harbaugh will be awaiting a possible future commitment from any player named Tom Brady Jr.

Photo credit: Rivals