Brandon Graham's 'Biggest Issue' With Jim Harbaugh At Michigan

The former All-American isn't alone.

Will Burchfield
July 02, 2020 - 1:32 pm
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Former Michigan All-American Brandon Graham isn't one to complain about Jim Harbaugh. He knows things could be much worse. The last two seasons of Graham's career were the first two of the Rich Rodriguez era, during which time the Wolverines went 8-16.

So Harbaugh's 47-18 record through five seasons sounds pretty good. 

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That said, Graham knows the bar can be pushed higher. The Wolverines went 11-2 and played in the Rose Bowl his first season. Their quarterback that year was future second-round draft pick Chad Henne. Harbaugh hasn't been able to recruit or develop the same kind of talent under center. 

"I just feel like we need a quarterback. That’s been our biggest Achilles right there," Graham told the Jamie and Stoney Show. "A quarterback that can lead them like a Trevor Lawrence, someone like that. We’ve been having the defense, we’ve been doing all we could, but we can’t move the ball with all the receivers we have. We got running backs now, the (offensive) line has been playing a lot better.

"I really do like Harbaugh, I just feel like he needs a quarterback. I don’t know what’s going on with that part. That’s my biggest issue." 

Graham isn't alone. Larry Foote, another former All-American linebacker for the Wolverines, said the same thing last month. It's the general consensus regarding Harbaugh's tenure thus far. And the picture might not change until five-star recruit J.J. McCarthy arrives in 2021. 

"Where the program was before he got there, I call it a success," said Foote. "But you watch Ohio State and every NFL Draft, you tell me how we’re going to beat Ohio State without a quarterback. When he gets his hands on a true stud quarterback, I think we’re going to dethrone those guys."

Graham also talked about Rodriguez and how his quiet personality held him back at Michigan. 

"When he messed with you, you could really talk to him. I was one of those guys that could talk to him because he was kind of antisocial, I’ve seen certain things that he did," said Graham. "But for me, knowing Rich and knowing how cool he really is, I really do believe that he just had a bad little time at Michigan. It was a little too big for him at the time.

"He was a good coach though, for me. He helped me stay fit and I met (former strength and conditioning coach) Mike Barwis, who I still work out with to this day. Thankful to be able to have him, too." 

Former Michigan Star Knows How Harbaugh Can 'Dethrone' Ohio State

Now entering his 11th year in the NFL, Graham is looking forward to welcoming Darius Slay to the Eagles' defense. 

"Me and Big Play been working out since last year," he said. "That was the first year I really got to know him and we were always talking about, 'Man, the Eagles could trade for you. I'm telling you, they want you.' Next thing you know, that stuff came out. Man, I was so happy. ... I really do believe it’s going to be a good time for him, a fresh start. I’m thankful y’all gave us some of your treasure."