ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Michigan football has hired former Alabama wide receivers coach Josh Gattis as its new offensive coordinator.
Gattis spent one season in Tuscaloosa as Nick Saban's co-offensive coordinator and wide receivers coach. He previously coached for six years under James Franklin at Vanderbilt and Penn State.
"The offense and passing games under Josh’s direction have achieved at a very high level throughout his coaching career," Jim Harbaugh said. "Josh will provide leadership to our offense while being a great mentor to our student-athletes and an outstanding addition to our coaching staff. Michigan football looks forward to having Josh, Tesa and their children, Jace and Reece, join our university family."
Gattis, 34, is considered a rising offensive mind and a strong recruiter. Bruce Feldman, of The Athletic, reports Gattis is expected to call plays at Michigan.
“It is an honor and a privilege to join the University of Michigan football family under coach Harbaugh, one of the most successful head coaches in all of football," Gattis said. "I am deeply humbled by the opportunity to serve as your Offensive Coordinator. This is the leadership challenge I’ve coveted. The football tradition at the University of Michigan is among the very best in college athletics. My family and I couldn't be more excited to arrive in Ann Arbor."
Gattis' football career
Gattis helped Alabama reach the College Football Playoff National Championship Game and mentored All-American receiver Jerry Jeudy, the 2018 Biletnikoff Award winner, who caught 68 passes for 1,315 yards (19.3 avg.) and 14 touchdowns.
Gattis also helped develop true freshman Jaylen Waddle, who earned first-team All-American honors by Pro Football Focus.
The Crimson Tide had four receivers and a tight end surpass 500 receiving years this season.
Before spending 2018 in Tuscaloosa, Gattis helped Penn State sign four straight top-25 recruiting classes and was named the 2015 Big Ten Recruiter of the Year by Scout.com. He also helped receivers DaeSean Hamilton and Chris Godwin earn All-Big Ten honors.
In 2012-13, Gattis coached wide receivers coach at the University of Vanderbilt, twice coaching Jordan Matthews to All-America honors. Matthews ended his career as the SEC’s leader in receptions and receiving yards while also setting the single-season mark receptions with 107 in 2013.
Gattis coached wide receivers at Western Michigan in 2011, helping Jordan White become an All-American. He led the country with 140 catches for 1,911 yards.
He started his coaching career as an offensive grad assistant at North Carolina in 2010.
Gattis played at Wake Forest University, earning his bachelor’s degree in sociology in 2006. He was an All-ACC safety in 2005 and 2006.
Gattis was a fifth-round pick in the 2007 NFL Draft by the Jacksonville Jaguars. He spent part of the 2007 season with Jacksonville before moving on to play for the Chicago Bears during the 2007 and 2008 seasons.
Michigan's offense has been criticized over the last couple of months due to blowout losses at Ohio State and against Florida in the Peach Bowl. Jim Harbaugh's decision to hire a former wide receivers coach to run the offense could signal a willingness to open up the offense.
The Wolverines lost two defensive coaches to Ohio State earlier in the week, as defensive line coach Greg Mattison and linebackers coach Al Washington joined the Buckeyes.
Harbaugh has led Michigan to three 10-win seasons in four years in Ann Arbor, but hasn't yet gotten over the hump against Ohio State. With starting quarterback Shea Patterson and most of the offense returning, Gattis should have plenty of weapons to improve the unit in 2019.
Alabama, like Michigan, was long known for a run-heavy offense but recently evolved to a more modern approach with quarterbacks Jalen Hurts and Tua Tagovailoa. Harbaugh is likely hoping Gattis can help bring some of that chance to Ann Arbor.
There were reports earlier Thursday that Gattis had accepted a job on Maryland's staff. He and new Maryland head coach Mike Locksley were co-offensive coordinators together at Alabama.