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The defensive coordinator who wrote Michigan’s dramatic turnaround in 2021 is on his way back to the NFL.
The Baltimore Ravens have targeted Michigan defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald, a former Ravens assistant, to be John Harbaugh’s next defensive coordinator, sources told ESPN.
An agreement is expected to be finalized in the coming days, according to sources. Macdonald has been replaced on weather recruitment by a trained assistant coach, Dylan Roney, in preparation for his departure.
The Detroit Free Press first reported that the Ravens were targeting Macdonald.
This comes after Macdonald stabilized a defense that set a one-year turnaround for Jim Harbaugh in Michigan as the Wolverines went from 2-4 in 2020 to the College Football Playoffs and a 12-2 record last season.
Michigan’s scoring defense under Macdonald improved from No. 95 in 2020 by 34.5 points per game. match to No. 8 with 17.4 PPG. Michigan went on to beat Ohio State for the first time since 2011 and win the Big Ten for the first time since 2004.
Macdonald’s hiring in Michigan proved to be one of the most influential in all of college football last season. His plans helped eliminate Michigan’s propensity under former defensive coordinator Don Brown to give up big games. Under Macdonald, Wolverines produced 100 fewer yards per game in 2021, averaging 330.8 after giving up 434.3 the previous season.
Macdonald also helped launch the Heisman candidacy of defensive end Aidan Hutchinson, who was the finalist for the award after finishing with 14 sacks and two forced fumbles.
Macdonald, 34, would become the youngest defensive coordinator in the Ravens’ 26-year history. Before traveling to Michigan last year, Macdonald spent seven years in Baltimore (2014-20), after joining the Ravens in 2014 as an intern. He was Baltimore’s inline linebackers coach for three seasons (2018-20) and was considered the heir of the defensive coordinator there before traveling to Michigan.
The Ravens fired Don “Wink” Martindale on Friday after the parties were unable to agree on a contract extension until 2023, a source said. Under Martindale, the Baltimore defense was ranked in the top 10 for three of four seasons.
Macdonald wanted to take over a Ravens defense that finished as No. 25 in the NFL last season. It was Baltimore’s worst defensive position since reaching No. 25 in 1997.
In 2018, Macdonald interviewed for Raven’s defensive coordinator position, which eventually went to Martindale. Now, four years later, it looks like Macdonald is getting his chance to step into that role.