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Michigan will be hiring Maryland’s inside linebackers coach and special teams coordinator George Helow as safeties coach, according to a report from ESPN’s Adam Rittenberg.

Helow spent just one year with the Terrapins. In the previous four years, he worked at Colorado State, first as a graduate assistant and then as a safeties coach. He also interned for Nick Saban at Alabama and served as a graduate assistant at Florida State in 2013 and Georgia in 2014-15.

In 2020, Bob Shoop was the Wolverines’ safeties coach but was not with the team for the season for undisclosed reasons. The Detroit News reported that he was not likely to be retained, a development that is all but certain now that Helow is in the fold.

With Helow and defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald, whose hire was made official Sunday, it is clear that Michigan is going younger with its defensive staff. Both Macdonald and Helow primarily have experience coaching and recruiting in the South. In addition, Helow has spent one season in the Big Ten but had little opportunity for in-person recruiting as the COVID-related dead period was implemented just two months after he was hired.

In 2021, Helow will oversee one of the Wolverines’ most experienced units. Senior safety Brad Hawkins recently announced he would be back for a fifth year, joining sophomore safety Daxton Hill. Freshman safety Makari Paige and senior Hunter Reynolds were the primary backups at the position in 2020; Paige will presumably be back while Reynolds’s future is unclear.

Though the secondary as a whole was inconsistent in 2020, particularly struggling at the beginning of the season, the experience at the position gives it potential for improvement in 2021.

 

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