While the overall numbers didn’t hold — especially considering the firestorm in Boulder with Colorado hiring Deion Sanders — Michigan football had the best early returns in the transfer portal.
The first domino to fall was that of former Nebraska linebacker Ernest Hausmann, entering his second year in college football, but thought to be the best linebacker available in the transfer portal. He joins a group with no attrition, with Junior Colson, Michael Barrett, Jimmy Rolder, Kalel Mullings, and even Nikhai Hill-Green returning.
As far as how he got to Michigan, Hausmann told Jon Jansen on the In The Trenches podcast that with Scott Frost being fired and Mickey Joseph being let go for Matt Rhule, it appeared to be the perfect time for a change of scenery.
“Ultimately, it came down to the decision of I want to go to a place where I could maximize my potential,” Hausmann said. “So when the coaching change happened, occurred the first time and obviously, we’re in the season. So, my focus never faltered from what my mission was, that’s be 100% focused on (playing for) my team and the task at hand. But when the season ended, the season came to be, I had a chance to evaluate my situation, where I was at, and the ultimate decision of I want to go a place that could maximize my potential. I had to analyze all the factors that came into play, and then ultimately led me the decision to enter the transfer portal.”
But what sold him on Michigan football? Was it Jim Harbaugh? The two-straight Big Ten Championships or College Football Playoff appearances? Jesse Minter’s defense?
Hausmann says that above all he was most impressed with the Wolverines’ secret weapon: strength and conditioning coach Ben Herbert. But he also said he’s ecstatic about the added bonus of getting to work with Chris Partridge, who was hired back into the program last month.
“So in my first meeting I had with Coach Herbert, when I came down here to visit, I just immediately — I just connected with him, and just the way that he conducted his business,” Hausmann said. “And it was just a different level that I’ve ever seen from someone else. And I immediately knew that this was someone I wanted to be by my side and to work with continuing throughout my career, because I know the importance of strength and conditioning (and how that goes) into football, and how that translates to the field. And I knew right away that this was something I wanted on my side, and in my corner. And to be able to work with him and the guys on that field has been phenomenal with winter conditioning, and strength training.
“And then, so going into going into spring, now with the coaching staff, Coach Partridge — he’s been great to work with. I was getting recruited by him when he was at Ole Miss, as a defensive coordinator in the portal as well as I was looking. I was able to talk to him through the portal, and then now be able to reunite with him has been awesome. And then just be able to learn from him and all the things that he has offer, it’s gonna be fun time.”
For Hausmann, it’s going to be different walking down the Lloyd Carr Tunnel wearing a home uniform, considering he was a visitor in late-season a year ago. He already has fond memories, despite the loss, and he’s excited to experience The Big House with 110,000-plus fans rooting for him.
“Yeah, it’s gonna be a surreal moment honestly, the first time walking down there,” Hausmann “It’s gonna be a lot of flashbacks. Looking back to it, I can remember exactly the path I took walking down that tunnel. (Doing it wearing) the maize and blue, it’s gonna be just an awesome moment. Can’t wait!”