New defensive coordinator target emerging for Michigan football

Michigan football still needs a defensive coordinator and there is a new name to know on that front according to reports.
Jan 7, 2024; Inglewood, California, USA; Kansas City Chiefs defensive line coach Joe Cullen gestures
Jan 7, 2024; Inglewood, California, USA; Kansas City Chiefs defensive line coach Joe Cullen gestures / Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

Michigan football head coach Sherrone Moore has been busy putting together a coaching staff. This week, he named his offensive coordinator, Kirk Campbell, as well as hiring a new special teams coach, and a new tight ends coach.

However, there are still some big hires to make. First things first, it would be great if Michigan football could retain Steve Clinkscale and Mike Elston. Both had vital roles on the staff the past couple of years and it would be a blow to see either leave.

Yet, there hasn't been any official word on either, so for now, we wait. But a new name is emerging in terms of the defensive coordinator search and that name, according to Sam Webb of The Michigan Insider is Joe Cullen of the Kansas City Chiefs.

A new DC candidate for Michigan football

Webb reports that there has been contact between Moore and Cullen and that there is "mutual interest." Cullen is the defensive line coach for the Chiefs but does have coordinator experience in the NFL dating back to the 2021 season with the Jacksonville Jaguars. That was the season that Urban Meyer was the head coach, so it didn't end well.

But Cullen wound up in Kansas City. He also has roots in college football and before taking over the coordinator duties in Jacksonville, he was a member of the Ravens coaching staff for five seasons (2016-2020). He worked with Mike Macdonald and Jesse Minter and should be familiar with the defensive scheme the Wolverines have been running.

Moore has made it a point that he wants to keep the same defensive system in place and hiring Cullen should allow Michigan football to do that. Cullen is also known as a stellar defensive line coach if Elston were to leave but my preference would be for both to be on the coaching staff.

Cullen was previously the defensive coordinator for Indiana way back in 2004. He's also had stints with the Lions, Browns, and Bucs, in addition to the Jaguars and Chiefs. With the Super Bowl next week, you wonder if the hire would have to wait until after that which isn't ideal.

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However, the Wolverines haven't suffered any major transfer portal departures yet, although the spring window is still there and Michigan football players still have about two weeks to enter their name if they decide to leave the program.