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Jim Harbaugh, Michigan finally release 2017 roster

Jim Harbaugh hired former 49ers executive Tom Gamble, according to a report
Courtesy of USA Today Images

College football teams typically update their roster heading into spring practice. Jim Harbaugh is not a typical coach.

Just three days before his Michigan Wolverines open the 2017 campaign against the Florida Gators, Harbaugh finally unveiled the list of players suiting up in maize and blue this season.

The roster itself is bland, of course. It’s just basic information — numbers, names, class standing, hometown — that we already knew.

But there are notable changes included, as well as some omissions.

First, several players have switched positions. Nate Johnson has flipped from wide receiver to defensive back, for example. And another player, Shelton Johnson, is no longer included on the roster. He was suspended in 2016, but Michigan hadn’t confirmed a departure.

Additionally, the roster does not includes heights or weights. That’s not a significant problem, since those numbers are often embellished anyway. Still, it’s valuable to have team-supplied marks.

Perhaps most importantly, we finally know the jersey numbers assigned. Only a handful of returning players switched numbers, but it was entirely unclear what members of the 2017 recruiting class would be wearing.

The extended wait for a roster is simply an inconvenience for diehard fans ready to study the roster and the media covering the team. It’s annoying that the team protected a list of names like a national secret, but it’s now available to the public and everyone can move on.