Jim Harbaugh not afraid to play freshmen, says playing time will be 'earned'

Michigan football head coach Jim Harbaugh discusses the possibility of playing true freshmen during the Big Ten Media Days in Chicago.

Video by Josh Newkirk, story by Josh Henschke

CHICAGO -- Michigan had a solid haul in the 2016 recruiting cycle. Finishing with a top-five class on the Scout rankings, Wolverines head coach Jim Harbaugh will have plenty of talent to utilize in the future.

Will that talent be tapped into as soon as they step on campus? Harbaugh dished on that possibility during his media session at the Big Ten Media Days.

"We have some very good freshmen we believe have the ability and will have the license to play," Harbaugh said. "Everything thereby based on a meritocracy. That's one of my favorite things, my personal favorite things about our program, is that you'll be known by your effort and your talent. By your effort and your talent you will be known. So the best players will be the starters and then the backup roles will be earned.

"The contributing roles will be earned, the specialty roles will be earned, scout team roles will be earned."

So, it's just that simple? The freshmen just have to show up and compete. The coaching staff haven't been afraid to play true freshman before, as we saw Karan Higdon, Grant Newsome and Tyree Kinnel all burn redshirts to earn playing time last season.

According to Harbaugh, the same rules apply to this season.

"It's as simple as that," Harbaugh said. "There is no games or tricks or politics or what class are you in, what year are you, are you on scholarship, are you not on scholarship. It's based upon a meritocracy, the way it should be. Did I make that word up, too, by the way? Is meritocracy a real word or did I make it up? I thought I made it up.

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