With Jim McElwain no longer on the Michigan coaching staff, a decision had to be made over who would coach the receivers for the next month.
And it was decided quickly.
Ben McDaniels, 38, who joined the staff in the 2018 season as an offensive analyst, has been temporarily promoted to Michigan wide receivers coach, Jim Harbaugh told reporters Sunday night.
“Jim McElwain — it looks like he’s going to be the next head coach at Central Michigan,” Harbaugh said on the Peach Bowl teleconference. “And I want to say, I really like Jim a lot and I’m really excited for him. I think that’s a great fit.”
McElwain, after spending the last 10 months as Michigan’s wide receivers coach, will be introduced as Central Michigan’s next head coach during an introductory news conference Monday morning in Mt. Pleasant.
CMU announced the hire late Sunday, just hours after MLive and other media outlets reported the plan to name McElwain, 56, coach.
McDaniels will bring a wealth of knowledge to the job, after spending a portion of two seasons as an offensive analyst for the NFL’s Chicago Bears. Before that, he was wide receivers coach, quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator at Rutgers, with stints with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2013) and Denver Broncos (2009-10). McDaniels was quarterback at Kent State from 2000 to 2001, and notably, is the younger brother of New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels.
Whether this will be a permanent promotion remains to be seen, but McDaniels was chosen over graduate assistant Roy Roundtree, who also joined the staff for the 2018 season after spending the previous year as receivers coach at Indiana State. Together, the two, along with McElwain, helped boost productivity from a young and budding Michigan wide receiver corps.
Sophomore Nico Collins made strides this season, catching 33 passes for a team-high 552 yards and six touchdowns, as did Donovan Peoples-Jones, who hauled in a team-high 39 catches for 541 yards and seven TDs.
Michigan also saw the emergence of freshmen Ronnie Bell and Oliver Martin, a redshirt, who combined to catch 24 passes for 270 yards and 3 TDs.
Factor in the extra allotted practices over the next month, bowl prep can be crucial for development. McDaniels will play a part in that as Michigan prepares to play Florida on Dec. 29 (noon, ESPN) in search of an 11th win.