Jim Harbaugh “leaning toward” not playing a healthy Tarik Black in Outback Bowl


The gap between the end of the regular season and the bowl games for those college football teams participating in the postseason allows for some of the wounded to heal up and be able to give it a go.

Michigan is no different. They learned their bowl fate on Sunday and now have close to a month to prepare and rest up. The Wolverines will almost certainly have quarterback Brandon Peters back from injury, after he could not dress in the season finale against Ohio State. Now it appears that one of their long-lost play-makers could be returning from injury as well.

Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh provided a health update on injured freshman wide receiver Tarik Black and his chances to play in the team’s bowl game.

“There’s a possibility he could probably play,” Harbaugh said on the Outback Bowl teleconference. “A good possibility he could play in the bowl game.”

Black suffered a broken foot earlier this season in a game against Air Force and eventually went under the knife for surgery and did not play again the rest of the season. At the time, the former 4-star wideout from Connecticut was leading the Wolverines in both catches and yards.

Here’s the kicker. If Black were not not play in the Outback Bowl on January 1 against South Carolina, he would be in line to receive a medical redshirt for this season and have four more years of eligibility remaining. Having already played in three games, participating in a fourth would exhaust that option.

“He’s already played in four games this year, and right now the rule is that if he’s only played in four he can get this year back as a medical redshirt,” Harbaugh said. “As I sit here now, I would probably say Tarik wouldn’t play. We’ll get the year back.”

It would appear that Harbaugh is leaning towards not playing one of his prized freshman prospects for the bowl game, given a minor formality with the NCAA rules on redshirts. Harbaugh is among many coaches in college football, part of the American Football Coaches Association, to propose a rule change to the NCAA that allows freshman to play in four games without burning a redshirt as opposed to the three-game rule currently put in place.

“I think the bowl game should be treated as a new year,” Harbaugh said. “It should be treated as the next year. If they count that as the fourth game they play in, or the third or the second or the first, and it still does not burn their redshirt year, I think that would be a good thing for the players.

“I think it would be a good thing for all concerned.”