Jim Harbaugh on players skipping bowl games: 'It's their decision to make'
There isn’t a team in college football that has been more affected by the NFL Draft than Michigan this bowl season. But Jim Harbaugh understands it’s just part of the game now.
Four Wolverines have decided to skip the team’s Peach Bowl matchup against Florida on Saturday, all of whom had significant roles this fall. Defensive lineman Rashan Gary, linebacker Devin Bush Jr., running back Karan Higdon and offensive lineman Juwann Bushell-Beatty will all miss the bowl game, deciding instead to focus on the NFL Draft.
With so many key players opting to skip Michigan’s bowl game, Harbaugh was asked for his thoughts on players sitting out of the postseason. The fourth-year Wolverines head coach said it’s a decision those players have to make.
“We respect that it’s someone’s right — we respect it’s their decision to make,” Harbaugh said during a Peach Bowl press conference Friday. “We don’t push anyone in the back to go play football.
“I think I’ve grown in terms of even respecting when I don’t agree with what their decision is. It’s just the respect that it’s their decision to make and it’s the decision that they’ve made.”
Players skipping bowl games has become a major trend in college football since the birth of the College Football Playoff. While it’s become commonplace for future NFL stars to avoid the risk of injury, sitting out a major game like the Peach Bowl still seems a bit unique.
Michigan finished the year ranked No. 7 in the College Football Playoff rankings after a 10-2 year. The Wolverines will take on Florida for the third time in four seasons.
Michigan is 4-0 all-time against the Gators.