The Michigan football team finished up their 2023 season last month with a win against Washington in the national title to cap off a perfect 15-0 season. Fans of the Wolverines have been waiting for a season like this for a long time, and they finally were able to pull it off this year.

There were a lot of ups and downs that Michigan went through to get to the national title game, and a lot of their key players that came back this season could've gone to the NFL. They all came back for one common goal: to win a national championship. The Wolverines accomplished that goal, and now, they are hoping to continue that success going forward, and the momentum they have built can help make that happen.

Let's take a look at what this team went through to get to where they are now. It can't be overstated how important it is to the future of this program.

First, head coach Jim Harbaugh started off the season at home for the Wolverines as he faced a self-imposed three-game suspension because of some minor recruiting violations. That wasn't a big deal, however, as Michigan started the season with home games against East Carolina, UNLV and Bowling Green. The Wolverines were fine for those games, but that wasn't the only suspension that Harbaugh would face in the season.

Around the halfway point of the season, news broke that the Michigan football team was being investigated for illegal sign stealing. The culprit ended up being a low-level staffer named Connor Stalions.

Stalions bought tickets for friends and others to go to future opponents games and videotape the sidelines with their cell phones. After the investigation had been going on for a couple of weeks, Stalions resigned.

Jim Harbaugh was able to coach for Michigan for a couple of weeks after the investigation started, but then, with three weeks remaining, he was suspended by the Big Ten for the final three weeks of the regular season, and offensive coordinator Sherrone Moore had to take over head-coaching duties for the most daunting stretch of the Michigan season: @ #10 Penn State, @ Maryland and vs. #2 Ohio State. Also, they suspended him less than 24 hours before the Penn State game while the Michigan team plane was on the way to Happy Valley.

The sign-stealing investigation started as something very bad for the Michigan football team, but it actually gave the Wolverines an extra spark. This team already had all of the motivation in the world to go out and win a national title, and then they started to hear all the outsiders say that the only reason they had won the last two seasons was because they were cheating.

Michigan then took down Penn State and Ohio State without Harbaugh, won their third-straight Big Ten title, beat Alabama in the Rose Bowl and then took down Washington to win the national title. It was a massively important season of football in Ann Arbor.

Now, Michigan football is at the mountaintop of college football, but can they stay there? Their first year after winning the national title could prove to be mighty difficult.

One issue for Michigan is that they lost Jim Harbaugh to the NFL. The rumors have popped up during just about every offseason that Harbaugh was the head coach of the Wolverines, but after winning the national title, he decided that it was finally time to move on and go back to the NFL.

Not only did Harbaugh leave, but a lot of the staff is departing as well. Strength coach Ben Herbert, defensive coordinator Jesse Minter, defensive line coach Mike Elston andspecial teams coordinator Jay Harbaugh will not be back next season. Sherrone Moore is the new head coach for the Wolverines, and he will have his work cut out for him in year one. He lost a lot of talented players from the 2023 squad, and he has a lot of very good coaches to replace.

The good news for the Wolverines is that their defense should be in pretty good shape next year, and that was a major strength of this year's team. However, they are losing their starting quarterback, starting running back and their entire offensive line. The offense ran through those positions, and those guys are all going to be very difficult to replace.

In order for Michigan to keep up in an offseason where they are losing so much talent, they will need to pick up some more in the transfer portal. That's why it's there, and the Wolverines are certainly a team that needs to utilize it. They haven't taken much advantage of it so far, but let's take a look at the transfer that has the most to prove next season for Michigan.

OL Josh Priebe, Northwestern

The Michigan football team had a lot going on during first window of the transfer portal, and because of that, they have only added two transfer players so far. One is linebacker Jaishawn Barham from Maryland, and the other is offensive lineman Josh Priebe from Northwestern. Both will have to prove themselves to their new teammates, but Priebe is the player with more to prove.

Josh Priebe is the transfer with the most to prove because of the fact that he's an offensive lineman. Barham is joining a defense that is going to be loaded next season, and while he will have to prove himself, he won't be under nearly as much pressure. The pressure will be on Priebe, however.

The Wolverines have consistently had one of the best offensive lines in college football for the past three seasons, but they are losing just about the entire unit from last year. The entire OL is going to have a lot to prove next season, but a transfer coming in with a lot of experience is going to have high expectations. That is what Priebe will be next year for Michigan.

If the Michigan offense is going to be successful, they have to continue their dominance at the line of scrimmage. Priebe has a lot to prove, but he is more than capable of being a terrific OL for the Wolverines next season.