Well that didn't take long.
Alabama co-offensive coordinator and receivers coach Josh Gattis needed only one season under coach Nick Saban before he was able to position himself for the job of offensive coordinator and play-caller. And he didn't have to take a step down in order to do it. On Thursday, Michigan announced that Gattis would join the previously offensive coordinator-less staff under coach Jim Harbaugh.
Gattis' decision to leave, while not altogether unexpected, has to sting for Saban. Because it was only an offseason ago when Saban completely overhauled his coaching staff, hiring several new assistants and promoting others. It was a youth movement with the likes of the 34-year-old Gattis brought on as a way of creating a renewed energy on the recruiting trail in particular. With so many young faces, the thought was that a few might stay around and create some stability on a staff that had seen tremendous turnover in recent years.
Instead, Michigan scooped up Gattis in the blink of an eye as more instability continues to plague Alabama's assistant coaching ranks.
Here's a look at what it means for both programs.
What it means for Michigan: The Wolverines lost two very good recruiters when defensive line coach Greg Mattison and linebackers coach Al Washington both left for Ohio State. Adding Gattis to the staff will go a long way in recruiting as they are adding back in a young, energetic and talented recruiter. Gattis had a hand in landing five-star receiver Justin Shorter at Penn State as well as ESPN 300 defensive lineman Antonio Alfano among others at Alabama.
As offensive coordinator, Gattis has an opportunity to work with an offense that returns all but two starters in running back Karon Higdon and lineman Juwann Bushell-Beatty. The knock on Michigan last season was that the offense wasn't utilizing its personnel to its fullest and that it could benefit from play-calling to help get its players in space and create more opportunities for big plays.
Gattis is coming from his co-offensive coordinator post at Alabama where the Tide ranked No. 6 in offensive yards per game, No. 2 in yards per play and sixth in passing yards per game. Michigan was ranked 49th in yards per game, 42nd in yards per play and 79th in pass yards per game.
It seems likely Gattis could have the biggest impact in the passing game, especially because his specialty has been working with wide receivers. He will have the opportunity to work with Donovan Peoples-Jones, Nico Collins and Tarik Black at Michigan as well as ESPN 300 wide receiver Cornelius Johnson and four-star receivers Mike Sainristil and Giles Jackson in the 2019 class.
What it means for Alabama: Even though Gattis wasn't technically responsible for calling plays as the co-offensive coordinator and receivers coach, that doesn't mean he won't be missed now that he's moved on to Michigan. The impact he made this season on the field and in recruiting was undeniable under Saban.
You saw perhaps most obviously in the way the receiver corps transformed into the deepest unit under Saban's tenure at Alabama. Some of that can be attributed to the emergence of quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, of course. And, yes, some of it can be traced to offensive coordinator Mike Locksley as well. But give Gattis his due.
Before, stars like Julio Jones, Amari Cooper and Calvin Ridley dominated the stat sheet, leaving scraps for the No. 2 and 3 targets. This season it was different. Not only did Jerry Jeudy get his as the No. 1 option, catching 68 passes for 1,315 yards and 14 touchdowns on his way to winning the Biletnikoff Award, but so did fellow receivers Jaylen Waddle, Henry Ruggs III and DeVonta Smith, who each caught at least 40 passes and six touchdowns.
It's safe to say, though, that Gattis became a name in the coaching ranks through his ability to recruit. And he was a major reason why Alabama was able to secure the No. 1-ranked class on the early signing day, having played a role in the recruitment of ESPN 300 prospects like Justin Eboigbe and Antonio Alfano.
Replacing Gattis with someone as proven on the recruiting trail and as adept at handling a crowded group of receivers won't be easy. With no official offensive coordinator, that only complicates matters further for Saban.