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Harbaugh: Jalen Mayfield's waiver to return has been granted

Angelique S. Chengelis
The Detroit News

Michigan starting right tackle Jalen Mayfield has been cleared by the NCAA to return to the team.

Mayfield had opted out shortly after the Big Ten announced Aug. 11 that fall sports, including football, was postponed, and signed with an agent. But after the Big Ten recently decided to play an eight-game schedule with a plus-one cross-over game beginning Oct. 24, Mayfield decided to return, an enormous boost to the offensive line that lost four starters from last year.

Jalen Mayfield

“Jalen Mayfield did submit a waiver to be able to come back and play and that waiver has been granted,” Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh said Monday night on the “Inside Michigan Football” radio show. “There’s a few stipulations he has to do, but that waiver has been granted that he can return.”

Receiver Nico Collins and cornerback Ambry Thomas also opted out.  Jon Jansen, who hosts the show, asked their status.

“At this point, Jalen is the only one who has submitted that waiver to opt back in,” Harbaugh said.

Offensive line coach Ed Warinner, also a guest, said Mayfield has been back on campus taking classes.

“He’ll be back in action this week helping at practice and going through training," Warinner said.

Harbaugh said the team is back to 20-hour-a-week practices and will begin practice in pads Wednesday or Thursday, depending on the availability of rapid COVID-19 testing. Michigan opens the season at Minnesota on Oct. 24.

The Wolverines will have a first-time starter at quarterback as Joe Milton and Cade McNamara compete for the job.

“Very talented,” Harbaugh said of the quarterbacks. “Both guys are really competitive. They want to play and smart, too. We’re very excited. We’ve been watching in practice every day. Really love what we’re seeing.”

The quarterbacks will be working behind an offensive line with four new starters, although Ryan Hayes and Andrew Stueber have made starts. Harbaugh and Warinner said Andrew Vastardis is the leader at center, with Hayes at left tackle, Stueber, who suffered a season-ending knee injury in camp last year, at right guard, and Harbaugh praised Chuck Filiaga, who would be at left guard. Mayfield, a first-time starter last season, returns to play right tackle.

Harbaugh said running back Zach Charbonnet, an early enrollee freshman last year who had a knee procedure shortly after his arrival and dealt with injuries last season, is “100 percent.” Chris Evans, back after a one-year suspension by the university, has provided leadership, he said, and he mentioned Hassan Haskins’ talent and that freshman Blake Corum “looks extremely good.” He also praised Lucas Andrighetto.

“It’s a loaded room and really doing well,” Harbaugh said. “I think it’s going to be a real strength for us.”

achengelis@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @chengelis