PJ Fleck adds Danny Collins, Greg Harbaugh to Gophers coaching staff

Head coach P. J. Fleck of the Minnesota Golden Gophers signals to a referee during the second quarter of a game against the Colorado Buffaloes at Folsom Field on September 18, 2021 in Boulder, Colorado. (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images) (Getty Images)

University of Minnesota football coach PJ Fleck announced on Monday the additions of Danny Collins and Greg Harbaugh to the coaching staff for the 2022 season.

Collins will coach the safeties, replacing Joe Harasymiak, who departed to be the defensive coordinator at Rutgers. Harbaugh will coach the tight ends, after Clay Patterson left to be the passing game coordinator at Colorado with Mike Sanford Jr.

Collins and Harbaugh each have a history with Fleck that goes back to Western Michigan. Collins has been on the Gophers’ coaching staff since 2017 and was most recently a senior defensive analyst. He was part of a staff this past season that helped lead the Gophers to being the No. 3 total defense in the country, the program’s best since 1966. They tied for sixth in nationally in scoring defense at 17.3 points per game, and eighth in rushing defense.

Harbaugh enters his third season with the Gophers after spending 2017 and 2019 in quality control positions under Fleck. He was most recently the receivers coach at Western Michigan the last two seasons.

Harbaugh was also a graduate assistant with Fleck at Western Michigan in 2015 and 2016.


Fleck has hit the NCAA transfer portal hard since the Gophers beat West Virginia in the Guaranteed Rate Bowl. On Monday, Clemson defensive tackle Darnell Jefferies announced he was leaving the Tigers and committed to Minnesota.

Jefferies, a close friend of Gophers defensive tackle Nyles Pinckney, becomes the fifth transfer for Fleck in the Class of 2022. The others are Edina native and offensive lineman Quinn Carroll, Vanderbilt defensive lineman Lorenza Surgers, and defensive backs Beanie Bishop and Rayn Stapp.

Jefferies went to Clemson out of high school, choosing the Tigers over Alabama, Georgia, Ohio State and Notre Dame among others. Coming into the 2021 season, Jefferies had 21 tackles on 169 snaps in 23 career games. He’ll compete for a starting position on the defensive line, with Pinckney and Micah Dew-Treadway out of eligibility.