Michigan Football: Quarterback Position Vital to Rebuild at Michigan


The University of Michigan has had a number of rock-solid teams over the course of their storied history. These teams all had one thing in common, a capable quarterback to lead them to victory.

Finding a quarterback who can lead the team back to prominence is a dilemma the Wolverines have had problems with. Former Michigan football quarterbacks Tom Brady, Brian Griese, and even Jim Harbaugh are night and day compared to recent quarterbacks Tate Forcier, Denard Robinson, and Devin Gardner. For Michigan to compete on a national scale, finding a quarterback is a must.

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Since Lloyd Carr stepped down after the 2007 season, the program has struggled to say the least. The combined record of Rich Rodriguez and Brady Hoke (the two coaches since Carr’s resignation) is 46-42. Under Carr, the Wolverines compiled a 122-40 record. The past seven years Michigan has not looked much like the Michigan we’re used to, and one of the main reasons is the putrid play at quarterback.

Last season, starting quarterback Devin Gardner finished with just 10 touchdown passes compared to 15 interceptions. He also averaged just under 7 yards per pass attempt. Those are numbers that must improve if the Wolverines look to once again become relevant in the college football world. One thing we do know is quarterbacks don’t just grow on trees; they must be recruited and developed. Who better to develop a young quarterback than Jim Harbaugh?

Nov 29, 2014; Columbus, OH, USA; Former Michigan quarterback Devin Gardner (98) was more a runner than the true quarterback. Mandatory Credit: Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports

Harbaugh played quarterback for the Wolverines under legendary coach Bo Schembechler in the 1980’s. He went on to have an NFL career that spanned over a decade, and had successful coaching stints in both the college and NFL ranks.

His ability to lure recruits and win is unquestioned. He did it at Stanford, even before his 3 NFC championship games in a four year run with the San Francisco 49ers. He offers recruits exactly what they want, a coach who brings the best out of his players while preparing them for the next level.

Michigan’s 2015 recruiting class consisted of 14 members. Alex Malzone and Zach Gentry, two talented passers, headlined this year’s class. Both were rated as four-star prospects according to 247sports.com. Gentry, (a signee Harbaugh convinced to flip from his commitment to Texas) is a 6-foot-7, 230 pound physical specimen from Albuquerque, New Mexico. He is a player who has all the tools to be the future quarterback at Michigan. Malzone is a 6-foot-1, 200 pound gunslinger that was one of the top rated high school players in the state of Michigan. He enrolled early, which gave him a jump on getting acclimated. Junior Shane Morris and redshirt freshman Wilton Speight are returning options.

The wildcard of the bunch is graduate transfer Jake Rudock. Rudock was a two-year starter at Iowa and seemingly has a leg up on his less experienced counterparts come fall. With options aplenty, finding a quarterback is key for the success of Harbaugh and Michigan.

Next: 5 Best Quarterbacks in Michigan History