Michigan Football 2016 Spring Preview: Quarterbacks

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Jan 1, 2016; Orlando, FL, USA; Michigan Wolverines quarterback Jake Rudock (15) throws during the fourth quarter against the Florida Gators in the 2016 Citrus Bowl at Orlando Citrus Bowl Stadium. Michigan Wolverines defeated Florida Gators 41-7. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Michigan football has to replace Jake Rudock at quarterback this season. There are a lot of arms in the race, but who can separate from the pack?

Before Jake Rudock stepped up in the second half of last season, it had been a long time since the Michigan Wolverines saw a traditional quarterback step onto the field and deliver what he was supposed to.

That’s not a knock on Denard Robinson—or even Devin Gardner—because they were both very talented athletes who made significant impacts. The last true passer the Wolverines sent onto the field was Chad Henne in 2007, and that was a forgettable season with him not playing in three games.

I bring this up because we’re in the middle of an important resurgence with Jim Harbaugh favoring to bring in these quarterbacks who aren’t necessarily elite athletes, but are much more capable through the air. Most of the fan base celebrates this movement.

Last season we saw completely different versions of the same quarterback. Rudock finished his first five games with 5 touchdowns and 6 interceptions. But the final six games of the season—when the offense really started to find its stride—he threw 15 touchdowns and only 3 interceptions.

Tucked in there was a 440-yard, 6-touchdown performance against Indiana. That was arguably the best single-game performance in Michigan football history.

While it looked in the beginning like this season’s quarterback would have no problem stepping in to replace Rudock, that narrative changed completely. Now the bar is set pretty high.

Michigan, on paper, does have a good batch of quarterbacks, including Houston transfer John O’Korn, fourth-year senior Shane Morris and third-year sophomore Wilton Speight.

Here’s what Michigan could be getting from each of its quarterbacks this season.

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