Michigan Football Position Preview: Quarterback
Kickoff is less than two months away and we are in the dead period for any news on the team and in college football in general. With that being said, let’s look over each position on the team and who is competing for the starting position and predict who will win each position. First position I will look at is quarterback. This position is the major one to watch for on offense with six quarterbacks fighting for the spot to lead the team every Saturday. Speight, Morris, and O’Korn all have experience, while Malzone and Moore have been riding the bench as Peters is an incoming freshman. All six of these men will fight hard everyday to prove to coach Harbaugh that they deserve to be the next starting quarterback at Michigan. Let’s breakdown each candidate.
The preseason number one quarterback John O’Korn is looking to become the regular season number one quarterback. O’Korn is a transfer student from Houston where he played two seasons, throwing for 4068 yards, 34 touchdowns and 18 interceptions. He only played half of the 2014 season after losing his starting job and he looks to snag it here. Last season he couldn’t play due to transfer rules, and he wowed the coaches and staff with his arm during practices. He went 6-of-14 for 93 yards, had seven carries for 28 yards and a touchdown during the spring game this year. O’Korn didn’t look like a for-sure starter, but with more time practicing with the team he could win this job.
The man who is right behind O’Korn and could end up stealing his job from him. O’Korn transferred from Houston due to playing time, now he might have transferred to a school he is a backup in. Speight had an impressive spring game, going 5-of-6 for 46 yards and a touchdown, along with two carries for 19 yards and a touchdown. While Speight didn’t throw as much as O’Korn, he did have the better stat line, scoring twice, once through the air and having a better completion percentage. Speight also played a little bit last year when Jake Rudock went down against Minnesota and other situations. Speight threw for 73 yards, a touchdown and an interception, that touchdown was a game winner might I tell you. Speight looked to be a third stringer coming in his freshman year, but after beating out Morris as the backup and doing well when he needed to, Speight may have a solid chance at winning this job.
This guy was supposed to be the one. The quarterback to save Michigan and bring them back to dominance. Well, Morris hasn’t really had that much of a shot to do so. Morris played in only three games his freshman year, losing to Devin Gardner— he started in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl and did not impress. In 2014 he once again lost to Devin Gardner, but he had a chance to win the battle. He was involved in this anti-famous Michigan moment
With that going on, Morris only was in for five games of 2014. 2015 seemed to be his year to finally start with Gardner graduating, but Jake Rudock happened. The quarterback took Morris’s job and did well with it. 2016 seemed to be his final chance, but now with John O’Korn transferring and Wilton Speight impressing, Morris may never get to be the starting quarterback for Michigan for longer than a game. Morris has thrown for 389 yards and five interceptions. Morris looked ok at the spring game, going 4-of-9 for 31 yards and a touchdown and interception. Morris will have to kick up some dirt and catch up if he wants a chance to start this year.
Getting redshirted in 2015, Malzone seems to finally have a chance to compete for legit playing time. Malzone did have some issues earlier this offseason, but things seem to have calmed down. Malzone will probably be punished for everything that happened, even though the charges were dropped. Malzone was a four star and being a redshirt freshman he will look at this time for him to develop and become better because 2017 will have one less person in front of him and he will have a better shot at winning this battle.
The only freshman in the position and he will have to take a redshirt. There is no way Peters can actually jump over all five of these quarterbacks his freshman year unless he really impresses his coaches in the few weeks they have him in the locker room and learning the offense. Peters did well at Avon high school, throwing for 4979 yards, 58 touchdowns and 11 interceptions in the two years he started. Peters will really not have a true shot at being the starting quarterback until 2018, when Morris and O’Korn are gone and if Speight turns out to be a really good player, he could be gone as well.
The long-shot to win the job is Garrett Moores. He has been on the team since 2013, being a walk-on player and winning the U-M Athletic Academic Achievement award that year. Moores hasn’t played a snap or even been close to getting a chance to play for Michigan. That trend might continue his senior year.
So Who is the Starting Quarterback Come Week 1?
This is the hardest offensive position to figure out and find the starter. O’Korn and Speight are the clear front-runners, with Morris and Malzone being solid backups and Peters and Moores getting no shot whatsoever. While Speight did impress during the spring game, I believe O’Korn will win just based off of experience. O’Korn has played in 19 games compared to Speights five. Both have had the same amount of time under Harbaugh so nobody has known the playbook longer than the other. O’Korn just seems like the safe pick here and if he fails, Michigan can fit Speight right in as a good number two option. So here is my final depth chart for quarterbacks
- John O’Korn
- Wilton Speight
- Shane Morris
- Alex Malzone
- Garrett Moores
- Brandon Peters (redshirted)