Quarterback still a question mark
With the graduation of Chad Henne and the departure of Ryan Mallett, Coach Rodriguez stated that he wanted to bring in two quarterbacks in this recruiting class. Coach Rodriguez further stated that he normally likes to carry five (5) quarterbacks on the roster. Going into signing day, Michigan only had 3 quarterbacks on its roster, to wit: two scholarship QBs (Steve Threet and David Cone) and a walk-on (Nick Sheridan). Also remember that recently graduated QB Chad Henne hinted in an interview during the week of the Senior Bowl that two more quarterbacks may decide to transfer depending on how things go in Spring Practice. However, on signing day, Coach Rod only reeled in one prep quarterback. That was Justin Feagin of Deerfield, Florida. Feagin is a dual threat QB but he is not known for having a real strong throwing arm. He was rated a three-star prospect by most of the recruiting services. Assuming a miracle does not occur and 5-star prospect Terrelle Pryor does not commit to Michigan, the Wolverines will only have one QB in this class for now while Coach Rod wanted a minimum of two. Michigan's QB depth chart will consist of a redshirt freshman who is a pro-style QB and has never taken a snap in a game (Steve Threet); a little used Jr./So. back-up who has only thrown one pass in his career (David Cone); a true freshman with a mediocre arm (Justin Feagin); and a walk-on (Nick Sheridan).
Michigan got into this situation because Coach Rodriguez did such a poor job of re-recruiting Ryan Mallett. Coach Rodriguez was apparently more interested in trying to recruit Terrelle Pryor than he was in keeping Mallett and in the end it appears he will have neither one of them on his team. Now the Wolverines are likely to have a talent void at the QB position. When talking about the QB position yesterday at the press conference, Coach Rodriguez tried to reassure fans by stating, "We will be ok." Gee, thanks Coach. I feel so much better. Michigan has two scholarship openings remaining for the '08 class. One obviously needs to go to a QB if there is still a highly rated player remaining. Go Blue!
Update on 2/8/08: Michael Rosenberg did an article in today's Free Press where he made the case that Michigan needs a big-time player in the QB position to run Coach Rod's spread offense. Rosenberg wrote, in pertinent part, as follows: "Rich Rodriguez needs a great quarterback to win big. This is true of many college coaches, but it is especially true of Rodriguez because his system is highly dependent on the quarterback. There is no such thing as a caretaker quarterback in the spread-option. You can't have a low-risk, limited-talent guy at quarterback, making high-percentage passes and handing off to running backs. Every aspect of the spread option is dependent upon the quarterback." Although Coach Rodriguez will make do with the players he has on his roster, none of the quarterbacks on next year's team has the requisite skill set to run the spread offense the way Coach Rodriguez would really like it to be run.
Update on 2/11/08: Michigan signed the 24th player in its 2008 class (Martavious Odoms) and now only has one room for one more scholarship player in this year's class.