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Michigan Football: 2017 Quarterback Breakdown
- Updated: March 24, 2017
If there’s anything to know about Jim Harbaugh, it’s that he doesn’t mind creating a healthy quarterback competition. Coming into the 2016 season, the Michigan Wolverines endured one of the longest quarterback battles in college football. The Michigan football team may be in for more of an adventure this year. And I don’t mean their trip to Italy.
The Wolverines have their top two signal callers returning for another season. But will Harbaugh have a change of heart heading into the 2017 season? On the surface, it seems like the Wolverines will remain status quo. However, we’ve already seen Harbaugh change NFL quarterbacks in mid-season. Therefore, the quarterback race will never end in Ann Arbor.
Last season, Wilton Speight won the starting job and never relinquished control. He helped lead the Wolverines to a 10-3 record and a top 10 ranking. During the season, Speight completed 204-of-331 passes for 2538 yards. He added 18 touchdowns and seven interceptions in his first year as starting quarterback. As a result, Speight should be ready to have an All-American type of season. According to Scout.com, he is expected to remain the starting QB. Yet, Speight has a couple of hurdles to get through.
The Wolverines lost their last two games of the season. In fact, Speight had three turnovers in the overtime loss to the Ohio State Buckeyes. One interception led directly to a touchdown. A fumble stopped the Wolverines scoring from the 1-yard line. Otherwise, the Buckeyes had no chance of winning this game. Still, Speight seems to be the overwhelming favorite to win the starting job.
Senior John O’Korn transferred from the Houston Cougars after losing the starting quarterback position in 2014. He sat out the 2015 season with an eye on the No. 1 quarterback spot last year. Unfortunately for O’Korn, he was passed up by Speight in the grueling battle. He still completed 20-of-34 passes for two touchdowns last season.
Due to the influx of talent, O’Korn’s chances at becoming the starting quarterback may have dissipated.
My Projected 2017 QB depth chart:
1. Wilton Speight/Brandon Peters
3. John O'Korn
4. Dylan McCaffrey (RS)
5. Alex Malzone
— Adam Ghabour (@Qb9Adam) February 2, 2017
The Wolverines are loaded with young, talented quarterbacks. Brandon Peters has a shot at the No. 2 spot next season. He won’t be able to supplant Speight, but he can move ahead O’Korn with a good spring practice. Due to all of the talent, it’s likely that Dylan McCaffrey will redshirt next season.
In all, coach Harbaugh has Michigan football with plenty of quarterbacks to work with. The last time he had this many options, he led the San Francisco 49ers to a Super Bowl appearance. More importantly, Harbaugh just wants to win the Big Ten title next season.
Harrison has covered NFL, NBA, and CBB in the past. Earlier in his career, he was a national college football writer and Team writer for Husker Corner. Harrison also created the college football "Treat 16 Power Poll" some years back when college coaches relied on the running game.
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