Michigan just picked up its 2nd commit of the 2014 class. What does Speight bring to the table?
VA QB Wilton Speight, listed as 6'6, 220ish, committed to Michigan this morning shortly after receiving his offer. His commitment represents the culmination of a fairly exhaustive search by the coaching staff for their QB in the 2014 class. In the end, it came down to the newest Wolverine, OK QB David Cornwell, and FL QB Michael O'Connor. After watching him throw last week, the coaching staff settled on Speight.
There isn't much to discuss with regards to Speight's recruiting process, because he hasn't really had one. He received scattered interest throughout his (second) junior season, including a visit to Alabama for the Ole Miss game, and letters/interest from USC, Mississippi State (featuring a facebook friend request from Dan Mullen! ($)), West Virginia, Cincinnati, and Maryland. I say second junior season because, after breaking his collarbone in the first game of the 2011 season, he reclassified from a 2013 prospect to a 2014 prospect ($). In essence, he will be a fifth year senior next year.
Although it's somewhat puzzling to me why the Michigan coaches chose Speight over every other '14 QB in the nation, that doesn't mean I hate the pick-up. Although his consistency is nowhere near perfect and his technique needs work, he flashes the ability to sling the ball around at will. He shows accuracy exceeding that of '13 commit Shane Morris. While I don't think he'll ever be better than PSU signee Christian Hackenburg, as the St. Christopher (one of Collegiate's rivals) coach told Sam Webb, I could see him as a solid career backup/1-2 year starter if need be.
The potential needs a lot of work (which he'll hopefully be getting from QB guru Steve Clarkson, whom he works with) however, if he wants to reach his ceiling. Sometimes he keeps his throws tight, compact, and quick. Other times he has a sorta strange pop in his motion that looks like it decreases the zip on his throw and hurts his accuracy. He suffers from a whole bevy of other problems, but most of them come with just about every high school quarterback. Sometimes he shifts his weight to far to his back foot before throwing, again losing velocity on the ball. He'll lock onto his targets without scanning the field first. His competition is incredibly underwhelming. He isn't very mobile at all. I live near Collegiate, so I'll hopefully be able to check out some of his games/practices during the upcoming season and report on his progress.
All in all, he's just what anyone should have expected from the quarterback in this class: a project. He'll likely come in as 3rd or 4th on the depth chart, depending on whether or not Gardner is granted his 5th year. He'll be given a nominal shot at the starting job when Gardner leaves, although I wouldn't expect him to make a major play at the role. After Bellomy/Morris leaves, he'll again have a shot at the starting job. It's at that point he could be a major factor/the favorite for the job. Long live the days of upper classman quarterbacks! If, sometime during his presumed five years on campus, he prevents a Nebraska-type meltdown, this scholarship will be worth it. Everything else is gravy.
FUN FACT: I've splashed this all over twitter, but Speight attends the same high school as Russell Wilson. EH?