Who should Michigan take at the quarterback position in 2014? Read on to find out Maize N Brew's take on the situation.
In the past week, a lot of hullaballoo (I regret nothing) has been made of the future quarterback situation. With only 1 quarterback coming in this year, the prevailing opinion is that it would be smart for Borges and Hoke to invest in two scholarship quarterbacks in the 2014 class. Who will that be? The field looks wide open right now (aside from Chance Stewart, who I was never that huge of a fan of) as the coaches haven't extended any offers as of this point. So who will be on the radar when the schollies start flying? Allow me to offer my two cents. Quarterbacks are ranked from most desirable to least desirable, in case that isn't obvious.
OH QB Cody Calloway Man, why aren't more people talking this kid up? He looks to have the strongest arm of any of the prospects I've scouted so far. I can see size being an issue (he's listed at 6'2, but looks to be a bit shorter), but other than that, his upside is tantalizing. I'm encouraged by the fact that his coaches trust him enough to make audibles at the line, and he always seems to understand what the defense is throwing at him. He also has the athleticism to extend and make plays by himself. Sometimes he forces the ball, but it usually works out because he leads the receivers when he's making a play he shouldn't. Bottom line-I don't know why this kid doesn't have more offers right now (only Toledo at this point), but I hope Michigan jumps in before he blows up.
KY QB Drew Barker I'll give him a slight bump over Ford for his pinpoint downfield accuracy, but he still lacks the cannon arm colleges covet. It's a shame he's not more athletic, because he runs the read option better than most high school quarterbacks I've seen. Footwork can get a bit sloppy, but the potential is there. Like his throwing motion and consistent release at the top of his throw; it allows for a good spiral most of the time, which likely accounts for his accuracy. Seems like he can get cocky and force the ball sometimes, but that's something that's prevalent among young quarterbacks.
PA QB Andrew Ford Teammate of former TE Target Adam Breneman. To me, Ford looks like a bit more developed Coleman Key. I like how he handles pressure, and his mechanics are a bit more consistent. Can put a bit more heat on the ball if the situation calls for it. Has good touch and accuracy on the long ball. However, I think (just as Coleman Key is spoiled by a good O-line), Ford has been blessed with above average skill players at the high school level. He forces a lot of balls into coverage zones he should be avoiding, but gets bailed out by good receivers. I also think his delivery is a bit slow, which could get him in trouble at the next level. All in all, though, I think he'll see offers coming his way soon, and I wouldn't be surprised if one of those was from the maize and blue.
OK QB Coleman Key I'm impressed with his growth from sophomore year, but I'm still not sold on his long term potential at the position. At the very least, he's far from being a finished product. While going through his junior year highlights thus far, I've only seen a few throws down field where Key has set his feet and shown off his true ability. This is surprising, considering I think he's spoiled by either a dominant offensive line or a league with few athletic pass rushers. There simply aren't many plays where he has to respond to pressure. Still, he has unexpected athleticism for his size. If you doubt me, check out the 'Hudl Highlight Run' on his page. I think most coaches would probably frown on him being so cavalier with the football (and his body), but it's certainly still fun to watch. In any case, I could see Coleman in this class as a bit of a project-which is okay if the coaches think Morris is the QB of the future.
OH QB DeShone Kizer I spent about 15 minutes watching Kizer's highlight tape before I realized who he reminds me of- former Oregon QB Darron Thomas. Their releases are incredibly similar. He flips his hips well just like Thomas, but his release isn't very tight, which often impacts his accuracy. Add on the prevalence of the zone read in his offense, and his above average accuracy when forced out of the pocket, and it makes sense. I do like Kizer, and I think he's made tremendous strides since his sophomore campaign, but I imagine there are other quarterbacks higher on the totem pole. However, he does add value...as he also punts for his team.
VA QB Caleb Henderson While he seems further along in his development than a lot of prospects his age, I'm simply not impressed with his arm strength. To me, there is no way he will end up the number 3 QB in the nation. That's not to say I don't understand why he's getting all of the attention he is- Henderson has excellent footwork, seems to sense pressure and avoid it, possesses above average athleticism, and I really like how he gets rid of the ball quickly. However, he just doesn't look like an elite BCS level quarterback; more like the type Mike London or Frank Beamer would take and try to develop. His throwing motion looks a bit shot-putty, if you'll allow that as an adjective. The ball floats on him, and his down field accuracy is nothing to marvel at. Again, Henderson is a QB that UM might offer later as a developmental project, but if this article is true, I simply don't think he'll end up a Wolverine.
MI QB Tyler Wiegers Might end up getting overlooked by a lot of people, but you could definitely do worse at the QB position. I don't think he'll be Michigan's top target on the board, but the maize and blue would be wise to give him a close look. In a year where we'd be wise to grab 2 QBs, I certainly wouldn't object to taking a decently strong armed local kid. Throws a tight spiral, even if the velocity is nothing special.
OH QB Joey Duckworth Of all of my evaluations, this one should be taken with a grain of salt, because I have to rely on sophomore highlights. Several of the quarterbacks mentioned here (especially Wiegers and Kizer) made strides between their sophomore and junior years, and it's unfair to assume Duckworth didn't as well. With that said, Duckworth looks like a smart quarterback. He goes through his progressions and does an excellent job of looking off coverage. His arm, though, is underwhelming. I'll wait on junior highlights to pass a more definitive opinion on him.
Conclusion If I had my druthers, the staff would take some two-man combination of Key/Wiegers/Callaway, at this point. None of them would be Morris, but I think the potential is there for at least two of them to grow into starting caliber QBs. As you may note, I'm a bit down on some of the traditionally talked up names in the class (Kizer, Henderson), but I think that updated rankings will reflect my opinion. Who are your favorites? How many do you think the staff should take? Let me know in the comments.