In recent years, a glaring concern for the Michigan football team has been at the quarterback position. Between Denard Robinson's risky decisions and Devin Gardner's inconsistencies, the Wolverine faithful have been itching for an efficient signal caller in terms of the passing game for a number of years. With a multitude of quarterbacks on the active roster for the 2015 season, certainly options at the QB position will not be an issue.
Let's take a look at each of the players competing for that starting spot.
Jake Rudock, Senior
Jake Rudock is the oldest QB on the Wolverines' active roster, graduating from St. Thomas Aquinas H.S in Florida in 2011. Playing the past four seasons of college football at Iowa, Jake Rudock brings an element to this team that is different than the other eligible quarterbacks: significant college and Big Ten experience. During his final season at Iowa, Rudock threw for almost 2,500 yards, with 16 touchdowns and 5 interceptions, ultimately losing his starting job to the backup QB. While these statistics may not jump off the page, Rudock ranked second in the Big Ten in QB completion percentage (61.7%). Additionally, his former Iowa teammates have expressed nothing but positive comments regarding their former starting QB. Look for Rudock to compete with a slight chip on his shoulder this season.
Shane Morris, Junior
Shane Morris, who hails from De La Salle H.S in Warren, MI, is the only quarterback on the roster who has had playing time with the Wolverines in the regular and postseason. During his sophomore year, Morris appeared in five games, throwing for 128 yards with 3 interceptions. Morris also started the 2015 spring game for the Blue team, leading them to a 7-0 victory over the Maize team and fellow starting QB contender Alex Malzone. Following this spring game, Coach Harbaugh announced that Morris was ahead in the QB race, stating that he was most impressed with the confidence that he exhibited in the pocket. While he seems to have an upperhand in terms of playing experience compared to some of the other players, his performances thus far for the Wolverines have been shaky.
Alex Malzone, Freshman
A 4-star QB coming out of high school, Alex Malzone is an incoming freshman from Brother Rice H.S in Bloomfield Hills, MI. A pro-style QB, Malzone led Brother Rice to 33 straight wins before a regional final loss to the eventual Division 2 state champion. During his senior season, Malzone threw for nearly 3,000 yards, with 38 touchdowns and only 5 interceptions. Perhaps Malzone's greatest asset is that he enrolled at Michigan this past winter, thus granting him the ability to familiarize himself with the system and prepare for spring competition. However, Malzone had a subpar performance in the spring game, finishing 15 of 27 for 95 yards and two interceptions. This experience could prove valuable later on, though, especially for a player who should have technically still been in high school.
Zach Gentry, Freshman
Putting it simply, Zach Gentry is a massive individual. Standing at 6'7" and weighing 230 pounds, he is the largest QB on the Wolverines' roster. Gentry, a 4-star player from Eldorado H.S in Albuquerque, NM, was the 4th-ranked pro-style QB according to Rivals.com. Leading his team to state semifinals his senior season, Gentry threw for nearly 3,000 yards with 26 touchdowns, while also rushing for over 1,000 yards and 22 more scores. While his arm strength has been highly praised by several analysts, his overall athleticism and foot speed is still in question. Though he's no Denard Robinson, he can still move well considering his size.
Wilton Speight, Sophomore
A redshirt freshman and third-string quarterback this past season, Wilton Speight has the advantage of learning behind both Devin Gardner and Shane Morris. A pro-style QB, Speight was ranked by ESPN as the 7th overall quarterback in his class. Speight is similar in size to Gentry, standing at 6'6" and weighing 235 pounds. Playing high school football at Collegiate School in Richmond, VA, he had a solid senior season, passing for nearly 3,000 yards and 33 touchdowns. Speight has been praised for his pocket presence and ability to escape pressure, all the while showing his ability to keep his eyes downfield. A fun fact about Speight? While in high school, he also undertook punting duties, averaging 42.2 yards per punt.
Other QBs: Brian Cleary (Sr.), Joe Hewlett (So.), Matt Thompson (So.), Garrett Moores (Jr.). John O'Korn (Jr.; ineligible for the 2015 season)