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Jayden Denegal earns Ben Roethlisberger comparison from Michigan OC

Big Den and Big Ben.

NCAA Football: Fiesta Bowl-Texas Christian at Michigan Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

We’re a ways off from finding out who Michigan’s starting quarterback will be in 2024, but don’t count out redshirt sophomore Jayden Denegal.

Denegal was 4-for-5 with a touchdown pass last season and is someone offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Kirk Campbell believes was the most improved offensive player last year.

“In my eyes, he was the most improved player on offense,” Campbell said on In The Trenches with Jon Jansen. “From my time being as an analyst and me being able to my fingerprints on him and kind of molding him and developing him. His development in over a year has been vast.”

Campbell said Denegal still needs to improve by being quicker with his feet as he takes a little bit too much time in his drop.

“Speeding up his feet so he’s able to speed up getting rid of the football,” Campbell said. “His accuracy is great, his knowledge and understanding are great, he’s a good decision-maker. We just need to speed up his processor a little bit.”

Campbell went on to compare Denegal, who’s 6-foot-5 and 235 pounds, to a physical QB who played for Miami (Ohio) and then went on to have two Super Bowl victories with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

“The big thing about Denny is he’s so big. He’s gonna thrive in live situations breaking tackles like a Ben Roethlisberger type,” Campbell explained. “Something may not look pretty in practice, but in the game that might not be a sack. That might just be an arm coming across his chest and he shrugs it off. We understand that and we gotta put him in gamelike situations to see if he can display those abilities.”

Denegal did have a knack for running the ball in high school at Apple Valley High School in California, totaling 47 carries for 281 yards with eight rushing touchdowns during his senior season.

“Great stature as a quarterback,” former head coach Jim Harbaugh said about Denegal in 2021. “Lean and throws the ball extremely well. Pretty darn athletic.”

In short, don’t be fooled by Denegal’s size, he could be a dual-threat quarterback for the Wolverines who gets extra yards scrambling when a play breaks down. He’ll be competing with the likes of Alex Orji, Jadyn Davis, and Davis Warren for the starting spot, but right now he has as good of a chance of being Michigan’s QB1 as any.

“Everybody’s No. 1, and we’ll see who comes out on top,” Campbell said.