Welcome to a new depth chart prediction series as we lead up to 7:30 p.m. on Sept. 1, 2018.
We begin with the quarterback position, the most talked about position every offseason under Jim Harbaugh to date.
We all know the story — Shea Patterson is coming in to kick ass and take names. Brandon Peters — the once-heralded savior of the program (at least to fans when John O’Korn was still slinging the rock at Michigan) — and the rest of the passers are going to have a heated battled this month.
And by heated, I mean they are going to be sweating their asses off trying to win the backup job. That starting spot is already locked in, whether Harbaugh admits it to the media or not (he won’t).
Starter: Shea Patterson, JR
No surprises here, folks. Patterson is your quarterback for 2018.
I understand Harbaugh’s meritocracy approach; he wants his players to compete at the highest level possible and push each other. Well, hopefully Peters, Dylan McCaffrey and Joe Milton think they have a chance to win the job so they can get good enough to actually compete in 2019.
Patterson passed for 3,139 yards in seven games in 2017 with Ole Miss, and also threw 23 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. He nearly tripled U-M’s passing touchdown total last year in just seven games...incredible.
He has all the necessary tools to excel for the Wolverines in 2018. The only question now is if the wide receivers will be able to get open enough and if the offensive line can block defenders for long enough.
Second-string: Brandon Peters, RS SO
If Patterson is unable to suit up for whatever reason, Peters is next in line.
Look, I know he didn’t look so good in limited action last season. He only threw four touchdowns (against weak opponents) and he looked AWFUL in the Outback Bowl, but Michigan would be perfectly okay on offense if he was called on.
His release was too slow for my liking, but his confidence grew as the season wore on — why do you think he had so many turnovers his final couple games? He took some risks and they didn’t pan out the way we wanted. It happens.
Just like the 76ers trust the process, we gotta #TrustTheBackup.
Third-string: Dylan McCaffrey, RS FR
If Patterson blows out his knee and Peters sustains another concussion, Michigan’s next option at quarterback is Christian McCaffrey’s younger brother Dylan.
The younger McCaffrey did not suit up in 2017 for the Wolverines, taking a redshirt season to get acclimated to the college life. He was named the Offensive Scout Player of the Year for Michigan, but that means nothing to me. Remember when I was talking about O’Korn earlier? Yeah, he won that same award.
But that is not me saying McCaffrey will pan out like JOK did at Michigan. In fact, I expect McCaffrey to be a real nice college player in the future. He is building muscle, like everybody else pretty much, thanks to new strength and conditioning coach Ben Herbert, and he is already more of a vocal leader than Peters. I expect real good things from McCaffrey whenever he sees the field.
Fourth-string: Joe Milton, FR
Milton is the final scholarship quarterback on the depth chart in 2018.
A true freshman out of Florida, Milton is a mammoth human being at 6-foot-5 and 234 pounds. With a cannon for a right arm, as everyone associated with the program has said this offseason, Milton’s potential is as high as any of Michigan’s quarterbacks. In fact, he arguably has the highest ceiling among the backups.
Milton was a 4-star and was wanted by other big time schools like Georgia, Florida, Miami (FL), LSU and others. A ton of people, including myself, are excited to see Milton on the field, which could happen as early as this season thanks to the NCAA’s new redshirt rule that allows players to play in four games and still be eligible to receive a redshirt.
Harbaugh’s quarterback situation is much different now than it was back when he arrived in 2015. With four talented quarterbacks on the depth chart, the Wolverines finally have the talent at the position fans have been hoping for since Harbaugh’s arrival.
It is safe to say Michigan is in good hands if the quarterback position gets hit by an injury bug in 2018. Too bad Maryland couldn’t say the same thing last year.
What do you think of my quarterback depth chart? What does your depth chart look like? Sound off in the comments below.