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Quarterback Jayden Denegal’s path to Michigan, outlook moving forward

Denegal could become a very versatile dual-threat quarterback.

2021 Big Ten Championship - Iowa v Michigan Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images

Jayden Denegal was one of two Michigan quarterbacks in the Wolverines 2022 recruiting class. Denegal, a three-star prospect from Apple Valley, California, is a name to watch in Michigan’s quarterback room.

The story so far

In Denegal’s s nine games as a senior, he threw for 1,545 yards, 24 touchdowns, and rushed for 281 yards and eight rushing touchdowns. Denegal’s stellar senior year earned him an invitation to the All-American Bowl.

Denegal received offers from programs such as Michigan State, Georgia, UCLA, Arkansas, Auburn, and others, but ultimately chose Michigan.

Besides the fact that Denegal meshed well with head coach Jim Harbaugh and co-offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Matt Weiss, he’s already acclimated to the type of scheme Michigan runs.

“I think our system is good because we do a little bit everything,” Apple Valley head coach Kyle Godfrey said last year. “We run double tight ends, we go spread, we’ll throw the ball out, we’ll run some RPO stuff. We mix it up. I feel that what we’ve prepared our kids and that will give Denegal that opportunity to kind of understand that multi-system, per se. He’s going to be comfortable doing what they want him to do.”

Outlook moving forward

Denegal needs time to develop, and he’ll receive the time needed — there’s no rush to get him on the field.

Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh believes Denegal still needs to become acclimated to his 6-foot-4 height. Denegal was more than a few inches shorter a few years ago.

“He’s 6-5, 6-4, 6-4 and 3/4, you just picture him at 13 — he was probably 5-11,” Harbaugh said. “15, he was 6-foot. The angles were changing in the legs, the torso, the arm. Just getting that dialed in. Once they get to their final height, they need a year or two at that. It really starts at about 6-3. More so at 6-4, more so at 6-5. They need to end the growth and have a year or so at that final height and get all the leverage dialed in.”

Watching film of Denegal, it’s clear what Harbaugh means — Denegal could become a very versatile dual-threat quarterback. He showed flashes of his running prowess in high school, and if he gets stronger he can develop into a runner more along the lines of Josh Allen or Colin Kaepernick.

Denegal’s mechanics will have to become more consistent, but he made enough impressive throws on film to realize what Michigan sees in him. Denegal is part of a 2022 Michigan recruiting class that also featured three-star quarterback Alex Orji. This is who Denegal will be going toe-to-toe with out of the gate, who he’ll try to gain ground on in practice.

“Great stature as a quarterback. Lean and throws the ball extremely well. Pretty darn athletic. It’s a great, great feeling having two great quarterbacks coming in in the same class,” Harbaugh said. “We haven’t had that here for a very long time, and it’s gonna be fun to watch, put the balls out there. And each have a great skill-set at how they get the job done and win for their team. It bodes really well for us.”