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Michigan still in search of 2020 quarterback after early signing day — here’s what’s next

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The Wolverines missed out on CJ Stroud, as expected. But a new option has emerged.

NCAA Football: Rutgers at Michigan Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

The Michigan Wolverines inked all but two players in its 2020 football recruiting class on Wednesday afternoon with the early signing period underway. That said, there is still a bit of a void at an important position for Jim Harbaugh and company.

Michigan is still in search of a quarterback to fill a roster spot for 2020 following the news that three-star signal caller JD Johnson would be forced to medically retire from football. They had jumped into contention in recent weeks for four-star CJ Stroud, but were unable to make enough strides to keep him out of the clutches of the Ohio State Buckeyes, which is where he wound up signing on Wednesday.

Stroud was probably a pipe dream, but one cannot fault the staff’s efforts in trying to get in the mix for him.

The staff quickly moved on and extended an offer on Wednesday afternoon to three-star quarterback Dan Villari. He visited the university last weekend and has been in contact with offensive coordinator Josh Gattis as they seek to fill that slot. Michigan is by far the highest-profile school on his offer sheet with the other programs including UMass, Fordham, Albany, Buffalo, Central Connecticut State and Kent State. Before you freak out about this, consider the fact that he is from New York and that generally is not a recruiting hotbed.

That said and with a limited look at his film, Villari seems like a guy that might fill a slot at quarterback or potentially even an H-back or linebacker in the future, sort of like a guy like Victor Viramontes that the Wolverines were in the mix for a few years ago.

Before fans respond to this with their shouts of “we won’t beat Ohio State with this type of recruiting” takes, consider where the Wolverines are at with the quarterback situation heading into 2020. You have Dylan McCaffrey and Joe Milton, who are expected to compete for the starting job in camp throughout the spring and fall, and former four-star Cade McNamara, who will be in his second season with the program in 2020. Without adding anyone, that’s more likely than not your top three on the depth chart barring any attrition. The class of 2021 has a five-star recruit set to come in with J.J. McCarthy, as well as the above names still duking it out if they are still around. The class of 2020 is a bit of a gap year in that you can afford to take a flier on someone, which is essentially what Johnson would have been if he were still able to play.

Of course, there are still other options in play and we know that Jim Harbaugh is not shy about seeking help through the transfer portal. Harbaugh and his staff preach perpetual competition at the quarterback position, potential attrition be damned. It seems unlikely they will punt on the position in the 2020 cycle, but do not expect a program-changing prospect, either. They really do not need to land one this time around.