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Monday Crootin’: Handicapping Michigan’s 2020 Quarterback Targets

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Pinnacle (Ariz.) 4-star commitment JD Johnson is already in the fold. However, Jim Harbaugh and company are still pursuing a few targets.

NCAA Football: Nebraska at Michigan Detroit Free Press-USA TODAY NETWORK

Jim Harbaugh and the Michigan coaching staff has taken a quarterback in every class since arriving in Ann Arbor in 2015. The Wolverines were even willing to take multiple in a few classes, such as 4-star Zach Gentry in 2015 and 3-star athlete Vic Viramontes in 2016.

While Gentry ended up as a tight end and Viramontes is now a JUCO prospect, it shows a willingness from the Wolverines to continue pursuit even locking down a target. Despite 4-star Pinnacle (Ariz.) commit JD Johnson already in the fold this cycle, the staff is still extending offers.

Here’s a quick handicapping of the possible signal-callers for the 2020 class.

JD Johnson, 4-star out of Arizona

Johnson pledged to Michigan a week after his unofficial visit this past December. At the time, he was a high 3-star in the 247 Sports Composite. He now sits as the No. 300 overall player, the No. 12 pro-style quarterback and ninth-best player in his state.

Michigan is far and away the most prestigious program among his six offers. Even after his ratings bump, he still only holds three Power Five offers (Arizona, Oregon State and South Carolina).

It’s almost as if Michigan has scared off any competition for the 6-foot-4, 190-pounder. He’s certainly already bleeding Maize and Blue based on comments about Ohio State.

“I can tell you that I am a loyal, hard-working guy,” Johnson said to Wolverines Wire. “My goal is to do everything in my power to beat Ohio State.”

He’s going to stick barring unforeseen developments.

Jay Butterfield, 4-star out of Northern California

The 6-foot-6, 180-pounder is the consummate winner, taking Liberty (Brentwood, Calif.) High to its first state semifinal game in school history after a 13-1 season. He hails from just outside San Francisco, where some folks still remember Jim Harbaugh leading the 49ers to the Super Bowl.

While 100 percent of his Crystal Ball predictions point toward Stanford, David Shaw has yet to offer. Butterfield’s dad Mark was a Cardinal signal-caller back in the 90s, but the longer the offer doesn’t come could lead to Jay seeking other options. Enter Michigan.

His coach Ryan Partridge already mentioned that Johnson’s commitment won’t deter his rising senior.

“He’s a competitor, he doesn’t care,” Partridge said. “We were told they would be taking two in the 2020 class. Still a viable option.”

The same holds true for the absence of Pep Hamilton, though the Butterfield's, as well as Partridge, clicked with the former offensive coordinator during an October visit.

The onus here is on Michigan. Butterfield may be a long-term process with the Stanford legacy connection, but the wait could pay dividends if Harbaugh wants another QB.

For now, he looks like a Pac-12 lean.

Anthony Romphf, 3-star out of Southfield (Mich.)

Romphf fits the mold of a quarterback with enough versatility for a potential position switch, a la Gentry or Viramontes. The 6-footer is a dual-threat that ranks just inside the top-1000 in the 247 Sports Composite, and holds interest mostly from MAC schools, as well as Indiana and Minnesota.

He has stated that quarterback is his first choice in college. That has opened up a lane for P.J. Fleck and the Gophers.

“March 2 I’m going out to Minnesota for sure, coach PJ (Fleck) showed a lot of interest,” Romphf said to The Michigan Insider. “So my top schools are the ones who offered me. Iowa State, I’m going out there sometime in April. Minnesota March 2. Indiana for sure. I’m going out to Pittsburgh to see Coach Archie and Air Force, too.”

If he’s dead-set on playing under center, expect him to go elsewhere. Don Brown mentioned an interest in him playing defensive back, like Keith Washington did out of the 2017 class.

With that said, he is a Michigan fan through and through.

“My first time ever going to a college football game was at Michigan,” Romphf said to The Wolverine. “I went with my dad and one of my youth coaches. I grew up a Michigan fan, I was born and raised here, that just makes the offer more special. It’s like, ‘Wow, I have that offer.’”

It may be hard for him to say no to his childhood favorite. If he wanes on Michigan in his recruitment, it’s likely an unwillingness from staff to develop him at quarterback.