Ann Arbor, MI. After 5th-year senior Jake Rudock’s late season surge as a dominant college football quarterback, Wolverine fans have been itching to know who will fill the void that Rudock has left. On Friday, Michigan fans caught a glimpse of Wilton Speight, John O’Korn, and Shane Morris, one of whom will be the man to stand tall in the Wolverine’s pocket in 2016.
Speight, the 6’6” junior and Jake Rudock’s back up from last season, led the Maize team to a 14-13 victory, accounting for both of his team’s touchdowns on Friday with a 13-yard toss to Jake Butt and a 6-yard scamper. Though Speight only threw 6 passes, all but one of them were complete. Speight’s presence and leadership was felt by everyone in the stadium.
Though Speight was the second string QB last year for the Wolverines, many fans were more interested in the performance of the senior Houston transfer from Ft. Lauderdale, John O’Korn. Due to his status as a transfer, O’Korn has 2 years of eligibility. Despite O’Korn having thrown over twice as many passes as his biggest position rival, he only completed one pass more than Speight. However, one attribute where O’Korn clearly has a leg-up on Speight is his ability to scramble. Spectators saw O’Korn convert two consecutive third downs with his legs on his opening possession. O’Korn scrambled 5 additional times throughout the game, and finished with a 4-yard average per rush. Though it would be exciting for Michigan football to have a quarterback who is a serious ground threat, Harbaugh has always been pass first and O’Korn will need to prove that he can move the ball through the air if he wants to earn the starting job.
The third quarterback who took the field for a significant number of plays was senior, Shane Morris. Though no one expected much out of Morris during Friday’s game, he may have actually been the most surprising player on the field. Despite only making an appearance in 8 games in the last 3 years, all of which he played quarterback, Morris lined up as a wide receiver for the Blue team on Friday in most of his snaps. As a quarterback, Morris was decent, going 4-9 with one touchdown and one interception.
Though the 3 quarterbacks have been competing with each other for the last year, Harbaugh still has to make a decision as to who will be his go-to guy. At this point, it seems to be a 2-way race between Speight and O’Korn. Morris is simply too big of a concern as his career touchdown-interception ratio is 0-5 in 8 games. Though Speight appeared to be more consistent in Friday’s spring game, only missing one pass attempt, O’Korn showed off his deep-throw ability and recorded twice as many passing yards as Speight. It won’t be until September that Michigan fans will see their coaching staff’s final decision, but everyone can be sure that Harbaugh will pick the right man to stand in the pocket.