H4: Hall of Harbaugh Quarterback, Part 2

H4: Hall of Harbaugh Quarterback, Part 2

Submitted by Seth on March 3rd, 2015 at 4:24 PM

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rawr.

This is the second installment of a comprehensive look at quarterbacks whom Jim Harbaugh recruited and coached. Part 1 looked at his WKU recruits, his work with the Oakland Raiders, and his first head coaching job at San Diego. A few trends that came out:

  1. He recruits at least two QBs per class
  2. They tend to look like shooting guards: tall, athletic, gangly, on the border of dual-threat/pro-style. He scouts them at multiple sports.
  3. Their teams usually perform above or far above the usual for that program.
  4. He likes them smart.

We are now entering the Stanford phase, so it’s a good thing we could notice item #4 above before the sample was ruined.

We also got an idea of how Harbaugh coaches them. He likes his heady guys to memorize a million things they can think about pre-snap. When he has one of those guys, they go to the line with three plays called, and the quarterback decides which by defensive alignment. Conversely, post-snap reads are super-simplified and drilled mercilessly so that his QB barely has to think about his progressions during a play.

This week we get into his last two stops before Michigan.

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Stanford
Head coach and quarterbacks coach, 2007-'10

2007: Harbaugh took over at Stanford in December 2006 with Kellen Kiilsguaard, a high three-star dual-threat, and L.D. Crow, an early-recruited academic from the South, already committed. Crow was on a lot of 2007 early watch lists (I know because I was reading those religiously for Mallett news) and Stanford's first commit of that class, but he was passed by a lot of guys by Signing Day (not Nick Foles, Kellen Moore, or Ryan Lindley). Kiilsguaard would eventually switch to safety. Harbaugh couldn't lure another QB but did get a transfer from Michigan. MGoBlog's Brian Cook:

Redshirt sophomore quarterback Jason Forcier can read the writing on the wall -- it says "Jesus Christ, that kid can throw eighty yards" -- and is transferring to Stanford effective at the end of the semester. Lloyd is not happy about it.

Forcier, like all Forciers, was an accurate Marinovich project with enough legs to be classified as a dual-threat but not enough to overshadow his passing.

On the roster were a pair of fliers in Alex Loukas, a 6'4/193 Purdue-al-threat (see: every other Purdue quarterback of the period), and Marcus Rance, a barely three-star guy from Washington whose next best offer was Idaho. Harbaugh also inherited a 5th year senior and on-and-off starter in T.C. Ostrander, an Elite 11 prospect who signed as a 4-star and two spots below Brady Quinn in a deep year for pro-style QBs. Ostrander split time with 2006 3rd round draft pick (and former 5-star) Trent Edwards for three seasons.

T.C. Ostrander Passing Rushing Total
Year Att Cmp% TD Int Yds Eff Att Yds YPP
2004-'06 351 48% 8 8 2361 107.04 96 -340 4.52
2007 (Harbaugh) 229 57% 7 3 1422 116.40 32 -171 4.79

Last among  inherited bullets was Tavita Pritchard, a 2005 3-star pro-style guy ranked just behind Colt McCoy. Pritchard had thrown one pass—that incomplete—and was sacked on three other career snaps before Harbaugh arrived.

Ostrander suffered a seizure the week Stanford would go into #1 USC as 41-point underdogs. Against a brutal defense, Pritchard wasn't doing too hot—he'd go 11/30 for 149 yards, 1 TD and 1 INT in that game. But then 20 of those yards were a laser to Richard Sherman, and another 10 were the fade to Mark Bradford to win it. Pete Carroll wanted to know what Harbaugh's deal was.

Harbaugh's deal was he was recruiting quarterbacks. Andrew Luck committed at the end of June 2007, before Stanford had played a game under Harbaugh. The interest in Stanford was already there for the academic Texan, and meeting Jim sealed it.

Jim continued to recruit a second QB for the class. Targets included Dayne Crist (Notre Dame), Jerome Tiller (ISU), Sean Renfree (Duke), Ted Stachitas (Wake Forest), Wayne Warren (Rutgers), B.R. Holbrook (New Mexico), and another Texas prospect, Robert Griffin III. RGIII turned down Harbaugh's offer because of Stanford's admissions policy:

“I was graduating early, and Stanford wasn’t allowing early graduates to enroll and that was the biggest issue,” Griffin said.

So Stanford wound up with just one quarterback for the class. Luck was the epitome of the Harbaugh quarterback recruit: valedictorian smart, extremely productive in high school, cool demeanor, and some wiggle. Under Harabaugh he would develop into the best pro prospect since Peyton Manning, whom Luck displaced.

Stanford Quarterbacks Passing Rushing Averages
Year W-L Player Att Cmp% Yds Rtg Att Yds YPP TD Rate Int Rt
2006 1-11 Trent Edwards 156 60.3 1027 120.6 59 37 4.95 2.8% 2.8%
T.C. Ostrander 158 45.6 918 94.3 39 -153 3.88 1.5% 2.5%
2007 4-8 T.C. Ostrander 229 56.8 1422 116.4 32 -171 4.79 2.7% 1.1%
Tavita Pritchard 194 50.0 1114 97.5 66 45 4.46 1.9% 3.5%
2008 5-7 Tavita Pritchard 254 57.9 1633 114.6 66 113 5.46 3.4% 4.1%
2009 8-5 Andrew Luck 288 56.3 2575 143.5 61 354 8.39 4.3% 1.1%
2010 12-1 Andrew Luck 372 70.7 3338 170.2 55 453 8.88 8.2% 1.9%
2011 11-2 Andrew Luck 404 71.3 3517 169.7 47 150 8.13 8.6% 2.2%
2012 12-2 Josh Nunes 235 52.8 1643 119.6 27 74 6.55 5.0% 2.7%
Kevin Hogan 152 71.7 1096 147.9 55 263 6.57 5.3% 1.4%

TD rate and INT rate on the right are percentages for all attempts (passing and rushing

The sophomore Luck won the job over the incumbent senior Pritchard in 2009, but it was his junior season, 2010, when he really became Andrew Luck.

[Jump for 2009-2010 targets and the San Francisco story]

H4: Hall of Harbaugh Quarterbacks, Part 1

H4: Hall of Harbaugh Quarterbacks, Part 1

Submitted by Seth on February 10th, 2015 at 10:15 AM

Michigan's offense this year is facing the mother of all X factors in its quarterback situation. Brady Hoke left the rest of the team in relatively great shape, but its most important position in a Shane-or-die position.

Hoke and his staff recruited just Russell Bellomy (a last-minute flier stolen from Purdue) in the hybrid 2011 class, and skipped a quarterback altogether in 2012 because they already had a commitment from Morris in 2013. This was a bad idea then, and worked out awfully for Michigan. Bellomy's injury ruined any chance of a badly needed redshirt for Shane, so even if Morris worked out he'd be gone after 2016. And if he didn't work out: Michigan was going into this year hoping to catch lightning in a freshman from either lone 2014 recruit Wilton Speight, or early enrollee Alex Malzone.

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From left: Morris, Speight, Malzone, Gentry, O'Korn. O'Korn won't be eligible in 2015 due to transfer rules but gives Michigan a guy they didn't have between Morris Speight.

This won't happen under Harbaugh. The former Michigan and NFL star likes lots of bullets and lots of competition at his old position, which he personally coaches. Harbaugh has already added the high-ceilinged Zach Gentry, a perfect complement to the high-floor Malzone. By this time next year (unless there's attrition), Michigan should have the above plus two years of eligibility remaining on Houston transfer John O'Korn, and likely one or two of the nation's best freshmen.

What I'd like to do, then, is go back through Harbaugh's quarterbacks—the starters and the recruits—to see if we can find any common threads in the type of guy he adds to the pile, and the type of guy who emerges from it.

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jim-harbaugh---wku3-3_4
Jim used his Orlando offseason home as a base from which to recruit the talent-rich region for WKU. [USA Today]

Western Kentucky
Recruiting assistant, 1994-2001

Bo's former defensive backs coach Jack Harbaugh was coaching at Western Kentucky, and struggling through his first few years, when the school decided it would cut two assistant coaching positions and a handful of scholarships (they already put very little toward equipment). His sons offered to do some scouting and recruiting for him—John from Cincinnati and Jim from his house in Orlando—and the harvest from those recruits was an WKU's rise to a I-AA national championship in 2002 and eventual reclassification into Division I-A.

The Jim-John co-op (John was doing much of the scouting, passing on guys Indiana couldn't recruit) was personally credited with 17 players on the national championship team. Nick Baumgardner got the story of Jim's first quarterback recruit, Willie Taggart:

Harbaugh explained he was trying to round up some talent for his dad's program. He told Taggart that he and his father were watching tape of Manatee and asked, "Who is that little skinny guy?" Jim said he thought he should play quarterback in college and he'd come by the school on Tuesday at lunch to discuss it further.

Taggart hung up and assumed it was a prank or something. "I called my high school coach and he checked on it and said, 'Yeah, Jim is Jack Harbaugh's son.'

Manatee was a Tampa area powerhouse back then, so Taggart's a guy who absolutely would have shown up on recruiting radars today, and had FBS programs looking at him then. He became the best QB in school history, improving a 2-8 team in in 1995 to 7-4 in '96 and 10-2 in '97. Taggart is now USF's head coach, and was an assistant for Jim at Stanford.

Taggart returned to WKU in 2000 and ran an option offense that rotated between three candidates. The original winner was Jason Johnson. They got the 6'3/200 Johnson out of Palmetto, but with the limited scholarships they couldn't offer him one out of high school. Johnson went to a military college for a few years before being re-recruited:

It was during that second season that Johnson had to renter the recruiting game. He was in contact with a number of Division programs, including Clemson, South Carolina, Kansas State and Indiana, but in the end Western won out.

Donte Pimpleton was the second, a local-ish dual-threat kid who wound up playing receiver—there isn't anything on the internet connecting his recruitment to the brothers. The third candidate, and the starter of the 2002 championship team, was Jason Michael, another local recruit, onetime Jim Harbaugh assistant in SF and now the OC of the Tennessee Titans,

Jim did recruit Alan Ogletree, an overlooked athlete from Atlanta who ended up starting at every position in the defensive and offensive backfield for the Hilltoppers (QB, RB, FB, WR, CB, SS, FS, K, P).

[After the jump: Raiders and San Diego]

This Week's Obsession: Alex Malzone: a Henson or a Cone?

This Week's Obsession: Alex Malzone: a Henson or a Cone?

Submitted by Seth on May 21st, 2014 at 10:44 AM

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Camps are forming around Malzone: is he a program savior who just happened to be born in the right state rooting for the right team, or is he a Plan B kind of guy you'd expect to go to State in a heretofore "normal" year? Where would you put him on the Cone-Henson Scale?

Explanation of the Cone-Henson Scale of Quarterback Recruit Excitement Level:

Cone is the guy you get when Henne just completed his freshman season, and you only hope to see in freestyle rap videos or junk time against Delaware State; Henson was the late-'90s equivalent of top overall player in the country. He who cannot be charted not charted--went back to '98 so it won't be the "Cone-Mallett" scale. I have them ranked worst to first within the categories, which are:

  • Need the Dudes: David Cone ('05), Justin Feagin ('08), Jermaine Gonzalez ('00), Spencer Brinton ('01transfer), Russell Bellomy ('11), Jason Forcier ('06)
  • Seems Like Our Kind of Guy: Steve Threet ('07 transfer), Wilton Speight ('13), Tate Forcier ('09), Clayton Richard ('03), Andy Mignery ('99), Matt Gutierrez ('02), John Navarre ('99), Shane Morris ('13)
  • Hey-O!: Devin Gardner ('10), Chad Henne ('04), Ryan Mallett ('07), Drew Henson ('98)

---------------------------

Ace: I'd say Malzone fits snugly into the middle category. I expect that by the end of the recruiting cycle, if not sooner, he'll be a four-star or close to it on all of the recruiting services—Scout already has him there, the Rivals guys are hinting he'll get the bump when the non-Rivals250 four-stars are released Wednesday, and ESPN left him entirely unranked despite a glowing evaluation. 247 at least ranks Malzone, but has him behind a few players with very limited offers—the pro-style QB three spots in front of him on their position rankings holds this offer sheet: Arkansas State, Charleston Southern, Georgia State, Marshall, Middle Tennessee State. I think Malzone's gonna jump that guy.

michigan-qbs
In '96, Jason Kapsner was a recruit on par with Mallett. Michigan didn't take a QB in '97 but people figured with Kaps, Dreisbach and Brady on the roster, Henson might have to wait until 2001 for the roster to clear out. [SI]

Also supporting Malzone as an "our kind of guy" recruit is the timing of his commitment; if Michigan didn't feel he was capable of being a quality college starter, they wouldn't have offered him eight months before Signing Day in a class with room for just one quarterback. Also, Malzone seemed like a prospect who would've committed to Michigan regardless of when they offered—being a Wolverine was clearly a lifelong dream of his—and U-M evaluated plenty of highly ranked QB prospects; there was no reason to offer when they did if they didn't believe he'd be able to supplant Morris (or Speight) when the time comes.

Finally, there's his film, various camp evaluations, and recent offers; all point to Malzone as an accurate passer with solid arm strength and the intelligence to quickly absorb and take command of a playbook. The area most cited for improvement last fall, Malzone's baseball-influenced mechanics, had become a source of praise by this spring's camp season. His height (6'2") and lack of a Henne/Mallett/Morris-level cannon will probably keep him from being an NFL prospect; that doesn't so much matter at the college level, however, and I see no reason he can't succeed as a starter at Michigan.

[jump]

Hokepoints Has a Running Quarterback

Hokepoints Has a Running Quarterback

Submitted by Seth on May 6th, 2014 at 11:08 AM

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read option [Fuller]

I am determined this spring to mine every possible stat for every possible insight. This week I delved into quarterback rushes. Not sacks. I wanted to know which offenses tended to have their quarterbacks take off, or planned runs for them into their game plans.

Baseline: here's Michigan and their opponents last year. Sacks and yardage lost to them are not counted, but I couldn't tell from scrambles and QB sneaks, or stuff like if he took off for 10 yards on 3rd and 15 that defenses are happy to give up:

Season Avg vs Mich
Opponent QB Rush Yards QB Rush Yards
Central Michigan 1.8 8 5 11
Notre Dame 1.5 3 0 0
Akron 4.6 19 3 11
Connecticut 2.5 3 3 -4
Minnesota 14.4 77 18 69
Penn State 2.4 4 2 0
Indiana 8.9 42 10 60
Michigan State 4.5 17 4 1
Nebraska 8.8 35 12 31
Northwestern 10.8 58 24 92
Iowa 5.2 25 5 26
Ohio State 14.7 119 14 165
Kansas State 19.2 97 14 76
NCAA Avg 7.5 40.0 8.8 41.4

Indiana, Nebraska, Northwestern, Ohio State, and Kansas State ran option games. Minnesota's offense was QB power running (thing it is like: Michigan's 2010 offense when Rodriguez gave up on trying to make Denard into a zone reader). According to the UFR database Minnesota quarterback running plays vs Michigan were as follows: 7 QB powers; 2 draws; 2 zone read keepers; a false zone arc sweep thing, a QB sneak, and 7 scrambles.

The stats can't tell the difference between this kind of offense and a dedicated Richrodigan spread 'n shred. There aren't many teams who run this as their base offense, as simple as it may be, but a lot of teams have a mobile change-of-pace quarterback and a small package built around him. Notable teams who deployed a second guy:

Player (2014 Elig) Team % of Snaps % Will Pass Rush Pass
Austin Boucher (graduated) Miami(NTM) 51% 73% 80 211
Austin Gearing (So.) 35% 35% 129 70
Drew Kummer (Jr.) 14% 71% 22 55
Nate Sudfeld (Jr.) Indiana 61% 94% 22 338
Tre Roberson (Jr.) 38% 62% 84 139
C.J. Brown (11th year Sr.) Maryland 73% 72% 119 303
Caleb Rowe (Jr.) 26% 91% 14 136
Philip Nelson (transferred) Minnesota 59% 72% 79 200
Mitch Leidner (So.) 38% 51% 89 91
Gary Nova (Sr.) Rutgers 68% 93% 25 328
Chas Dodd (graduated) 32% 87% 21 143
Tommy Armstrong (So.) Nebraska 39% 68% 63 135
Ron Kellogg III (graduated) 31% 90% 16 141
Taylor Martinez (graduated) 30% 77% 34 116
Trevor Siemian (Sr.) Northwestern 63% 92% 29 315
Kain Colter (graduated) 36% 50% 98 99
Braxton Miller (Sr.) Ohio State 72% 65% 150 276
Kenny Guiton (graduated) 25% 74% 39 110

I included Rutgers to show Chas Dodd wasn't a Drew Henson-ian run threat except in comparison to Gary Nova.

[Jump: Okay spread zealots, do teams with running QBs have an advantage?]

This Week's Obsession: Dual Threat

This Week's Obsession: Dual Threat

Submitted by Seth on September 18th, 2013 at 11:34 AM

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[Fuller]

The weekly roundtable wonders about this whole "let's not get another Gardner" plan (that isn't the plan). Our depth chart:

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What, my Henson-ian athleticism isn't good enough for ya? [Upchurch]
  • Brian Cook: Field General!
  • Seth Fisher: Legit 4.4 Speed!
  • Ace Anbender: Top Recruiter!
  • Heiko Yang: Huge Arm!
  • Blue in South Bend: Super Accurate!
  • Coach Brown: Reads Defenses!
  • Mathlete: Academic All-American!

This one comes from the mailbag, a guy appropriately named "Dual Threat." If you notice a whole lot of positivity in it, it's because it was sent before last Saturday. I'll posit his question as he sent it:

My point of view is we should be recruiting more dual threat-ers. While Morris and Speight are no doubt going to be good pocket passers, leaving the running aspect of the position off the table leaves a huge hole in the offensive arsenal going forward.

I feel dual threat QBs are going to be the future of dominant college football programs going forward (I see Alabama as a current exception, not the norm in the future). Would you not sacrifice a bit of QB passing ability for a chunk of QB running ability to open up that attack dimension? Wouldn't you be foolish not to? Thoughts?

Brian: It's clear that all things being equal, Michigan's going to prefer advanced passers to guys who can glide for 35 yards without looking like they're moving particularly fast. And that's a little bit of a bummer to me, since a guy who can make people pay with his legs opens up many more possibilities in your offense. 

What remains to be seen is whether Michigan is going to completely eschew athletic types that need some molding. Would they go the Charlie Weis route and recruit Terrelle Pryor as a wide receiver? I have nothing to base this on but I don't think so. If there's a Gardner or Pryor in the area, Michigan will probably go after them as hard as they would Morris.

[Jump]

Dear Diary for the Positive Points Differential

Dear Diary for the Positive Points Differential

Submitted by Seth on August 16th, 2013 at 10:44 AM

Here's a photo that pretty much captures the quarterback depth chart:

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Fuller from the Media Day set

Borges is re-teaching Michigan about the magic of throwing this object. Freshman Garrett Moores (15) is utterly confounded by this. Alex Swieca (13) is thinking about how he can get this object to the turf. Cleary is represented only by a noodly arm. Bellomy and Morris stand in the background, tempting yet inaccessible. And then Gardner, who just has SO MANY ideas of what he can do with this brown oblong thing, smiling because he knows physics will only be a mild hindrance.

Reminding again of the Friday, September 6 event featuring Marlin Jackson and MGoBlog. MGoPatio is behind the 2nd house on the right on Berkley. We plan to start gathering around 7pm and Marlin will join us at 8. Still looking for one or two more co-sponsors for that. Free to come with an optional donation to Marlin's Foundation and/or the beer fund.

Leave it to LSAClassof2000 to verbosify a concept as simple as "loss." He compared 3rd down performance (o minus d) to winning and made pretty charts going back to the Year of Infinite Pain claiming he's discovered r-squared's latest favorite win correlation. Let's play…

IS IT MORE TELLING THAN YARDS PER PLAY?

Compare M's yardage differential to 3rd down differential and see when losing the 3rd down battle affected the outcome:

Opponent Off YPP Def YPP YPP Diff 3rdDwn Diff Result
Illinois 7.98 2.53 +5.45 +14 W 45-0
UMass 8.60 3.92 +4.68 +12 W 63-13
Iowa 8.27 5.15 +3.12 +6 W 42-17
Air Force 7.54 4.63 +2.91 -7 W 31-25
Minnesota 6.59 3.99 +2.6 -3 W 35-13
Purdue 5.84 3.49 +2.35 +4 W 44-13
Northwestern 6.76 5.46 +1.30 -6 W 38-31
MSU 5.26 4.68 +0.58 even W 12-10
Ohio State 5.94 5.66 +0.28 -9 L 21-26
Notre Dame 4.53 4.78 -0.25 +5 L 6-13
Alabama 4.80 6.84 -2.04 -9 L 14-41
Nebraska 2.94 5.02 -2.08 -2 L 9-23
S Carolina 4.33 8.04 -3.71 +7 L 28-33

Hey, whaddaya know: the games when Michigan averaged a half a yard per play or more better than their opponent they won. Third downs mattered in keeping the South Carolina, Northwestern and Air Force games closer than they might have been, and a –9 differential at Ohio State accounts for some but perhaps too little of the 21-26 final score. YPP is still better.

I'm giving Diarist of the Week to Six Zero for his best interview yet, though it should probably go to the interviewee, that champion of Mixed Marital Arts, CRex. The Cliff Notes:

Uh, Michigan? Never heard; not real school.

Stop Ruining a Funny Joke By Being Srsly. Njia wrote a Bleacher Report-y thing collecting crazy coaching moments; I'm only mentioning it because for the last friggin' time the Woody Hayes turtle story is a joke. It's a good joke. It's a very OLD joke. Hayes was insane and yes, Urban Meyer and the truth haven't been on speaking terms for a long time, but this story is an example of neither of those things because it is just a joke.

Etc. In the final episode of the k.o.k.Law miniseries our heroes enter The Dome in Atlanta with a hoops national title on the line. Oh. My. God, Becky, look at Jake Butt.

[Jump for Best of the Board and Zen]

Devin Gardner and the Quarterback Holy Grail

Devin Gardner and the Quarterback Holy Grail

Submitted by The Mathlete on July 24th, 2013 at 4:36 PM

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Since 2003 only two quarterbacks have been worth two full touchdowns, 14 points, above average* over the course of the entire season. Colt Brennan’s 2006 season at Hawaii was the first and Tim Tebow became the first major conference player to do it in his Heisman Trophy 2007 season at Florida (Michigan did their part to stop him, holding him to a season low +5.9 in Lloyd Carr’s final game).

*adjusted for strength of opponent’s throughout the entire study

Last year in five starts Devin Gardner’s PAN was, you guessed it, over 14 points. Gardner started out on fire, averaging +17.2 in his first three starts at quarterback against Minnesota, Northwestern and Iowa. Against Ohio State and South Carolina, he was still in double digits, but his final average ended at +14.7 for the season. Could this be the prelude to a world class 2013 season for Gardner or just a hot hand off of the bench?

The Other Hot Hands

swinecheesedome

To look into this possibility I looked for every quarterback since 2003 who has produced a five game streak (1AA games excluded) of at least +14 like Devin Gardner did last year. I wanted to understand how common a five game run at this level was and if there was any parallel between a great five game stretch and overall great quarterbacking.

In addition to Gardner, 28 other quarterbacks have accomplished the feat. The others on the list are a virtual Who’s Who of the last decade of college quarterbacks. Three players did it who are still in the NCAA. Johhny Manziel, Marcus Mariota and Tajh Boyd managed the task and are mainstays on preseason All-American lists. Of the 25 other players who have done it and have moved on with their careers, 13 have started an NFL game and 10 are projected starters for the 2013 season. I can’t think of any other college stat that could predict NFL starter status at an over 50% rate. The group of players who have done what Devin Gardner did last season includes the following NFL starters:

Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay (Cal, 2003)

Alex Smith, Kansas City (Utah, 2004)

Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh (Miami (NTM), 2003)

Cam Newton, Carolina (Auburn, 2010)

Colin Kaepernick, San Francisco (Nevada, 2010)

Matthew Stafford, Detroit (Georgia, 2008)

Philip Rivers, San Diego (NC St, 2003)

Robert Griffin, Washington (Baylor, 2011)

Russell Wilson, Seattle (Wisconsin, 2011)

Sam Bradford, St Louis (Oklahoma, 2008)

Denard Robinson, Andrew Luck, Christian Ponder and Mark Sanchez all just missed the cutoff with 5 game runs averaging +13.

Add to them first round selections and former starters Matt Leinart, Tim Tebow and Brady Quinn and you have an over 50% likelihood of becoming an NFL starter based purely on your best five game stretch.

Of the remaining twelve cases, only four came from a Big 5 conference school. Graham Harrell did it in 2008 for Mike Leach at Texas Tech, Nick Florence did it last year for Baylor, Zac Robinson did it in 2007 at Oklahoma State and former Michigan quarterback Ryan Mallett did it in 2009 at Arkansas.

Every player is going to have ups and downs but based on where the other players have gone that have accomplished 5 game streaks on par with Devin Gardner’s five game run as a starter, this is not a fluky performance accomplished by many. Those that have done it at major programs have a high likelihood of an NFL future.

How Good Will Devin Gardner be This Year

I honestly have no clue. I do feel confident that he should be pretty darn good. Quarterbacks who have had a streak of +14 have maintained very high performance even after such a streak so regression to the mean is still a highly positive outcome in most of these situations.

The hardest thing to get a grasp on how Devin Gardner projects is that his situation is so unique. On the one hand he was a five star quarterback coming out of high school stuck on the bench behind a Michigan icon. On the other hand he never looked great at quarterback until the five game stretch. He is more suited to what Al Borges is looking to do than Denard but is still more dual threat than Borges’ preferred traditional drop back style.

Adding to the uniqueness of Gardner’s situation is the fact that no other player made the list in his first five starts. There are hardly any that had a five game +14 streak in their first year as a starter let alone in their first five starts. Every one of the players on list did in the context of a full season as starter and of course none of them spent the prior eight games at wide receiver.

I do think Gardner should be one of the top couple quarterbacks in the Big Ten next season, at the very least. The big question that this raised is how high is his ceiling. After looking at the company and the challenges that came into it for Gardner I think it’s safe to say the ceiling is officially gone. I have looked at college football statistics every which way for years and no look has stood out to me as much as this one in its ability to translate to future success. Hopefully that bodes well for Michigan’s seasonand Gardner’s pro potential.