The 2015 Quarterback Picture

Submitted by Brandon Brown on October 6th, 2013 at 10:05 AM

QB Position

Michigan has only offered one quarterback in the 2015 class in Josh Rosen, and he will not be a Wolverine. He told me that he’s already got a pretty good idea of where he wants to play his college ball, and that Michigan is too cold for him. That being said, which signal-callers could be on deck for a Michigan offer?

Kevin Dillman
Dual-threat Dillman is probably Michigan's top target for the class.

Kevin Dillman (La Mirada HS – La Mirada, CA) Kevin Dillman is an interesting recruit as he was born in Sweden and has only lived in the United States for about three years. In his short time playing football in America he has garnered a ton of attention and is rated as a 5-star quarterback on some recruiting services. He recently named a top two of Nebraska and Michigan and he looks like the next best bet to receive an offer. He also hasn’t been shy and has openly expressed his affinity for the Wolverines and might be the most likely to commit from this list. Dillman has double-digit offers already from Nebraska, Clemson, Florida State, Louisville, UCLA and more. Couple that with his prototypical size-- 6’4”, 225--and he’s worthy of his 5-star status.

He possesses elite athleticism, playing wide receiver, kick returner, and safety for his high school squad. This is not your typical pretty-boy QB; he’s physical, tough, and looks natural running the ball or dropping back and setting his feet when letting it fly. He has some of the more impressive film out there for 2015 QBs.

I think it is a question of when rather than if he receives a Michigan offer. Dillman told me that he’s taking his recruitment slowly right now to focus on his season but his knowledge for the Wolverines is always growing.

I actually don’t know much about Michigan history and stuff right now but I like the fact that they’re moving back to a more pro-style offense. The reason Michigan has been standing out for me is because growing up in Sweden I always looked up to and tried to learn from Tom Brady. The fact that he went to Michigan is the reason why I’ve had my eyes open for Michigan.

Dillman currently lives with a host family in California and tells me that distance will be a non-issue for him as he has already went through the “moving out of the house” transition. He wouldn’t quite name Michigan his favorite, but he said they are definitely up there for him and he plans to get more questions answered about his recruitment at the end of his season.

More targets after the jump.

Nick Johns (Gonzaga HS – Washington D.C.) Nick Johns is a pro-style quarterback with great size at 6’3” and 215 lbs. His highlight showcases his ability to throw accurately on the move which looks to be one of his biggest strengths. He plays in a hybrid-spread type of offense, mostly out of the shotgun, but looks comfortable under center as well. Johns and I spoke and he seemed very excited when I asked him if he’d been receiving any attention from the Wolverines.

Yes! I actually got my first few hand-written letters from them the other day! If Michigan were to offer, let’s just say they would be very high in my choices.

Johns currently just holds one offer from close-to-home Virginia, who notably has been recruiting very well as of late. Most recently Johns has sent his mid-season film to Tennessee, Georgia, Vanderbilt, Wake Forest, Pitt, Virginia Tech, Penn State, and North Carolina. He did say that Michigan would definitely be receiving his film as well, especially since the coaches have reached out to him with the letters.

Sheriron Jones
A Gardner-like player, Jones's areas for improvement include his school's fashion sense.

Sheriron Jones (Rancho Verde HS – Moreno Valley, CA) One of our recent obsessions discussed the type of quarterback that would be most effective in college football, and specifically in Al Borges’ offense. I’ve stuck to the claim that a dual-threat, or at least a guy with decent mobility, should always be considered first because of the extra dimension it brings on to the field. Sheriron Jones fits that bill. He is definitely a pass-first quarterback but he can do some damage with his legs. He’s an impressive-looking athlete and reminds me a bit of Devin Gardner actually with his lean frame, arm strength, and running ability. Jones is in regular contact with the Michigan coaching staff but he did tell me it had been a little while since he last called them. I asked him if he was still feeling Michigan since he hadn’t called them in a while and he bluntly responded:

Is that a real question? You know I do.

He didn’t say it in a way as if he was offended, more so to ensure me that his lack of recent contact was not indicative of a lack of interest. Jones doesn’t have a leader right now but did say he is “definitely feeling Michigan quite a bit.” Tight ends coach Dan Ferrigno is his area recruiter and when he next talks to him he plans to discuss where he stands on the Michigan recruiting board and whether or not he should send his film from his first five games.

Jones clearly has a lot of interest in Michigan but I got the impression that he was wide open as far as a top group is concerned and he even told me that he’d like to get an offer from “everyone” when I asked him who he was most interested in. He has just two offers from Arizona and Arizona State so being coy is in his best interest at this point in his recruitment.

Kyle Kearns
Kearns is a short pass-first California kid who's been well-coached. Think Forcier minus the Forcier-ness.

Kyle Kearns (Foothill HS – Pleasanton, CA) Another Cali QB that is getting regular attention from the Michigan coaching staff is Kyle Kearns. Kearns is a pro-style quarterback and when I watch his film I am impressed by his quick release and his footwork. You can tell he’s been well-coached as he always tries to set his feet and throw from his front foot.

He’s not nearly as mobile as the other Cali QBs, but he’s not a statue either. Kearns speaks with Coach Borges and Coach Ferrigno weekly and openly admits to being very interested in Michigan. 247 has him rated as a 3-star (the composite gives him a 4-star rating) and only lists him at 6’1”, which could be a reason for his empty offer sheet at this point. Even though he’s not the most highly rated target, the fact that he regularly talks with the Michigan coaches means there is a mutual interest and there’s always a chance that could get him a more personal look by the staff which could lead to an offer. See: Wilton Speight.

Alex Malzone (Brother Rice HS – Bloomfield Hills, MI) Alex Malzone is starting to become a more popular name among quarterback targets, partially just because he seems to be the one in-state kid that will get a look in the 2015 class. Malzone was in attendance for the Minnesota game and was also in The Big House for the Notre Dame game, but was more of a fan than a recruit that day. Malzone has recently been visited by Coach Mallory and has been in regular contact with recruiting assistant Dan Ifft. Coach Ifft told Malzone that the coaches would like to begin a regular contact schedule so they can communicate weekly as the rest of Alex’s season progresses. Malzone has also made tentative plans to attend the regular season finale against Ohio State this November. While Malzone wouldn’t quite call Michigan his dream school he did say that they were “definitely one of his favorites” even though he is starting to develop strong relationships with the staffs from Penn State, Ohio State, Maryland, Vanderbilt, Toledo, WMU, BGSU, and Tennessee, saying he speaks to those schools weekly. The simple fact that Malzone is in Michigan’s backyard makes him a name to watch moving forward.

Riley Neal
A cross between Philip Rivers and Tony Romo except mean Matt Stafford? [Courtesy of Ashley Conti/The Star Press]

Riley Neal (Yorktown HS – Yorktown, IN) At 6’5” and 200 lbs. Riley Neal is the type pro-style arm that catches the eye of the current staff. He told me that he receives a lot of letters from the coaches and talks to Coach Borges weekly. Neal was also in attendance for the Minnesota game. He doesn’t hold any offers yet but did assure me that Michigan will be in the mix for him throughout his recruitment regardless of who offers him. When watching Neal’s film he shows nice touch on his throws but has a bit of an unorthodox delivery that I’d call a cross between Tony Romo and Philip Rivers. It’s a little sidearm, a little pushy, and the release is a bit low for someone who is 6’5”. The end result doesn’t seem to be affected but it’s definitely not textbook. His size is going to be attractive at the college level but his lack of rating on 247 is probably justified at this point in his recruitment.

Brady White (Hart HS – Newhall, CA) I’m going to be lazy on White as he was just profiled last week in a Names to Watch piece here.

As the high schools seasons near and pass the midway point, evaluations are beginning to take shape and I heard Sam Webb say that he expects an offer or offers to be dealt within the next month or two to a 2015 quarterback prospect. I believe it will be to someone on this list and I’d rank these prospects as follows:

  1. Kevin Dillman
  2. Kyle Kearns
  3. Riley Neal
  4. Sheriron Jones
  5. Brady White
  6. Nick Johns
  7. Alex Malzone

I think Dillman should be priority #1 based on his film. He’s a gamer and has a toughness and a quality about him you like to see at the quarterback position.

Kearns and Neal are both already in regular contact with the coaching staff which tells me that they must be somewhere near the top of the board.

Jones and White are in the next tier as they have openly expressed their interest in Michigan despite both being from California.

Johns has just recently started to receive hand-written personal attention from the staff, but he’s probably not as high on the board as the previously mentioned targets.

Malzone may eventually move up this list but for now he’s an in-state kid that the coaches have easy access to and would probably value the offer more than the other targets.



October 6th, 2013 at 10:24 AM ^

Has Dillman attended any camps or combines?  His film shows he's a great athlete, tough and has good size, but he rarely throws the ball downfield.  I'm just wondering what type of arm he has?  Is it strong and/or accurate on somethin other than a short pass?  If someone rated a him 5* QB, I'm assuming it was based on more than his YouTube highlights.

Space Coyote

October 6th, 2013 at 9:54 PM ^

And good rotation on the ball. Gets good zip, so he can make all the throws. Needs to be more consistent on those things though, so that his ball doesn't hang, and of course needs to improve footwork to improve accuracy. But pure arm and arm potential isn't a question, the question is if he looks to have the ability to be consistent.


October 6th, 2013 at 10:50 AM ^

It certainly seems like his unabashed desire for a Michigan offer will help his case.  The staff seems to want to offer qb's that they know will commit fairly quickly.  If they think he can be a legit passer, Doesnt seem to be any reason why he won't get an offer. 

Red is Blue

October 6th, 2013 at 10:58 AM ^

Even though '15 is going to be a small class any chance they take Dillman and Malzone? Dillman sounds pretty athletic and could maybe switch positions after a year if he doesn't develop as a qb. If he does develop, then maybe skip qb recruiting in '16. I'd like to see Malzone go Blue.

Young John Beilein

October 6th, 2013 at 11:46 AM ^

I highly doubt that will happen.  I think it is exceedingly rare for a kid with any D1 offers to walk on somewhere else.  Cleary had no offers listed on his rivals profile, so that comparison doesn't really fit.  In addition, it's still pretty early in the process and many schools don't offer QB's until a bit later.  I expect him to at least get some Big East/ ACC/ lower Big Ten offers as the recruiting cycle progresses.

Ron Utah

October 6th, 2013 at 9:32 PM ^

One thing is for sure: in a small class, there is NO WAY they give two scholarships to QBs.  Hoke has been strict about keeping it to one per class, even when there were only two scholarship QBs on the roster.

A preferred walk-on probably won't be enough to lure Malzone, who will have offers at other good D1 schools before it's all said and done.


October 6th, 2013 at 11:03 AM ^

Well this will be a nice test case about the earlier debates on whether the staff would recruit a guy like Devin Gardener. If I recall, the MGoStaff seemed to think they would, but those prospects just don't come around often. Well Dilliman seems like one of those guys. Lets see of they go after him, or are looking for guys only in the mild of Speight or Morris.


October 6th, 2013 at 11:27 AM ^

I will disagree slightly.  I think someone like Drew Stanton would more split the difference although hedge him more towards "mobile" than pro style.  I think Morris is more like an Andrew Luck who when is pressured can go take a few steps outside and/or scramble for a chunk here or there but you dont really see as a mobile QB per se, just someone with some scoots.  I am not saying Morris is Andrew Luck with the arm, just saying in terms of mobility that is someone he seems more like and I wouldnt put Luck at splitting the difference between say Navarre and Devin/Denard.   Also Speight for how friggin huge he is actually sesems to have more (at least modest) wheels than most of us assumed.  Again not going to go and run for 30 yards but he puts up some half decent running yards for a guy who is supposedly a "statue".


October 6th, 2013 at 11:22 AM ^

I thought Brady White was higher on the pecking order as there was smoke there about 2 months ago and you don't hear much about the coaches interest in QBs until they actually pull the trigger.  But who knows.  My concern with Dillman is the same as Denard  - I am sure he can throw a ball 50 yards.  The question is can be throw a 30 yard out pattern anywhere near the target on a consistent basis.  Or just downfield in general (20-25 yards) with consistency.   Strength is fine but accuracy is what makes or breaks a QB - see Kellen Moore who has spaghetti for an arm but his accuracy is off the charts and he not only had a stellar college career but even is on a NFL roster.   I am not saying recruit a Kellen Moore but a strong armed accurate QB is priority #1, hopefully with some mobility.  That said if Dillman has enough raw material with 2 QBs ahead of him and 1 in every class behind every 3rd year or so I'd be more than happy to take a flier on more of a project with the understanding he will either be a big hit or a potential bomb.  As  someone else said he could always be moved to another position if he has the athleticism.

Last, can we borrow some Red Wing scouts to scour Sweden? Seems to be some good talent out of there the last few years. ;)