Could we be nearing our second 2014 commit?

Submitted by wresler120 on January 30th, 2013 at 11:52 PM

Michigan will likely take only one quarterback in the class of 2014, and it appears they may be close to snagging that commitment. Wilton Speight (6,6, 220), a junior out of Virginia has been receiving interest from Michigan, along with schools like Alabama, USC and Georgia. Per Speight he was told by Michigan that if they offer they would like a commitment from him on the spot, so they can essentially wrap up their qb recruitment for the 2014 class.

Speight has been hearing from Michigan a lot recently, and he was told by Coach Montgomery that they would like to see him throw soon. Well, it turns out that soon will be Friday when Coach Borges makes a visit to see him throw. It's quite possible that Borges could offer on the spot, and a good possibility that Speight may commit on the spot.

This one could be interesting.






January 31st, 2013 at 6:02 AM ^

Quarterbacks seem to be a different animal.  They often commit early and then turn on the recruiting charm, trying to lure other recruits.  Since they're typically used to being leaders, they don't seem to be as wishy-washy.  Just look at what Shane Morris has done over the past couple years.


January 31st, 2013 at 8:16 AM ^

Yeah, well...those guys were both guys with questionable levels of talent and commitment.  Newsome transferred from Penn State to Temple to sit on the bench, Beaver left Tulsa to play at Midwestern State, etc.  The Gardner thing was a no-brainer because he was a talented kid in Michigan's backyard, but I don't know that Rich Rodriguez had a great eye for finding both talent and character.


January 31st, 2013 at 8:36 AM ^

If they offered only one QB, that would be a first time it's happened anytime in recent memory.  IIRC, the 2013 class has the fewest QB offers with just three - Morris, Kevin Olsen, and Riley Ferguson.

I think it's kind of a risky move.  You should probably offer your first choice first, but if he doesn't bite soon-ish, I think you have to send out at least a couple other offers fairly soon.  Otherwise, you run the risk of making the guys feel "unloved" while other schools are swooping in.


January 31st, 2013 at 12:20 AM ^

I am not a big fan of this approach if it is indeed true.

I think we should have taken a second QB in the 2013 class (I am not sold on Morris being the long term answer), this means that we should take 2 in 2014 and possibly 2015.

Assuming Gardner doesn't get the redshirt for 2014 this is our depth chart:

RS JR Bellomy

RS(?) FR Morris


Not very ideal, but I guess thats why they pay the coaches the big bucks.


January 31st, 2013 at 12:28 AM ^

Seriously, you want to keep 5 qbs on scholarship?

The problem with taking 2 qbs last year is, what guy who could start at Michigan wants to compete all 4-5 years against a top 5 pocket qb? You can rarely sign 2 elite qbs in one class.

Don't forget, Henne was a frosh when he started.


January 31st, 2013 at 12:32 AM ^

You are not "sold on Shane Morris being the long term answer"

Are you a Sparty? They call him "Jesus Morris" over there since he denied their offer of a scholly.

The thing is, you don't need to be "sold" for a few years.

Kid's got a rocket arm and it looks like he can lead.

We'll learn fast if he responds to the coaching.



January 31st, 2013 at 1:00 AM ^

I'm sorry having a differing opinion than you makes me a Sparty.

I've been a Michigan fan since the fourth grade, so I am not going to argue with that.

Honestly I hope I am wrong, but I just do not think Morris is going to be as good as Gardner is and will be.

Perkis-Size Me

January 31st, 2013 at 7:41 AM ^

Why are you not sold on Morris yet? I mean yeah, he's got his flaws, but so does every QB when he enters his freshman year. I'm not worried about his performance from the Under Armour game because he's fresh off of being struck with mono and had to learn a new offense on the fly. He doesn't have anything that can't be corrected, which is why his redshirt year is so vital. Hopefully Gardner will get his medical redshirt and give Morris another year to get comfortable with the system, learn to make all his reads, work on his accuracy, etc. In short, Morris has areas he needs improvement in, but he's got all the core components you want in your starter. He can make all the throws, he's not a statue in the pocket, he's a competitor, and he's got great leadership from everything I hear about him.


January 31st, 2013 at 8:14 AM ^

Morris doesn't show the most consistency or the best accuracy.  What good is throwing the ball 70 yards if it's not anywhere near our receivers?

I am skeptical if Morris is the long term answer, but I am hopeful.  If he responds to coaching and can gets the timing down with his receivers the sky is the limit.  But if he doesn't adjust well to the college game in a couple years, we're going to rely on Bellomy which I'm not comfortable with, or a player not on the team yet.  I'm confident the coaches will figure it out.

Perkis-Size Me

January 31st, 2013 at 10:22 AM ^

True points. I certainly understand the skepticism, but like you said, if he responds well to coaching, there's no limit to what he can accomplish. My point is that every QB recruit has at least one flaw that needs work when they come in. But if Morris puts the time and effort in, and there's nothing out there to suggest he won't, there's no flaw he has that can't be corrected.


January 31st, 2013 at 7:59 AM ^

Not sure if you saw Devin Garner in the State Championship game against Lowell but he was awful!  I thought he would never amount to anything.  Even looking at him this spring, I thought we were in major trouble.  In two years, Shane Morris will be a very competent QB.

San Diego Mick

January 31st, 2013 at 2:10 AM ^

I immediately thought of John Navarre and then I watched his film and saw how accurately he throws on the run, across his body, ran the option and scrambled really well.

He looks good to me, I trust our coaches.


January 31st, 2013 at 4:08 AM ^

He seems to throw well on the run and does a solid job making a strong throw with pressure. It's hard to tell when receivers are always behind the secondary. What kind of competition does this kid play against? Maybe he will be a mid star/level recruit who could be good but won't scare away a top flight kid who wants to compete.


January 31st, 2013 at 5:41 AM ^

We've heard rumblings that kids seem pressured to commit early but never heard a prospect say that as a fact. If a kid is pressured to commit (by the coaches) that only make it more likely that he decommits later. This approach can only hurt recruiting.


January 31st, 2013 at 7:43 AM ^

But a position like QB where u might only take one and stop recruiting others after, that leaves u vulnerable especially with 17-18 year olds. The artlicle linked says they may only offer one QB. If u only offer one he commits then in november decommits you are left with no QB recruit and to late in the process to get a highly regarded prospect.


January 31st, 2013 at 9:16 AM ^

We use the shorthand "strong arm" to describe something that has nothing to do with muscle strength, because it's easier than describing all the mechanical motion that gives velocity to passing, i.e. the transfer of weight from back to front foot, torso rotation, and snapping motion of the arm, and most importantly the perfectly timed sequence of those things in a smooth delivery.

One of the interesting things about "throwing like a girl" (no offense, MGoLadies) is that it isn't because of weakness, it's because girls can't usually decouple the torso rotation from the arm motion sufficiently, no matter how physically strong they are.  They synchronize the two acts too much, whereas even weak boys have a natural tendency to separate in time just a bit, so the ball leaves their arm with more snap and it doesn't have that shot-put appearance that girls tend to have.

It helps to explain why some skinny little beach-bully-targets (I'm thinking of dudes like former Steelers QB  Tommy Maddox who never saw a weight room in his life) have cannon "arms" when chiseled Greek tricep gods struggle to throw a ball 30 yards.  It ain't the arm at all.  

All that said, I'm in favor of keeping the convention "strong arm" instead of "strong asynchronous  weight transfer-torso rotation-arm uncoiling".




January 31st, 2013 at 9:38 AM ^

I don't suppose you have sources for that? I agree with everything you're saying, so this isn't a "citation needed" situation; I would just love to see an extended scientific discussion of that. My research tangentially includes other non-muscular factors of athletic performance and I haven't seen this particular aspect treated in the literature.


January 31st, 2013 at 10:54 AM ^

There was a fascinating report on NPR or Nova last year about "throwing like a girl," I'll try to find it, it's actually worth a post of its own some time (I don't remember a visual image of it, so I think NPR is more likely-- will post the link as soon as I turn it up)

EDIT: did a very quick Google search and didn't find the radio report, but there were a good number of articles on this phenomenon.  This one from Forbes gets to what I'm talking about and probably does it better than my explanation:

Basically, they were explaining what "throwing like a girl" means, and evidently the biomechanics folks say it all ultimately comes down to the decoupling thing.  So if the steps for throwing a ball are:

1. transfer weight back to front (as you coil up torso)

2. unwind with torso rotation (as you coil arm)

3. uncoil arm/shoulder (as you finish torso rotation and weight transfer)

Males, basically any males, are naturally inclined to decouple steps 2 and 3, which is what you have to do to generate force in the throw.

Females, by nature, do steps 2 and 3 simultaneously.  They just can't help it.  That's why they throw like girls and we snicker when they throw the ball back over the fence (and fail).  Don't act like you don't snicker.

It's kind of the difference between shot-put champions, who are always muscular beasts, and javelin champions, who are always a little more wiry.  Shot-putters want to synchronize 2 and 3 too closely, so they get this muscle explosion to propel the... uh, the shot.  Or the put.  Or whateva.

So you give a football to a shot-put gold medalist, he'll suck, not only because all the muscle mass makes his upper body too tight to create the whiplike wave action needed, but because he's trained himself out of the natural male tendency to decouple 2 and 3.  A female shot-put champ will be even worse, because she never had the natural inclination to separate those to begin with.  But if you pump up a woman with enough roids and weight training (East Germany or something), she'll start to out shot-put weaker males, because the weak male has lost his advantage over her in that motion.  The weaker male still throws a football farther with ease to salvage his masculinity a bit, but he might still be embarrased by a really good female javelin thrower, or maybe a UM softball outfielder.

Javelin champs, on the other hand, fling footballs for miles (Terry Bradshaw was an NCAA champ javelin thrower, for example).  They perfect the separate steps.  But if you pumped them up on roids so they got huge and put a heavy cannonball in their hands, they would suck, because they still naturally want to decouple steps 2 and 3 without realizing it.  

Decathalons notwithstanding, it's why you'll never have a person win the javelin and the shot-put, ever.  One requires a synchronized explosion behind the object, the other requires a wave action going off in order, but not completely overlapping.  Both create a lot of energy, but totally differently.




January 31st, 2013 at 11:44 AM ^

Cool. I'm teaching a class on this stuff soon so I'll do some more research. Anecdotally, I threw both shot and disc in high school, the latter of which does require the "hips before hands" decoupling, and the former of which as you've pointed out doesn't. I was a lot better at disc. Interestingly, the a spinning approach to shotput does require a little bit of that decoupling, moreso than the traditional technique (I forget what it's called).

It's also important to note that a lot of "arm strength" is developed during development, as a kid who throws every day is going to end up with a lower degree of humeral torsion on that side, and therefore a greater ability to externally rotate the shoulder, leading to much greater leverage during the "catapult" motion of throwing. So even someone with a great throwing motion and great musculature might just be out of luck if they don't start early enough.

So yeah, if a high school quarterback has a "weak arm", it's a bad idea to assume that will improve very much after reaching college.


January 31st, 2013 at 9:11 AM ^

Nobody has blown me away.  I would tentatively say that Cornwell is the best I've seen of the guys we're recruiting.  Still, I don't think you can judge a guy by one wobbly pass.  I'm sure Cornwell has a wobbly pass or two that maybe just didn't end up on his highlight film.  Peyton Manning throws wobbly passes all the time, but he's still damn good.