Devin Gardner is a heisman trophy candidate according to Howard Griffith of BTN

Submitted by ThadMattasagoblin on April 2nd, 2013 at 2:46 PM

Both he and Jerry Dinardo were really excited about him on The Football Report.  If you think he was blowing sunshine, he also said that Ohio's DL was struggling, PSU depth was an issue, and our RBs still haven't emerged.  Take it FWIW.



April 2nd, 2013 at 2:50 PM ^

course he is a Heisman candidate.  He is a dual threat Michigan quarterback and the season has not started yet.  All Michigan quarterbacks since 2009 have been Heisman candidates before the last 5 seasons.  It is tradition.


April 2nd, 2013 at 5:51 PM ^

Tate Forcier.  We were 4-0 and he had that stellar game against ND including his Moxie 4th and 1 waggle for a TD.  He wasn't a Heisman-hopeful before the season obviously b/c he was a freshman, but the hype did build after that game.

edit: so yeah, the Troll is incorrect.  There was no pre-season hype in 2009.


April 2nd, 2013 at 2:53 PM ^

I wouldn't disagree, though it's premature.  He was pretty stellar in most appearances last season, and would've been the nation's most efficient passer if his numbers could be extrapolated through a full 12 games*

*I know, they likely can't, as difficulty of opponent is factored in.

Gardner should definitely be on the early season watchlists, and after he ignites some weak competition (including Notre Dame, not sure if weak, or just competition) that will launch him in the spotlight.  Provided he remains injury-free, productive, and leads Michigan to victory, I see no reason that the glimpses we saw last year -- combined with a full offseason complete with spring and fall camps at QB -- were a farce.  All available data says he will be good.


April 2nd, 2013 at 3:02 PM ^

Why can't they extrapolate?

Last year, South Carolina and OSU were two tough games, and Minny, Iowa, and NW were less tough.

Nebraska, Notre Dame, MSU and OSU are the tough games this year. The rest are Minnesota, Iowa, Northwestern (same as above), Indiana, Central Michigan, Akron, UConn, and Penn State.

That's 4 reasonably tough games, 3 common opponents (who don't have appreciable improvements coming...), 4 relatively easy out-of-conference matchups, and Penn State. In other words, you can extrapolate 11 games with Penn State being the wild card, I guess.


April 2nd, 2013 at 5:39 PM ^

I agree with your overall point.  To further it, I think Nebraska's defense will be worse than last year's (they lose 8 starters from a poor unit), and Sparty's - though still very good - will be as well.  Ohio loses most of its DL, though they've got a lot of talent and I expect LB and DB to improve and call it a wash.  


April 2nd, 2013 at 8:01 PM ^

As I recall, Meinke did a piece on this around Christmas -

If one did extrapolate Gardner's numbers from 2012 over an entire hypothetical season, he would be 171-270, good for a 63.3% completion percentage. Devin would have passed for an estimated 3,015 yards, 24 passing TD and 12 interceptions. That would be 11.2 yards per attempt and 17.6 yards per completion. He would have also accumulated 21 rushing TDs as well over 231 rushing yards. 

It's an estimate, to be sure, but a full offseason to learn Borges' system and the potential for some solid OL and RB play in practice and I think that Gardner certainly stands a good shot at being on the watchlist and continue to be on the radar with good play throughout the season, as you say. 


April 2nd, 2013 at 4:31 PM ^

I criticized Gibbs's ability to stay low when he was coming out of high school, and I received some scathing criticism from some people who insisted that Darrell Funk thought of him as a scholarship-caliber player and these people said he could stay plenty low.  Basically, they said that I didn't know what I was talking about.

Which is fine, because that criticism seems to get leveled fairly often.

I'm wondering if those people have seen this video...

ND Sux

April 2nd, 2013 at 2:57 PM ^

but I've been out of town the last two weekends.  Did I miss the Michigan spring preview on BTN?  Anyone know when it might air?  Obviously they've visited campus already.  Thx. 

Devin should have a great year, and the schedule is favorable with ND, OH, and NE at home (IMO they fucked that up badly). 


April 2nd, 2013 at 3:05 PM ^

I don't believe they do team specific previews in the spring.  They have briefly touched on UM several times on The Football Report, but to my knowledge, there will not be a preview until the fall.


April 2nd, 2013 at 3:16 PM ^

They also said that neither Ohio, PSU, or us has an outstanding tailback.  I'm not surprised considering Fitz is still injured and Deveon Smith and Derrick Green are still in high school. 

Perkis-Size Me

April 2nd, 2013 at 3:20 PM ^

I'll wait until after the Notre Dame game to make any proclamations on his Heisman candidacy. He's shown flashes of brilliance, but he needs to prove that he can show up in a big time game, put up some big time stats in the clutch, put the team on his shoulders and win.


April 2nd, 2013 at 3:43 PM ^

With the usual caveats offered -- he stays healthy, we have something resembling a running game -- I think Gardner's upside puts him in the preliminary Heisman consideration ballpark.

Proof is in the pudding, etc., etc.

But here's what I think will be a hinderance:

  • I think there's a baked-in Braxton Miller before Gardner bias ... all else equal
  • He'll need some gaudy numbers to overcome recent Heisman bias towards the flashier QBs from schools where offense is king

In a lot of ways Gardner and Miller are similar. But Miller has the extra playing time under him, and he's coming off a 12-win season.  That's why I say all else equal, I think think Miller gets the eyeballs before Gardner would.

But again ... I think Gardner's upside is tremendous.  If the pieces come together he can have a monster season.

Drunk Uncle

April 2nd, 2013 at 3:50 PM ^

I agree with your last point. Miller is a very good player and I think he (at least at this early date) is the odds on favorite for Heisman. DG can throw a beautiful ball and seems to have the intangibles that pro scouts love. If the question was "who will be the better pro" I would probably pick DG. 


April 2nd, 2013 at 4:46 PM ^


If the question was "who will be the better pro" I would probably pick DG.

Oh, I agree with that whole-heartedly.

The difference ... the intangibles you mention ... are between the ears.

That's not to say Miller doesn't possess intelligence ... he surely does ... nobody can get to that level of QB play and not be intelligent.

But from what I can gather from snippets about Miller's journey at OSU, it's been a bit of a project to get Miller to settle down, to see the field, and to resist the urge to run.

Gardner, I think, required less coaching on that point.  Gardner, it seems, "gets" that part of the game, and is motivated to study the game more deeply.

Al Borges -- "You run for yards but you pass for miles."  With a decent running game to keep defenses honest and an offensive line that gives him even a little time ... oh baby, I think we may be in for a treat.


April 2nd, 2013 at 4:40 PM ^

Miller is going to need some gaudier numbers, too.  He had just over 2,000 yards passing, 15 touchdowns, and 6 interceptions last season.  He did have 1,271 yards on the ground and another 13 touchdowns, but those aren't RGIII-like numbers.  Denard Robinson had better yardage totals and more touchdowns in 2011 on an 11-win team and didn't sniff the Heisman; he also had significantly better numbers on that 7-6 team in 2010 and finished sixth in the Heisman voting.

This is not to say that Miller will finish sixth or worse, or that Gardner has a better chance than Miller.  But just as you say Gardner needs to put up gaudy numbers, the same goes for Miller.   And if you extrapolate Gardner's numbers from last year over a full season, his production would be very favorable when compared to Miller's from 2012.


April 2nd, 2013 at 4:56 PM ^

Agree on all points. 

At this point I'm not really sure what criteria is really in effect for the Heisman. 

I don't think a solid QB with good-by-not-great numbers takes it any more.  Even if that QB's team wins the NC.  (Witness: AJ McCarron at Alabama.)

And I don't see Jadaveon Clowney taking it unless (a) he reinvents the DE position, and (b) the Heisman voters are simply in the mood to be seen as not playing to a predictable script.


April 2nd, 2013 at 3:50 PM ^

I also found it interesting that Griffith seriously wants to make a run for the border.  He said he wants him some TACO bad if he was a coach.

Too bad Taco couldn't even crack his HS stating lineup. /s


April 2nd, 2013 at 5:35 PM ^

First, the Eddins comment was made during their fall camp visit back in August 2011, not last year. Eddins was a defensive lineman in '11. He was moved to TE last year. Second, Griffith absolutely did not say that Eddins was going to be a "breakout player". Revsine asked Griffith and DiNardo to name an under the radar player that nobody was talking about who they thought had a chance to make a contribution. Griffith mentioned Chris Eddins. That was the extent of the comment. I can tell you for a fact that Hoke and the rest of our coaches respect Griffith's knowledge of the game.


April 2nd, 2013 at 5:46 PM ^

I was thinking it may have been the year before, but a quick google search was of no help to me.  Whether it was breakout player or under-the-radar player is semantics - he still picked Eddins to do something.  Even casual frequenters of this board knew that was silly.

And if you can tell me for a fact that Hoke and the rest of our coaches respect his knowledge of the game, you'll need to tell me how you know that.  Otherwise bunk.

I like Griffith.  I like DiNardo.  But if we're looking at what Griffith is saying now about Taco, it's instructive to look back and see what he said about Eddins: more grains of salt needed.


April 2nd, 2013 at 3:52 PM ^

That Ohio DL news is MORE interesting, I'd say. We know Devin is good at football. Ohio's DL is supposed to be scary good for the next few years, considering the recruits they have. Our OL recruits are the great equilizer.


April 2nd, 2013 at 5:02 PM ^

but I think he needs more than Jeremy Gallon & Drew Dileo to step up, AND...he needs the threat of a running game that's more than a Vincent Smith up the middle for zero again.  (No disrespect to Vincent Smith, more the O-Line).

Damn AJRHG...the defense was poised to be dominant...still could be but without its best player.

Don't get me wrong, I think DG will be VERY good, but he needs some pieces to fall into place from new contributors.