Hello: Wilton Speight (2014 QB)

Submitted by bdsisme on February 6th, 2013 at 8:13 AM

We have our (only?) 2014 QB, first reported by TomVH ($).

Michigan Football class of 2018

— Wilton Speight (@WiltonSpeight) February 6, 2013

We won't have to wait long to see the coaches' plan for QB recruiting: Michael O'Connor and David Cornwell are supposedly getting phone calls from the coaches this afternoon.


4th and short

February 6th, 2013 at 8:31 AM ^

Good news! My theory is The coaches wants one of the in state kids as a second option. Of course you wound not put it to the kid that way.Either  Travis Smith or Tyler Wiegers Would be a nice safty blanket .

the Glove

February 6th, 2013 at 8:38 AM ^

He was number 8 on Magnus' list of players that fit Michigan's style, so I don't exactly know how to respond. Yeah?! I have to say I was on the Cornwell band wagon...


February 6th, 2013 at 8:44 AM ^

I'm not saying I know more than the coaches, but Cornwell has more offers and is rated higher by all the recruiting sites who have done ratings.  So far Michigan is the only school or recruiting service to value Speight over Cornwell.  Of course, they could be right...but they're in the minority.


February 6th, 2013 at 11:58 AM ^

On one hand everyone claps when they offer a kid because "Alabama did!" and then on the other hand everyone claps because they go the Beilein rout.  So apparently they can do no wrong. Very maize colored glasses.

Maybe this kid indicated to Borgess he was a firm yes, and Cornwell was one of those kids who would wait 6 more months and they want certainty?  Who knows.  But that's the point - we don't know.  Didnt they just say last week (and then rescinded) they wanted an answer immediately when they offered?  Everyone assumed Cornwell would say yes - he has a top 5, and a lot of players have a top 5.  

As someone else said they have one in the bush, maybe the other one would never have committed.

Hardware Sushi

February 6th, 2013 at 9:29 AM ^

Nobody big has offered Cornwell, either. No Bama, no USC, no Texas, no Oklahoma.

It's not like everyone is offering Cornwell and not Speight. The only people that seriously value Cornwell over Speight is 247 and they're the only one to have detailed 2014 position rankings out right now. Scout doesn't even think their own 2014 rankings are good yet - Allen Trieu has said as much.

Seems like a lot of star watching on this one, at least to me.


February 6th, 2013 at 9:37 AM ^

Rivals also does.

So do Auburn, Virginia Tech, Tulsa, Indiana (where Kevin Wilson knows a little something about quarterbacks), etc.  Again, I'm not saying I'm right, but I'm not "star watching," either.  I'm fully capable of making my own evaluations, and Speight is behind in almost every category - mine, the recruiting sites', and schools except Michigan.

All this being said at the risk of sounding like I'm bashing Speight, I did identify him as a potential sleeper who throws very well under pressure.  I don't necessarily think he'll be a total failure at Michigan.  He has a lot of good qualities.  I just don't think he's as good as some other guys who are/were viable options.

Hardware Sushi

February 6th, 2013 at 11:09 AM ^

and I guess we disagree as to how much of a concensus there is about Cornwell vs. Speight. Speight was getting as much major program interest as Cornwell (Loeffler was recruiting Cornwell at Auburn and now VT as he was talking with Speight's coach).

My comment was directed at the general reaction of our fanbase, not you specifically.


February 6th, 2013 at 8:46 AM ^

Wilton Speight will be 19 years old when he enrolls.  He was granted an extra year of eiligibility in HS because be broke his collarbone in September of his true junior year.  

He is the same age as Shane Morris and would be been in the 2013 recruiting class without the extra year of eligibility.  In Wilton Speight, we will be getting a 2014 recruiting class QB that is a year more mature physically than most other QB's in the 2014 class.  In effect, we will be getting two 2013 QB's in Morris and Speight, but Speight will have one more year eligibility than Morris.



February 6th, 2013 at 8:51 AM ^

You don't need a cannon in the West Coast offense.  Joe Montana (who, granted, was Neo from the Matrix) had a weak arm at the end of his career in KC, but he was still very good. 


February 6th, 2013 at 9:11 AM ^

"You don't need a cannon in the West Coast offense."

Here's something I've been wondering about since watching the NFL playoffs and Superbowl.

Question -- is the game evolving to a point where having the ability to rifle the ball into tight coverage is becoming more and more the norm?  Maybe due to defensive zone coverages getting better at closing on the ball?

Colin Kaepernick definitely has this ability.  He was drilling balls into coverage throughout the playoffs and the Superbowl.  If memory serves, RGIII has a bit of this as well ... and ditto Johnny Manziel.

I'm not questioning Speight or anyone else ... but within the context of QB selection for Michigan I was wondering about the evolution of the game with respect to ability to muscle the ball to where it needs to be.


February 6th, 2013 at 9:16 AM ^

Arm strength is a little less important in college.  You see guys succeed all the time who don't have great arms.

But the most successful quarterbacks in the NFL have strong arms - Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, Colin Kaepernick, Joe Flacco, Matt Stafford (who's successful in terms of yardage/touchdowns but not wins), Ben Roethlisberger, etc.  You don't see many soft-tossing guys succeed in the NFL anymore.


February 6th, 2013 at 9:36 AM ^

Follow-up question, if I may ... with respect to "arm strength" it seems it comes in two flavors:

  1. Boom the ball 60 yards downfield to a streaking WR, and
  2. Rifle the ball 20 yards to a receiver sandwiched by defenders

The two are not mutually exclusive, of course.  The ideal QB would possess both.

But I would imagine the two are not necessarily always combined.  I would imagine there are some that can rifle short than boom long with any effectiveness.  And there are some who can boom long relatively well who don't seem to have the ability to thread the ball in tight coverage.

So question -- in the college game, if you had to choose one or the other, which would you choose?  (Let's assume "both" is off the table for this discussion.)

My sense is I'd rather have someone really good at drilling the ball into tight coverage.  The long bomb makes for nice highlight reels, but it requires WRs that can separate and a good O-line to let the route develop.



February 6th, 2013 at 9:39 AM ^

Well, usually those two qualities aren't mutually excusive (like you said).

Given an either/or option, I would take a guy who can rifle the ball in at ~20 yards.  There are going to be a lot more opportunities for those kinds of plays than 60-yard bombs.


February 6th, 2013 at 9:53 AM ^

Thanks!  I always enjoy your insights.

Re: mutual exclusivity ... I can see a kid with a cannon of an arm having an issue with decision making in the short / tight-coverage passes.  So while the muscles might be present, the mind is not yet there.

The downside risk of a long bomb is usually just an incompletion.  The downside risk of a poorly thrown rifle into coverage is a Pick-6.


February 6th, 2013 at 12:23 PM ^

Well, Borges would either go under his own steam or get terminated. 

I've detected nothing from him to suggest the former any time soon.  And nothing from Hoke to suggest the latter. 

Still, six years is a long time ... anything can happen.

At any rate ... Hoke's style of football is pro/power ... so I would imagine any OC he would select post-Borges would be of the same general mold.  He's not likely to suddenly yearn for a Mike Leach or a Dana Holgorsen.

Final point -- I'm not convinced Borges is completely stuck in pure West Coast.  Yes, that's his heritage.  And yes, the read-option spread was a bit of a departure for him.  I agree he stuck to the "Robinson as drop-back QB" a bit too long.  But I'm not myself convinced he is an inflexible OC with nothing but WC in his head.

(That said, the second half of the OSU game is still "a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma." -- hat tip Winston Churchill.)

West German Judge

February 6th, 2013 at 8:51 AM ^

I'm hoping that Devin Gardner does very well this year and that convinces Borges to consider taking a second, dual-threat 2014 QB (Deshone Kizer).

That said, welcome Wilton Speight!  Don't get mono your senior year of high school kthnx!

Webber's Pimp

February 6th, 2013 at 8:56 AM ^

Great news! A couple of observations..

1. Michigan reportedly wanted a QB to commit very early (even as soon as the offer went out). This probably means Cornwell was not going to accept on the spot. I say this because his evaluations are reportedly much better than Speight's. Heck Speight admitted as much in his twitter post yesterday.

2. Michigan may very well take 2 QB's in this class. Perhaps one of the in-state kids? Again this is based on the eval I read on Speight. I'm basing myself on Magnus' post from a few days ago (read the eval here: http://touchthebanner.blogspot.com/2013/02/scouting-report-2014-quarter…)



February 6th, 2013 at 8:51 AM ^

I am not an expert but have coached QB's in Class A high schools. I watched tape on both Cornwell and Speight and thought Cornwell had better mechanics, speed, and arm. Cornwell throws a very strong ball and throws on the run with good velocity and accuracy. He throws the ball on a rope and it appears from tape the ball gets to receivers in a hurry. He has pocket presence and looks like he goes through his progressions without happy feet. Cornwell steps into the throw and seems like he has a quick release.

Speight is as big or bigger than Cornwell and has good accuracy. Watching the tape it appears he doesn't throw with the velocity that Cornwell does. The video I saw looked like Speight threw a lot of passes that kind of floated to the receiver but they were very accurate. This could be an issue in college because the DB's are faster. Because of his size he can handle traffic and can brush off contact in the pocket. I would like to see more tape to really see his velocity.

I'm sure the coaches watched many of the 2014 QB's throw and I didn't see any tape on Henderson or other QB targets but from these two targets I thought Cornwell was a better passer and a little more athletic. Maybe we take two QB's in this class but with Speight's commitment I don't think we will get two high profile guys like Speight and Cornwell. We may get another one but likely a project.

I was hoping we would have waited before accepting a commit but I'll trust the coaches on this one.


February 6th, 2013 at 9:21 AM ^

Magnus and you have similar observations.

My only 2 adds:
- As coaches are fond of saying, he "throws guys open". Critical skill in QBs to understand the position of the DBs and lead the WR away.
- Really need to see his interceptions to understand if the vision/progression/arm is his weak point.

Enough raw ability for Borges and a private QB coach to make him a top QB. Good to have him.


February 6th, 2013 at 9:02 AM ^

I think Speight has some great potential and is very accurate. Film is great to get an initial read on a recruit, but it can only tell you so much..let us not forget the Sam Mcguffie highlight reel...that worked out. Would Cornwell be ideal? Maybe... But i'm happy with Speight, we'll see what he can do when he wears the maize and blue. Go Blue and Happy NSD!


February 6th, 2013 at 9:04 AM ^

Maybe I'm alone here but I actually like him just as much as Cornwell.  Rivals ranked Speight higher than Christian Hackenberg at one point last year in the state of Virginia (Green being #4 at that time).  He also has camped at Alabama (like Cornwell) and has had interest from basically every major school in the country up to the verbal to Michigan.  I'm not sure why everyone is so enamored with Cornwell over Speight.  Arm strength may be a question, sure but I find it hard to believe this coaching staff botched this offer after all of their due diligence throughout the QB offer process.