Recruiting Dual-Threat QB's

Submitted by KingsWolverine on September 12th, 2013 at 11:10 AM

So once again I am watching the replay of the ND game and I can't get over how well Devin Gardner played.  He really is a unique quarterback with his size and speed.  Dare I say he reminds me of Colin Kaepernick?  Anyway, I was wondering what everyones thoughts were on the coaching staff recruiting a dual-threat quarterback.  If Devin has a breakout year, maybe they change their minds on only recruting pro-style qb's?  We are continuing to see in college and the NFL that having a true dual-threat qb is such a great asset.  Thoughts?


Space Coyote

September 12th, 2013 at 11:17 AM ^

It's not that the coaches are thinking, "Man, we really need a guy that can't move back there." It's that they are looking for a guy that is a passer first. If they can get a guy that they think can hit all the throws and read all the defenses and then is a running threat as well, of course they'll take that guy. But more likely they will find a guy that can move a little bit and do the things they require of a QB. That's why they took a guy like Morris, not because he's just bad enough at running that Michigan should bring him on board, but because they believe he can do the things they require from the position and he isn't a terrible athlete on top of it.

Space Coyote

September 12th, 2013 at 11:29 AM ^

The Michigan staff feels he meets the requirements for the position. Speight can actually move in the pocket pretty well, so he can "move a little bit". He may not be a threat to pick up many yards with his legs, but that's not part of the requirement, it's an added bonus. You take that bonus when you can get it, but you make sure you meet the requirements first.

What you're basically calling for is for Michigan to recruit the best player. Well yeah. Why doesn't Michigan recruit more 6'5" WRs that run in the 4.3s and have great hands? Why not more 6'2" CBs that can flip their hips and are physical with good ball skills? Well, they have requirements for each position, that a recruit must be able to meet. If a 5'10" CB meets those requirements great, if the CB is 6'2" even better.


September 12th, 2013 at 11:42 AM ^

I guess the question is how much arm is one willing to sacrifice for legs? Also how much do the coaches feel they can improve a player's passing to gain innate running abilities? From the offers so far, it seems they want all arm and best possible mechanics they can find from high schoolers. To be honest, I'm not sure they would have recruited Gardner out of high school. He had terrible mechanics and was almost all athleticism as a prospect. Big arm, but still raw as hell.

Space Coyote

September 12th, 2013 at 11:51 AM ^

Depending on other guys, but I certainly don't think he would have been first choice. I mean, the thing with Gardner is that, for as good as he is now, there was also a very realistic chance that he was going to remain a very raw and unpolished QB. Yeah, taking a risk on a guy can really pay off, and it can probably pay off more in other systems (such as in Rich Rod's offense, where there was more priority on his legs). But if you take Gardner and he doesn't pan out as a passer in Borges's offense, well, we've kind of seen what can happen to the offense.

So it's a balance of risk/reward. It appears to have worked out very well with Gardner. But perhaps the staff thinks there are other QBs that offer a similar reward with a much smaller risk. But if they saw a guy with Gardner's upside but better mechanics in HS, you better believe they'd recruit him because of the high reward and minimal risk. It's just that that doesn't really happen often. Usually they are more like Gardner was coming out of HS.


September 12th, 2013 at 11:52 AM ^

I absolutely think Gardner would have been recruited by Hoke and Co. if they were around for the class of 2010. Perhaps he wouldn't have been their ideal quarterback, but that class of QB's wasn't great overall. When you have a prospect who's that good in your own backyard, you give it a shot. If it doesn't work, he could always play WR.

Space Coyote

September 12th, 2013 at 12:16 PM ^

So I assume you're correct. But I think my point still stands as a basic rule of thumb. They are minimizing risk for what they believe will be the perceived reward.

But, that's why they appear genuinely interested in Dillman. He gives the extra reward with his leg but he at least comes close to meeting the requirements with his arm as well. Whether it's enough isn't certain yet, but they are certainly entertaining it.

But to agree partially with your point, I was talking merely as recruiting Gardner as a QB. There is no doubt in my mind this staff would recruit Gardner as an athlete at least. If they are offering Cole in a small class as an ATH (and this isn't a shot at Cole, but praise for Gardner), then Gardner, who I believe had All-American potential as a WR, would certainly get offered in any class.

In response to some other comments on this board, Alabama has taken risks on more mobile type QBs and most of them didn't pan out the way they were hoping. Now they appear to not be taking that risk as often. Of course, if they could get AJ McCarron but with better legs they would, but it's the same balancing act for them as well. You make that balancing act based on the offense and the requirements of the position within that offense. That's the overall point I was trying to make.


oriental andrew

September 12th, 2013 at 12:36 PM ^

but google digs up a Stewart Mandel (I know, I know) article about the weak 2010 QB class.

"This year, by contrast, the site doesn't rank a single quarterback among its top 50 prospects.

"I've been doing this since 1992, and I can't ever remember a weaker quarterback group," said national recruiting analystJamie Newberg. "If someone's looking for a guy to come in next year and be the savior, there just isn't anyone.""

Top guys were Jake Heaps, Phil Sims, Connor Wood, Paul Jones, Jesse Scroggins, Blake Bell, Tyler Bray, Devin Gardner, Andrew Hendrix, Tommy Rees...  Not exactly a who's who of world-beaters, as a group.  There are 2, maybe 3, guys who panned out (Gardner included, of course).  


September 12th, 2013 at 12:53 PM ^

Look no further than their first QB. Bellomy wasn't Denard running but was a dual threat with mediocre arm strength.  There seems to be no pre-req with these guys, they seem to be taking a variety of skill sets, with leadership being very important.  That last part is why I am certain they would've gone after Devin.

Space Coyote

September 12th, 2013 at 1:56 PM ^

Mid-to-lower tier BCS type of recruit, which is why he was committed to Purdue initially. In most cycles Michigan wouldn't have offered him, but they needed a QB in the class and took the best option that fit what they wanted in a QB the most.

That said, Bellomy is still a mid-tier quality QB type, which is why I get so frustrated when people claim that he just completely sucks. Yes, as a RS freshman playing on the road, at night, in an extremely hostile environment he looked bad. Frankly, his skill set isn't through the roof. But he can add good depth to this team and can play spot duty or start on occasion if the need arises and he continues to improve on a standard trajectory for him. Just an aside for why I get upset when people already throw him under the bus for not being great already.


September 12th, 2013 at 12:53 PM ^

Look no further than their first QB. Bellomy wasn't Denard running but was a dual threat with mediocre arm strength.  There seems to be no pre-req with these guys, they seem to be taking a variety of skill sets, with leadership being very important.  That last part is why I am certain they would've gone after Devin.


September 12th, 2013 at 2:06 PM ^

I was going to say the same thing.  If they can get a Gardner-type, who showed enough promise in HS throwing the ball that a number of major programs were looking at him at QB, then they'll take him.  RGIII would have been a good fit as well, even though he was never a fantastic runner.

I suspect that the preference will be on throwing over running, so that means guys like Denard come in at positions like Norfleet/athelte versus at QB, but I definitely think Hoke and Borges realize that having a guy with some real mobility in the backfield is great provided he can make the necessary throws.


September 12th, 2013 at 1:41 PM ^

As long as the guy isn't John Navarre, it'll be fine.

I think of quarterbacks like Tom Brady or Andrew Luck. They have great arms and are passers first... but they can move in the pocket to avoid pressure and pick up first downs when the middle opens up with their legs. Hell, Luck won a game with his legs last week.

Our current recruits may not be able to circle out of a pocket and juke a couple guys.. but they'll have plenty of targets that can do that with the ball in their hands once they get them the ball. 


September 12th, 2013 at 2:02 PM ^

Coyote makes a good point. Devin Gardner is a unicorn. He has the arm, the speed and high character and intelect, having all out of high school. Name someone else you can say that about: kappernick: unknown; Newton: not a leader, got kicked out of school; Rg3, did have the arm out of high school; Prior: character. No, it is really that Gardner is unique.


September 12th, 2013 at 8:37 PM ^

And to be fair Gardner did not look that good his first two years - he would get on the field, run around a lot, and heave passes in a very chunky fashion.  It looked bad.  I don't know what came over him, esp. since he was practing mostly as WR last year but whatever black magic thank the heavens.

Brown Bear

September 12th, 2013 at 11:18 AM ^

What is a "Pro-Style quarterback" these day? I think they will recruit the best players that fit their scheme. Devin is a great passer who can run. I think they will look for those types when available. Dual-threat who isn't a good passer, not so much.


September 12th, 2013 at 11:32 AM ^

I don't need to use my toes to count the "true" elite dual threat quarterbacks that have come through the college ranks.  They don't grow on trees.  If we miss on those guys, who may come around once every couple of years, then the preference is a guy who can toss the ball around, not a guy who can Denard.

Are you inferring that you'd prefer a moderately viewed dual threat to a highly viewed pocket passer?  If so, it's a legit argument, but I'd take the passer for our offense.  Kaepernick was a 3* guy without any real offers, so your point may have validity, but QB is a position you don't want to take a chance on.  For ever Kaepernick, there's likely dozens that could not carry an offense.


September 12th, 2013 at 2:10 PM ^

I guess the counter would be that UM shouldn't be afraid of taking a chance on guys like this as a second option.  As you noted, many of these surprise successes are lightly regarded out of HS, so why not take a flyer on a great athlete who could turn into a good passer and, if not, still probably find a place at WR, RB, corner, etc.  Honestly, it isn't any riskier than picking up a backup RB or lineman.


September 12th, 2013 at 4:18 PM ^

didn't get any offer beside Nevada is he was a great baseball player who was destined to get drafted at 1st round. Colleges felt that they didn't want to waste their time and resources on a player who is likely end up signing a MLB contract.  Kaepernick had to call Coach Ault to convince him that he wants to play football and he hesitated for the reason stated above. He didn't get an offer, not because he sucks, it's because he's so good at baseball.


September 12th, 2013 at 11:19 AM ^

You should have printed out one of the last 15 conversations about this and put it next to your bed. The only prerequisite for playing QB at Michigan is the ability to drop dimes. Devin was successful on saturday because he did this. The coaches are more than ok with recruiting a dual threat as long as he can throw the ball. That's really all there is to it.


September 12th, 2013 at 11:36 AM ^

"The only prerequisite for playing QB at Michigan is the ability to drop dimes. Devin was successful on saturday because he did this."

Your first sentence is a good one. The second one...not so much.

Devin was successful on Saturday because he could both run and throw. His ability to move in the pocket allowed him to make some throws that other guys couldn't. His ability to run gained him 80+ yards on the ground. His ability to run/audible helped him score that rushing TD when Hoke was trying to call a timeout.


September 12th, 2013 at 11:23 AM ^

I don't think the coaches are anti-dual threat quarterbacks, they just are trying to get the best guy for their system.  I haven't heard of any dual threat options in 2015, but isn't Messiah deWeaver getting a lot of interest for 2016?


September 12th, 2013 at 12:27 PM ^

You're wrong on both counts.  The coaches are taking strong looks at a number of dual-threat guys in 2015, including Kevin Dillman, Sheriron Jones, Brandon Wimbush, and Cinjun Erskine.  They're also obviously going after "pro-style" (although I increasingly think "pro-style" is a misnomer when describing QBs that can't run very well) like Josh Rosen, Kyle Kearns, Brady White, Jack Beneventi, Alex Malzone, etc., but there are definitely dual threat options on the table in 2015.

Meanwhile, Messiah deWeaver is not a dual threat.


September 12th, 2013 at 11:24 AM ^

They're going to look kids who can make all the throws first. If the kid can also run, like Gardner, all the better, but a lot of high school "dual- threat" qbs really can't throw at all.

Look at Andrew luck. Most people wouldn't call him a dual-threat quarterback, but he's relatively effective at running the ball when he needs to, because he's fast enough, and defenses are more worried about his arm. I think he's the type of qb that would fit this staff's ideals more than Cam Newton, if you want to compare consecutive #1 picks.


September 12th, 2013 at 11:25 AM ^

I am totally in favor of Michigan recruiting a dual threat quarterback if the guy can actually throw. There's no reason not to recruit a dual-threat guy if he can do all the passing stuff AND run well.

I would not be in favor of Michigan recruiting another Denard Robinson (at least not for the QB position).


September 12th, 2013 at 11:42 AM ^

Serious question. With the increased desire to have dual threat quarterbacks, would pro-style quarterbacks become undervalued, and hence better quality? I know that quality per se won't change much, but with increased availability due to increased interest in dual threat qbs, would the pro-style qbs become easier to recruit (due to decreased demand) and higher quality with less top teams persueing them?

Seattle Maize

September 12th, 2013 at 11:55 AM ^

I agree, the running ability is deadly to have, but as we've seen with denard, only if you have the ability to throw accurately. People also seem to forget how rare guys like kaepernick and devin and Russell Wilson are. I'm sure if the staff can land another devin Gardner they would, but these guys just don't come around that often.


September 12th, 2013 at 11:27 AM ^

I would say first thing first is that they need someone with a plus arm. Mobility isn't a must have, but would be an added bonus. I don't think the staff would trade a plus arm for an average armed QB with legs. It just doesn't help out offensive philosophy. (i.e. LOOONG BALL!)

I'm sure if they could find another Devin, Hoke & Co. would gladly that him.