Each week leading up to the Spring Game, I’ll take a look at each position Michigan will be recruiting and which recruits could possibly fill the needed spots. This week, I’ll be taking a look at the most important position on the field; Quarterback.
Who will be Michigan's 2016 Quarterback?
Heading into the 2015 season, Michigan will have five quarterbacks listed on their depth chart under scholarship; Shane Morris, Wilton Speight, Alex Malzone, Zach Gentry, and recent transfer John O’Korn. We all know by now that Jim Harbaugh loves two things- Quarterbacks and competition. The coaching staff has already sent out a bevy of scholarship offers to 2016 quarterbacks, and have identified early on what they like in each recruit. So, who could possibly be the next quarterback to commit to the University of Michigan?
1) K.J Costello
K.J. is a name Michigan fans should be familiar with. During the Brady Hoke era, K.J. was offered by the coaching staff and took part in an unofficial visit to Ann Arbor during the summer. The visit went over extremely well, and it looked as if Michigan would be one of the front runners to land his services going forward. During Michigan’s horrendous 2014 season, the interest seemed to have faded and it looked as if Costello would be looking elsewhere for his college home. Fast forward to the Jim Harbaugh hiring, and Costello has been identified as one of the top quarterbacks in 2016 and is being heavily pursed by the new coaching staff.
K.J. is your prototypical pocket passer. He’s very comfortable in the pocket and likes to drop back and sling the ball. He’s got ideal size standing at 6’4 and 215 lbs. Very strong arm, and can fire the ball down-field with relative ease. Has an excellent touch to the ball, and throws it only where the receiver can catch it. Throws the ball with good “zip”, but tends to get a little too much air underneath the ball at times. Goes through his reads very well, and always knows were his receivers will be on the field. Good awareness in the pocket, and can feel pressure on his blindside. One aspect of his game I really like is that he throws the ball over top of the coverage, instead of through it.
K.J. hold a very impressive scholarship offer list including schools such as; Stanford, USC, Alabama, Arizona, Texas A&M, Tennessee, Florida State, Florida, and Arizona. He is currently ranked as the #2 Pro-Style Quarterback and #25 overall recruit in 2016 according to Rivals. He will also visit Ann Arbor with his father within the next few weeks. At this point, I think Michigan is in the driver’s seat regarding his recruitment, and a commitment might be plausible on his visit within the next few weeks.
1a) Brandon Peters
Brandon is a quarterback who’s recruitment has been somewhat very quiet. Ranked as the #5 pro-style quarterback in 2016 according to Rivals, Brandon has a short offer sheet including schools such as; Boston College, Iowa, Indiana, and Virginia Tech.
Brandon has excellent size (6’5, 205) to become a pocket passer at the next level. He has good arm strength, and really steps into his throws. Has the ability to stand back and fire the ball to his receiver, or can roll-out of the pocket and throw a strike to his receiver. Good throwing motions, and throws a tight spiral. Very underrated mobility, and can extend the play with his legs. Won't blow you away with his speed, but can easily pick up first downs with his legs. Reads the field extremely well, and plays with a high football IQ. Won’t force throws into dangerous areas. Good accuracy, and leads his receiver’s to the ball in open areas of the field. Does an excellent job of planting both feet before throwing, and rarely throws off his back-foot.
Brandon has already announced he will be visiting Ann Arbor for the Spring Game, and I think a commitment could be imminent.
2) Jacob Eason
Jacob is an extremely talented high school quarterback, who committed to Georgia last July. Jacob was offered by Doug Nussmeier last year, and recently the new coaching staff has made sure Jacob knows that the offer still stands.
Jacob has all the tools to become one heck of a college quarterback. He has excellent size standing at 6’5 and 205 lbs. He also possesses one of the strongest arms I've ever watched on film. He can make all the throws on the field with relative ease, and has pinpoint accuracy. Has very good mechanics and throws the ball with a nice, crisp spiral. Under-rated mobility, and has the ability to get outside of the pocket and fire the ball down-field while scrambling. Excellent touch on his passes, as the ball is thrown only to where the receiver can catch it. Stays calm in the pocket, and sets both feet before throwing. Rarely ever throws off his back-foot. Goes through his reads extremely well, and will wait for the play to develop before leaving the pocket.
Jacob is currently ranked as the #1 pro-style quarterback by both 24/7 and Rivals. He holds an impressive scholarship offer sheet from schools such as; Georgia, Alabama, Florida, Florida State, Notre Dame, Oklahoma State, and Tennessee. As a junior, Jacob threw for 2,829 yards with 32 touchdowns.
3) Dwayne Haskins
Out of all the 2016 quarterbacks, Dwayne could be the most entertaining to watch on film. He has very fluid motions in the pocket, and an excellent delivery of the ball. He has a very strong arm and can make almost any throw on the field. Above average footwork, that lets him set his feet and deliver a strike to the receiver. Excellent field vision and waits for the play to develop. Very accurate when throwing the football and leads his receiver to the ball. When throwing the football, Dwayne doesn't put much air underneath the ball, making it extremely difficult for the ball to be intercepted. adequate mobility and can scramble for a first down. There is no real weakness in Dwayne’s game except for the fact that he weighs 185 lbs. This issue will not be a factor once he enters a college weight program.
Dwayne is currently ranked as the #4 pro-style quarterback, and #67 overall according to Rivals. He holds an extremely impressive offer sheet for schools such as; Alabama, Auburn, Florida State, LSU, Mississippi, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Oklahoma, and Texas.
4) Shea Patterson
Shea is another recruit that was offered by the Brady Hoke coaching staff, and behind Eason, I would put him as the second best quarterback of the 2016 recruiting cycle. He has all the tools to become a very effective quarterback at the FBS level, and will likely vie for playing time early on in his career.
Shea can beat you with both his legs and his arms. He’s got a strong arm and can deliver the ball in a hurry. If his coach wants him to take a 5 step drop and throw the ball down field; Shea can do it. If his coach wants him to extend the play on 3rd down with his legs; Shea can do it. He has the rare combination of speed and arm strength that will make him very dangerous at the college level. Reads the play with good vision, and will wait for his receiver to get open. Throwing motion is a little strange, as it doesn't look like he steps into the ball on some plays, but the ball always seems to end up in the receiver’s hands. Shea will need to work on planting his feet before throwing the ball, as he tends to throw off his back-foot a little too much. A little undersized for a pocket quarterback (6’2, 195 lbs.), but will have time to add on additional weight to his frame.
Shea is listed as the #1 dual-threat quarterback, and #6 overall in 2016 according to Rivals. He holds scholarship offers from; Arizona, LSU, Ole Miss, Texas, Texas A&M, USC, Virginia Tech, and Notre Dame.
Shea took to twitter on Thursday to announce that he will be announcing his college choice on February 17th. At this point it doesn't look good for the Wolverines to land the talented 5* recruit, and I think he ends up playing for the Ole Miss Rebels.
5) Messiah deWeaver
Messiah is another name Michigan fans are familiar with, as he was committed to the program for a few months. Messiah decommitted from Michigan just before National Signing Day and it looks as if in-state rival Michigan State could be the team to beat for his services.
Messiah doesn't have the strongest arm I've ever watched on film but, he can get the ball into the receiver’s hands with relative ease. He can lineup under center or in the shot-gun formation. Has adequate footwork and steps up into the pocket to throw the ball. He keeps his eyes down field locked on his receivers, looking for an opening. Possesses great pocket awareness. Messiah can feel pressure coming from all angles and knows when to properly get rid of the ball. Has idle size for a pro-style quarterback; being a shade over 200 pounds, he will have to add minimal weight once college arrives. Throws a good spiral. He will however, need to work a bit on his mechanics. Messiah has a tendency to drop his elbow leading to less accurate passes. Can throw the ball with decent accuracy while scrambling. I would like to see deWeaver use his legs a bit more and, run for a few more first downs. Has plenty of experience at the high school level being a varsity starter since his freshman year. Should have the mental aspect of the game down pat as he has reached the Ohio state finals three years in a row. Huge potential for growth.
Messiah is currently ranked as the #7 pro-style quarterback, and #219 overall in 2016 according to Rivals. He holds scholarship offers from; Cincinnati, Duke, Indian, Kentucky, Louisville, Michigan St., and Penn St.
At this point, I don’t think Messiah will end up re-committing to Michigan, and at this moment, I think he ends up playing his collegiate career in East Lansing.
*Note- List is in order of likeliness to commit to Michigan, not based upon rankings.
With NSD 2015 officially in the books, the Michigan coaching staff has wasted no time in getting a head start to 2016. Over the past week and a half, the coaching staff has spread out across the country handing out multiple offers towards 2016 recruits. Recruits that received an offer from the coaching staff include;
2016 TE Landon Rice *Auburn commit
2016 OL Austin Myers
2017 ATH Devon Hunter
2016 TE Jacob Mathis
2016 LB Jaquan Yulee
2016 DB Jaylon Jones
2016 TE Cary Angeline
2016 QB Dwayne Haskins *re-offered
2016 DE Levi Onwuzurike
2016 RB Robert Washington *re-offered
2016 WR Eli Stove
2016 QB Brandon Peters
2016 LB Rahssan Thornton
2016 LB Jonathon Jones
2016 DE Terrell Hall
2016 CB Eric Cuffee
2016 DB CJ Pollard
2016 DB Marquel Dismuke
2016 DB Calvin Bundage
2016 DB Craig Watts
2016 DB Chris Brown
2016 DB Cameron Lewis
2016 CB James Valdez *NC State commit
2016 ATH Demetric Felton
2016 ATH Jordan Fuller
2016 DE Justin Madubuike
2016 WR target Theo Howard received scholarship offers from Utah, Boston College, Arizona, and Kansas this week.
2016 OL target Ben Bredeson received a scholarship offer from Alabama.
Last week, I exchanged a few messages with 2016 CB target Wayne Davis. Davis told me that Coach Durkin and Recruiting Coordinator Chris Partridge offered him a scholarship. Davis also mentioned that he was extremely excited about the new coaching staff that Michigan has put together.
2015 LB Roquan Smith finally ended his recruitment on Friday morning, selecting the Georgia Bulldogs.
2016 LB target Ali'i Niumatalolo recieved
some an abundance of mail this week from the coaching staff.
2016 LB target Ali'i Niumatalolo recieved
My #GoBlue stack💙💛 pic.twitter.com/OKQGbIWZo2
— FilthyFive55 (@AliiNiumatalolo) February 11, 2015