|Wilton Speight is the tall guy standing in back, which is where he should be for the entirety of 2014.|
Weight: 230 lbs.
High school: Richmond (VA) Collegiate
Jersey number: #19
Last year: Speight was a senior in high school. He threw for 2,845 yards and 33 touchdowns, plus 292 rushing yards.
Final TTB Rating: 77
Speight should have been a part of the 2013 class, but he acquired an extra year of high school eligibility after a collarbone injury ruined his junior year. (Speight will turn 20 before bowl season begins.) He mostly flew under the radar until National Signing Day 2013 when the coaching staff extended an offer after watching him throw. It was a bit of a surprise because Michigan had been in contact with some higher profile players. Regardless, Speight started recruiting hard for the small 2014 class. After a solid season, Speight earned the start for Team Nitro in the Under Armour All-America Game. He did not perform particularly well, but quarterbacks rarely do in those games where timing with receivers and good offensive line protection are difficult to achieve. Following the game, he went to Ann Arbor and enrolled early.
This spring Speight got a fair number of reps due to the continuing recovery of rising redshirt junior Russell Bellomy, who tore his ACL last spring. He is a tall, thick player whose body is unlike any other quarterback on the roster, and he's a little less athletic than the others, too. Senior Devin Gardner will be the starter this year, and sophomore Shane Morris will be his backup. Then the question becomes whether Bellomy or Speight will be #3. If Gardner and Morris stay healthy, Bellomy should be the third signal caller in a blowout situation. There's no need to burn Speight's redshirt unless a spate (see what I did there?) of injuries occur.
My hunch is that the coaches would prefer to redshirt Speight, but I doubt it is a major priority for them (based on various factors). It all comes down to Gardner - if he improves and is able to hold onto the job and stay healthy, Speight likely redshirts. But if he struggles, there is a better than 50/50 chance that Speight plays.ReplyDelete
Just have a gut feel that Speight will be more effective than Shane. If you throw out Shane's sophomore HS year, Speight's HS game film is superior IMO. Shane has arm strength and foot speed going for him. But Speight has better touch, accuracy, feel for the pocket/rush, and he can throw more naturally on the move. If Nussmeier senses that Speight will be the frontrunner for the job in '15, ideally he would get Speight experience this year.
Whatever the pecking order, the desire to redshirt should not trump capabilities when it comes to the QB depth chart. The #2 guy absolutely must be the 2nd best QB (whether Shane or Speight). In 2012, the coaches played games by putting an inferior player in the back-up spot and it wound up costing them at least one loss. Hope that is never repeated.
Boy, I really doubt that Speight plays this year, regardless of whether Gardner struggles. Even if he does struggle, Gardner will be moved to the #2 spot with Morris in front of him. They're not going to start a true freshman over a fifth year senior as talented as Gardner. I mean, I disagree with you on whether Morris or Speight is better, but those are just opinions. I feel like we're entering fact territory when it comes to the Gardner vs. Speight thing.Delete
The debate worth having is Speight vs Morris, since neither is very proven or experienced.Delete
I am not arguing that Speight is better than Gardner. However, unlike last season, if Gardner has an atrocious game, he is getting pulled. Of course he could get hurt too - he was in a boot for three months after the OSU game. The question at that point is who is the real #2 guy? Morris only has a four month head start on Speight in the program, so I don't see their class distinction being a deciding factor - especially considering that Speight is like 20 already and comes across as perhaps the more mature of the two (personality wise). I guess the bottom line is that I want the 2nd best guy in the #2 spot. I want Shane or whoever to earn it only based on merit, not just by default because the coaches have dreams of redshirting Speight. If Speight is definitely behind Morris in the coaches eyes, I agree that a RS makes sense.ReplyDelete
Interesting opinion. In general I would agree that you want the best players filling your depth chart. In this case, however, I think it is very unlikely that there is a significant distinction between Morris or Speight when it comes to being the #2 QB. More importantly, it is unlikely that there would be enough sample size in games or practice to distinguish them enough to waste a year of eligibility. If Speight is as good as you think, why not make sure you have four years of him rather than waste him with some garbage time or Gardner injury time?Delete
I strongly disagree that Gardner would be benched for either of those guys for too many reasons to count. Gardner has flaws as a QB for sure and it hurt the team that they couldn't pull him when he was clearly banged up or rattled last year. But at the same time you have a 5th year senior that put up very good stats last year despite a horrific OL and RB situation. Replacing him with a statuesque true freshman behind a potentially worse OL or RB seems like lunacy.
The only caveat I'd offer is this - if Gardner were to get a serious injury early in the season I think it would be a wide open competition between the three QBs for playing time and the redshirt wouldn't matter. As it is, there's no need to play Speight with 2-3other QBs of similar or superior value on the roster.
Not sure why you consider it unlikely that Speight and Morris can be distinguished by the coaches? Usually, there is a lot of variability with young QB's because they could be struggling with various facets and they develop at different rates. And they are working with a fresh OC who is telling Mattison to come after them. You never know 100% until you see them in the games, but the coaches are poring over every detail with these kids and a pecking order will be established in their minds.Delete
I am highly confident that Devin gets pulled this season if he plays like he did against Akron or NW last year. Why on earth would Hoke give him a long leash again? He won't be around next year. The natives are restless going into the season. If Devin struggles, they will be looking for any reason to keep supporters interested and that will only happen with the prospect of a new QB. Young QB's have been lighting up college football the last several years. The last two Heisman QB's were RS Freshmen. So if UM does not have young QB's who can relieve a struggling starter, they are recruiting the wrong QB's.
At least it sounds like we agree that the #2 on the depth chart should be the second best player, if called upon in crunch time.
Just my opinion, but I don't think appeasing the "natives" is a real thought crossing Hoke's mind during the game. He's trying to win. Hoke knows his best chances for that, by a long long loooooooooong shot are with the 5th year senior named all conference honorable mention as opposed to a true freshman for whom the playbook had to be neutered (even with several weeks of prep) and offensive strategy resorting to gimmicks.Delete
I don't think Devin struggled as much as the offense (OL/scheme) struggled. We were much much worse with Morris at the helm, so where the notion comes from that he might be better is really baffling to me.
Magnus - what prompted you to call Bellamy a "rising" junior? If anything I would suspect his stock has fallen about as far as possible considering the depth on the roster, his injury, and his significant struggles in limited time. Just curious as it seemed like an odd complimentReplyDelete
"Rising" means he was a sophomore and he will be a junior.Delete
Does this mean when/ if Spreight graduates he will 24 yrs old (young)??...seems oddReplyDelete
After Tate Forcier and Chad Henne, I've learned not to underestimate well-prepared freshman QBs. If Gardner goes down, Speight could be the man.ReplyDelete
First "too low" of the year. Good to get it out of the way early.ReplyDelete
One thing no one has considered is the size of the travel team. They only take 60 (I think, I know it is less than the 85 scholarship limit) players on the road. No one ever takes the 4th guy with them because of the limit.ReplyDelete
So, unless the coaches really want to let Bellomy know he ought to transfer, he travels as the 3rd man. So Speight auto-redshirts. Now, I don't think the coaches would have a problem bumping Speight ahead of Bellomy, but with Gardner and Morris the clear 1-2, there doesn't seem to be any good reason to burn Speight's redshirt/force Bellomy out. Bellomy might never start, but his presence on the roster provides some 3rd QB security while allowing the freshmen QBs to red shirt, Speight in 14, Malzone in 15.