MLive: Speight says he’s transferring to UCLA

MLive: Speight says he’s transferring to UCLA


April 12, 2018

Wilton Speight says he’s transferring to UCLA, where he would appear to be an odd fit with Chip Kelly (LINK). Dorian Thompson-Robinson thought he was escaping the large shadow of Speight when he spurned Michigan in favor of UCLA, but now Speight is hunting him down.

There are some lovely ladies after the jump, including Alexis Ren.

Alexis Ren

24 comments

  1. Lanknows
    Comments: 3686
    Joined: 8/11/2015
    Lanknows
    Apr 13, 2018 at 1:09 PM

    This is consistent with my speculation when Speight announced he was leaving – that he was looking for a better environment, better offense, and opportunity to showcase himself elsewhere for the NFL. As the Amazon documentary showed, Speight was sensitive to the extreme negativity of the fanbase. Some waved him off and claimed he would go to a MAC-level program. Some asserted he was afraid of competing with UM’s QBs. etc. He didn’t feel appreciated, so he’s moving on.

    UM’s loss is UCLA’s gain. Perhaps it won’t be much of a loss if the NCAA rules to make an eligibility exception for Patterson – pure speculation with little precedent, even though some would rather hear what they want to hear. Perhaps it won’t be much of a gain for UCLA. The fit with Kelly is odd if you assume he’s going to run something like the Oregon offense. But that seems like an odd assumption to make given the the last several years in the NFL, though it’s certainly possible. Maybe he will just be a backup security blanket. Maybe he will be the starter. We’ll see.

    Anyway — This is a GREAT opportunity for Speight. He will be surrounded by high caliber talent and an elite offensive mind. If he succeeds or he doesn’t – nobody knows. He will get a shot. I think most Michigan fans think little of Speight and assume he will fail.

    Regardless, Speight is putting himself in position to succeed. He has another chance. IMO it’ll be one of the more fascinating storylines of the 2018 season.

    To make this more interesting — to the TTB readers that don’t think much of him — I would make a bet that Speight throws for more yards and has a higher QBR than Peters.

    • 17years
      Comments: 47
      Joined: 2/6/2018
      17years
      Apr 13, 2018 at 11:27 PM

      I’m a Michigan fan. I’m not expecting him to fail. But I don’t think he is as good as you say. He is not going to be drafted into the NFL. He will have to walk on. He could make a team and be a lifetime 3rd/occasionally 2nd string, which isn’t bad.

      • Lanknows
        Comments: 3686
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        Lanknows
        Apr 16, 2018 at 3:02 PM

        I don’t think he’s a lock to get drafted anymore. 2017 was too much of a disappointment. All I’m saying is he has an excellent opportunity at UCLA.

        If he’s a barely-used backup he won’t get drafted. If he’s healthy and productive as a starter, even a fill-in, he almost certainly will.

        Beathard and Rudock got drafted – which tells you how thirsty the NFL is for well-prepared QBs who have proven themselves capable in a traditional offense. UCLA may not be that but his ’17 season can be explained away. To put it bluntly — the NFL bar isn’t that high. You start at Michigan under Harbaugh – you’re probably getting drafted unless things go sideways. Maybe they did for Speight. Or maybe he just got hurt. — we’ll see if he’s more O’Korn or Rudock.

        As for Peters – there’s still hope but circumstantial evidence says he’s probably just a guy. His lack of separation from O’Korn and now McCaffrey (reportedly) and the fact that his classmate Shea Patterson is, by all reports, already well ahead of Peters despite just arriving on campus. Peters didn’t even come close to beating out Speight last year either. Michigan fans don’t seem inclined to accepting that. They’d generally rather imagine that Harbaugh/Hamilton/Drevno don’t know what they are doing. Which if you think about it is far more worrisome, but also harder to fix.

        This is all to say people generally want an easy fix – put in a different/better QB and everything is fine. QED.

        • Comments: 797
          Joined: 1/19/2016
          je93
          Apr 16, 2018 at 10:25 PM

          They did go sideways — before the injury

          “You start at Michigan under Harbaugh – you’re probably getting drafted unless things go sideways. Maybe they did for Speight.”

        • Lanknows
          Comments: 3686
          Joined: 8/11/2015
          Lanknows
          Apr 17, 2018 at 2:10 PM

          You mean the road game against Iowa? Yeah that was bad, but we still don’t really know when Speight hurt his shoulder in that game (or was it before).

          Heading into that game Michigan was 9-0, had a top 10 ranked offense, and Speight had a QB rating higher than pretty much any Michigan QB this side of Drew Henson.

          That turned out to be the height of his career at Michigan (thanks in part to defense blowing leads late against OSU and FSU), but it still happened. At that moment in time Speight looked like a possible Heisman contender — as a RS Soph.

          • Comments: 797
            Joined: 1/19/2016
            je93
            Apr 17, 2018 at 10:11 PM

            Speight was never a possible Heisman candidate… Jeez Louise

            • Lanknows
              Comments: 3686
              Joined: 8/11/2015
              • Thunder
                Comments: 2442
                Joined: 7/13/2015
                Apr 18, 2018 at 7:47 AM

                We’ve been through this before, but just because Jim Harbaugh said it doesn’t make it accurate. What if he said last year that Devin Bush was a Heisman candidate? Would that suddenly make it true?

                If the national media and/or Heisman voters talk about you as a candidate, then you’re a candidate. A coach who doesn’t have a vote? He doesn’t count.

                Speight had 15 touchdowns and 3 interceptions through 9 games (a.k.a. pre-Iowa). That projects to about 20 touchdowns and 4 interceptions over 12 games. In the modern age, who’s going to vote for a QB who throws 20 touchdowns that isn’t also a mobile QB who makes amazing plays with his legs? The last time a guy with fewer than 20 TD passes won the Heisman was 2001, when Eric Crouch threw 7 TD passes…while rushing for 1,115 yards and 18 TDs.

              • Lanknows
                Comments: 3686
                Joined: 8/11/2015
                Lanknows
                Apr 19, 2018 at 12:07 AM

                I didn’t say he was going to win. I said “Speight looked like a possible Heisman contender” at that moment.

                The QB of an undefeated team with a top 10 efficiency offense will be in the conversation. Let’s not forget that Michigan was a play away from beating both Iowa and OSU on the road (offense or defense). Despite Speight’s injury.

                So, I will repeat my assertion:

                At that moment, Speight looked like a possible Heisman contender.

              • Lanknows
                Comments: 3686
                Joined: 8/11/2015
                Lanknows
                Apr 19, 2018 at 12:09 AM

                Harbaugh didn’t say it about Bush and he did about Speight. This is a national media article talking about the comments after the fact. If Harbaugh’s goal was to get Speight some more attention – it worked.

                • Comments: 797
                  Joined: 1/19/2016
                  je93
                  Apr 19, 2018 at 9:57 AM

                  Lanknows is back. Volume over content…
                  Sure, “possible,” but dozens to a hundred players are “possible,” while only a few are actually considered probable, and no more than five invited to NY. Even then, maybe two are actually talked about across the media
                  As for your one article, it started with Harbaugh’s vote of confidence fort his QB (shocker), and then the very next sentence mocks the suggestion with “well you can forget about that”

                  Welcome back, we all appreciate the entertainment

                  GO BLUE

                • Lanknows
                  Comments: 3686
                  Joined: 8/11/2015
                  Lanknows
                  Apr 19, 2018 at 1:14 PM

                  ” two are actually talked about across the media”

                  News to me. Here I was thinking I remember more than two people in the Heisman conversation pretty much every year.

                • Comments: 797
                  Joined: 1/19/2016
                  je93
                  Apr 20, 2018 at 12:12 AM

                  Two (sometimes three), yes. There are five invited to NY, but no one assumes Jabrill Peppers is going to win. It’s always the winner, and one (maybe two guys) seriously considered. Even then, only occasionally is it not obvious to most who will get it. With the exception of years with a Bush-Young type race, we know

                  That said, speight’s “possible” shot at the trophy started with his coach’s exaggerated support, and was cut off immediately — as evident in your own example

    • Comments: 797
      Joined: 1/19/2016
      je93
      Apr 14, 2018 at 12:10 PM

      That’s not exactly a genius speculation, since every transfer is “looking for a better environment, better offense (defense l, and opportunity to showcase himself elsewhere for the NFL”

      As for the rest, we shall see. When surrounded by a borderline playoff team, he was a marginal QB. When on a young unproven team, he was flat out bad. I doubt he sees the field. In fact, the bet should be: who gets more PT, Peters or speight?

      • Lanknows
        Comments: 3686
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        Lanknows
        Apr 16, 2018 at 1:38 PM

        Many QBs are transferring for playing time (e.g., Rudock). Others have no real expectation of NFL attention (e.g., Malzone). A better offense isn’t necessarily an objective either (e.g., Malik Zaire).

        So – there is a relevant distinction. Speight’s motivation has been the subject of speculation and it still matters now because it reflects on Michigan. My opinion is that it says some negative things. In particular – the entitlement of the fanbase, the degree of problems on the offensive line, and the staff’s inability to put together a high-level offense.

        The debate about Speight is if he’s a “marginal” college player or NFL QB. The outcome should tell us if the bulk of Michigan fans (who think he’s marginal) are right. Believers like me point to all-conference honors in ’16, with near identical stats to Rudock in ’15.* Skeptics point to struggles in ’17 and not clearly beating out O’Korn. And after the Amazon special – his sensitivity to media coverage.

        For a guy with so much experience under his belt – there’s a pretty broad range of perceptions. A lot of that is due to how much you put into supporting cast and injury.

        *Nobody dismisses Rudock as being “surrounded by a borderline playoff team” despite everyone around him being NFL players and having more talent, if not experience, in 2015. In fact, Thunder rates Rudock as one of the best Michigan QBs of the last couple decades – better than Michigan’s all-time leader in touchdown’s scored even, Big Ten MVP, and Heisman finalist. Speight had a very similar season but is uh….not held in the same regard.

        So – it’ll be interesting to watch.

        • Thunder
          Comments: 2442
          Joined: 7/13/2015
          Apr 16, 2018 at 2:27 PM

          In fairness to myself, there are 8 players above Speight in those rankings, and 7/8 were drafted (Gardner was not drafted, and Denard Robinson was drafted as something other than a QB).

          There are 8 players below Speight, only one of whom was drafted. That 1 was Ryan Mallett, who got drafted based on what he did at Arkansas. There are also 3 in that bottom section who have yet to pass the draft date, but I’m guessing John O’Korn and Shane Morris will go undrafted, too, and the jury is out on Brandon Peters.

          That leaves Speight pretty much smack dab between “draftable” and “undraftable” with one year left. My guess is that he would not have been drafted if he left for the NFL after the 2017 season. We’ll see what happens in 2018 (and the 2019 draft), but I still feel pretty comfortable – and I believe most would – pegging him as a guy on the borderline of being a draft-worthy QB.

          • Lanknows
            Comments: 3686
            Joined: 8/11/2015
            Lanknows
            Apr 16, 2018 at 3:35 PM

            NFL interest and college success aren’t the same thing. NBCsports list of the 5 best college QBs of all time doesn’t include a single successful NFL player (Tommie Frazier, Sammie Baugh, Tebow, Weurfel, Leinart). ESPN’s list of 10 is about 50/50 with NFL success.

            This is a key distinction if you’re passing judgement on Speight’s NFL potential based on 2017 (or Denard).

            Speight wouldn’t be drafted now but would have if somehow it was possible to declare prior to the 2016 Iowa game/injury. I agree he’s borderline for 2019 – which is why the UCLA outcome is interesting, even without the added intrigue of Chip Kelly’s return to college.

            If Speight has success at UCLA – he’s getting drafted. It’s clear that most Michigan fans don’t expect that. I do – though I’m not nearly as confident in Speight’s ability as I was a year ago.

            Circumstances matter a great deal. Speight and Rudock had a lot of talent around them in ’15 and ’16 and were (mostly) healthy. In ’17 Speight’s circumstances were not great – as evidence by O’Korn and Peters’ struggles and, uh, getting his back broken.

            Now, at UCLA, circumstances might be really good again for Speight. Or he’ll get cracked again in a new scheme and/or spend the season watching a freshman run all over the field. We’ll see…

            Bottomline – Wilton Speight is probably better off than he was in January.

            Is Michigan?….ask Shea Patterson’s lawyer or the subscription peddler’s if you want to be optimistic.

            • Comments: 1099
              Joined: 8/13/2015
              Roanman
              Apr 16, 2018 at 4:23 PM

              Lets go with four out of five.

              https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sammy_Baugh

            • Lanknows
              Comments: 3686
              Joined: 8/11/2015
              Lanknows
              Apr 16, 2018 at 6:36 PM

              I was 80% right and 100% wrong. I should have check that one – thanks.

              • Comments: 1099
                Joined: 8/13/2015
                Roanman
                Apr 17, 2018 at 7:13 AM

                Take it easy on yourself there L
                anky. You have to be pretty damn old to know from Sammy Baugh.

        • Comments: 797
          Joined: 1/19/2016
          je93
          Apr 16, 2018 at 10:35 PM

          Rudock had 1mo on campus, with a roster that was one year younger and in its Harbaugh infancy — still shaking off the Hoke culture. He looked great in his Bowl game, and the NFL was intrigued
          As a RSSo, Speight had been around the team much longer, was surrounded by seniors on their way to the League, and looked like crap as he he faced November challenge & the Bowl game

          The laughable part of your return is the assumption speight gets drafted before Iowa…

          • Lanknows
            Comments: 3686
            Joined: 8/11/2015
            Lanknows
            Apr 17, 2018 at 2:00 PM

            Rudock was a multi-year starter who had already thrown for nearly 5,000 yards and 30+ TDs before he got to Michigan. He had 4 years of experience at Iowa – that doesn’t all disappear because you think Hoke stinks so bad his “culture” lingers for 9 months after he has left town, even with a notoriously strong personality taking his place.

            Speight had thrown for 73 yards when he became starter – i.e., less experienced than Peters is now.* The week before his injury he threw for 362 yards against a respectable (#45 in the country) defense.

            *Kinda interesting how everyone seems to treat Peters like he’s a baby-faced freshman even though he’s been in the program a full two seasons now. Getting red-shirted (or not) seems to have a big impact on perceptions and expectations. I bet if you stopped people on south state street and asked them what class Peters and Patterson are in maybe 20 percent would answer correctly.

            I’d bet fans will turn on Peters quickly if he struggles this year. Just as they turned on Speight in the same situation. God forbid he gets hurt. Hopefully Patterson has more to offer than “the best ineligible QB on campus” 2 years ago.

  2. Comments: 1099
    Joined: 8/13/2015
    Roanman
    Apr 17, 2018 at 8:09 AM

    My road tripping buddy from the day texted me about Speight last night, and reminisced about the two days we spent wandering around UCLA and Westwood. Specifically, he reminisced about the women. I can tell you with complete certainty that that particular, tiny corner of the world holds the single greatest concentration of spectacular women on this earth. He then offered his opinion that Speight won’t get a snap, but that he won’t care even a little. I haven’t bothered to check out what Chip Kelly has for QB’s beyond Thompson-Robinson, so I won’t speculate there beyond saying that Speight is a poor fit for a Chip Kelly offense, but with regards to that second thing … there can be no doubt.

    • Lanknows
      Comments: 3686
      Joined: 8/11/2015
      Lanknows
      Apr 17, 2018 at 2:02 PM

      Not a bad place to spend a few months. Speight’s in rare company getting to be big man on campus at 2 different schools of this caliber.

      It’ll be interesting to see what “a Chip Kelly offense” looks like. I don’t think he recruited Speight to have him rush for 800 yards.

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