Ranking Michigan’s Quarterbacks

Ranking Michigan’s Quarterbacks


March 19, 2017

Drew Henson (image via Detroit News)

Sports fans love to debate the greatness of players and rank them in order from most revered to most despised. And while despised probably doesn’t fit any of these players, since they played for the University of Michigan, we all have our favorites. I have endeavored to achieve the un-possible: Rank all of Michigan’s starting quarterbacks.

Okay, that’s too tall of a task for me right now. I’m working up to it. So I’m only going back to 1995, which was the beginning of the Lloyd Carr era. That’s the earliest full coaching tenure where I can count on my recollections of Michigan football. I was a big fan of Bo Schembechler, Gary Moeller, and the Michigan Wolverines before then, but I’ll be damned if I say I was aware enough to understand what was happening on the field.

This ranking only takes into account what the quarterbacks achieved wearing the winged helmet. High school highlight tapes and NFL performance aren’t taken into account. (After all, we can agree that Tom Brady is far and away the best quarterback who ever played the game of football, and that includes Uncle Rico.)

So if you were starting a season with your pick of any Michigan QB since 1995, which one would you take?

On with the show:

1. TOM BRADY
Record as starter: 20-5 from 1995-1999
Career statistics: 443/711 (62.3%), 5351 yards, 35 TDs, 19 INTs
Biggest win: In the Orange Bowl against Alabama in 1999, Brady led a second-half comeback win and finished 34/46 for 369 yards, 4 TDs, and 0 INTs.
Why the ranking? People might say that Michigan fans are only huge Brady fans in retrospect, but his senior year saw him throw 20 TDs and just 6 INTs while completing 62.8% of his throws. Sure, there were some growing pains along the way, but he ultimately went 20-5 and made Michigan fans proud. Michigan fans like me were anxious to see Drew Henson, but we also were confused when Henson was taking time away from a stellar Tom Brady in 1999.

2. DREW HENSON
Record as starter: 6-2 from 1998-2000
Career statistics: 214/374 (57.2%), 2946 yards, 24 TDs, 7 INTs; 67 carries for 46 yards, 4 TDs
Biggest win: Henson led the Wolverines to a 38-26 win over the Ohio State Buckeyes in November of 2000. He didn’t complete a high percentage of his passes (14/25 or 56%), but he did throw for 303 yards, 3 TDs, and 1 INT, along with a 1-yard touchdown run.
Why the ranking? Henson’s numbers and winning percentage aren’t exemplary, but the trajectory of his career was headed in a positive direction when he decided to quit football in favor of a baseball career. His completion percentage improved from 45% as a freshman to 52% as a sophomore to 62% as a junior. He also threw for 18 TDs and just 4 INTs in his final season. During his junior year, he was outstanding.

3. JAKE RUDOCK
Record as starter: 10-3 in 2015
Career statistics: 249/389 (64.0%), 3017 yards, 20 TDs, 9 INTs; 58 carries for 166 yards, 4 TDs
Biggest win: Michigan had a ballyhooed matchup with the Florida Gators in the Gator Bowl, and that resulted in a 41-7 victory for the Wolverines. Rudock completed 20/31 passes for 278 yards and 3 TDs, and he ran 4 times for 29 yards.
Why the ranking? Rudock only spent one season in Ann Arbor after transferring from Iowa. He started off with mediocre performances since he didn’t arrive on campus until August, but as his chemistry built with his receivers, he turned in one of the best passing seasons in Michigan history.

4. BRIAN GRIESE
Record as starter: 17-5 from 1993-1997
Career statistics: 355/606 (58.6%), 4383 yards, 33 TDs, 18 INTs
Biggest win: It’s tough not to pick an Ohio State victory, but Griese wasn’t the savior on that day in 1997. He did, however, play an excellent game in the “national championship game,” the Rose Bowl victory over Washington State that sealed a share of the title. He threw a touchdown pass in each of the final quarters to lead Michigan to a 21-16 win, ending up 18/30 for 251 yards, the 3 TDs, and 1 INT.
Why the ranking? Griese deserves a lot of credit for managing the 1997 team to 13 victories and 0 losses. He didn’t make backbreaking mistakes, and he got the ball to the right people. He also didn’t have a great backfield or a truly elite wide receiver. What he did have was a great offensive line and a great defense. Michigan’s 2016 defense was often compared to the 1997 version, but one huge difference between 13-0 and 10-3 is the offensive line. Regardless, Griese wasn’t a great quarterback, but he was the right guy for the job at the time.

5. CHAD HENNE
Record as starter: 34-13 from 2004-2007
Career statistics: 828/1387 (59.7%), 9715 yards, 87 TDs, 37 INTs
Biggest win: Michigan State finished 5-7 in 2004, but there’s never any love lost between MSU and Michigan. In Henne’s freshman year, he helped Braylon Edwards put on an epic performance in a 45-37, triple-overtime win over the Spartans. Henne was 24/35 for 273 yards and 4 TDs, including the game-winning 24-yarder to Edwards.
Why the ranking? Much like John Navarre, Henne put up some very good numbers, but those were buoyed by the fact that he was a four-year starter. He was 0-4 against Ohio State, and he consistently struggled with his accuracy. Moreso than any other QB on this list except for Shane Morris (see below), Henne seemed unable to take any velocity off his throws, and those bullets often glanced off someone’s hands or didn’t give receivers enough time to adjust. He had some gutsy performances when dealing with injury, but ultimately, his performance was good but not great.

6. DEVIN GARDNER
Record as starter: 15-13 from 2010-2014
Career statistics: 475/787 (60.4%), 6336 yards, 44 TDs, 32 INTs; 342 carries for 916 yards, 24 TDs
Biggest win: The 2013 win over Indiana had eye-popping numbers (503 passing yards, for example), but Notre Dame was coming off of a national championship game appearance and got beaten down by Gardner and company in 2013. In the 41-30 victory, Gardner was 21/33 for 4 TDs and 1 INT while also running 13 times for 82 yards and 1 TD.
Why the ranking? I love Devin Gardner’s physical abilities and leadership qualities, and I’m in agreement with many Michigan fans: What would Gardner have achieved under the coaching of Jim Harbaugh? We’ll never know, and that makes it difficult to place Gardner on this list. I want to rank him higher, but ultimately, he made some really ugly turnovers and didn’t win enough games. He was doomed by a coach whose career was going into a tailspin and the worst offensive line performance in decades. I know people will get upset with me for placing him above Robinson, and Gardner didn’t have the same abilities to run; but Gardern was a superior passer and very effective with his legs.

Denard Robinson (image via Dr. Saturday)

7. DENARD ROBINSON
Record as starter: 23-11 from 2009-2012
Career statistics: 427/747 (57.2%), 6250 yards, 49 TDs, 39 INTs; 723 carries for 4495 yards, 42 TDs
Biggest win: Robinson’s performances went up and down as a passer, even though he was always a dangerous runner. He didn’t have a great night against Notre Dame in 2011, but the team ultimately came out with a win in the initial Under the Lights matchup. Robinson (and Jeremy Gallon) had some late-game heroics that led to a 35-31 win. Robinson was 11/24 for 338 yards, 4 TDs, and 3 INTs, and he also ran 16 times for 108 yards and 1 TD.
Why the ranking? Okay, I’m on the record as saying that Denard Robinson wasn’t a great quarterback, though he was an excellent runner. With all the talk about how a running quarterback changes the game, Robinson’s win-loss record wasn’t great – despite Brady Hoke’s inaugural 11-2 season. He also turned over the ball too much (39 INTs, plus too many fumbles) and had a career completion percentage of just over 57%. He did some great things while at Michigan, but his throwing abilities were lacking.

8. JOHN NAVARRE
Record as starter: 31-11 from 1999-2003
Career statistics: 765/1366 (56.0%), 9254 yards, 72 TDs, 31 INTs
Biggest win: Navarre’s 2003 win against Ohio State was significant. It propelled Michigan to a Rose Bowl appearance, and it gave the Wolverines a victory over the previously 10-1 Buckeyes. But that’s not the game I think of when it comes to Navarre. He led Michigan’s all-time best comeback on the road at Minnesota. This is one of those games where I remember exactly where I was and who I was with when watching that game on TV. Michigan was down 28-7 against the Gophers before Navarre turned on the jets – (almost) literally. In addition to completing 33/47 passes for 353 yards, 2 TDs, and 1 INT, he also caught a 36-yard TD pass from Steve Breaston on a “Transcontinental” throwback to the QB. The Wolverines won, 38-35.
Why the ranking? Despite setting a bunch of records at Michigan – largely because he started for three full seasons and part of a fourth – Navarre had an uncanny knack for getting his passes batted down at the line of scrimmage, an impressive feat for a 6’6″ quarterback. He was slow and rather inaccurate, and he even had a good supporting cast around him that included the likes of Chris Perry, Anthony Thomas, Braylon Edwards, Jason Avant, and Marquise Walker.

9. WILTON SPEIGHT
Record as starter: 9-3 from 2014-2016
Career statistics: 213/356 (59.8%), 2611 yards, 19 TDs, 8 INTs
Biggest win: Michigan State was terrible (3-9) in 2016, but that doesn’t change the fact that they had dominated the series against Michigan in recent years. Speight was 16/25 for 244 yards, 0 TDs, and 1 INT, so it wasn’t a great game, but he did well enough to end the losing streak against the Spartans.
Why the ranking? Speight can move up (or down) this list in the 2017 and 2018 seasons, but for now, he’s in the middle of the pack. He struggled in some games that Michigan probably should have won, and he looked very good against teams who were struggling. That might be a part of being a young quarterback and growing up, but he’ll have to perform better in big games if he wants to reach elite status as a Michigan quarterback.

10. SCOTT DREISBACH
Record as starter: 12-3 from 1994-1998
Career statistics: 208/380 (54.7%), 2920 yards, 15 TDs, 12 INTs; 81 carries, 51 yards, 2 TDs
Biggest win: In Lloyd Carr’s first game as head coach, Dreisbach brought the Wolverines back from a 17-0 deficit against the Virginia Cavaliers, culminating in a late, game-winning touchdown pass to Mercury Hayes. In that game he was 27/52 for 372 yards, 2 TDs, and 2 INTs; those passing attempts and passing yardage were records for Michigan at the time.
Why the ranking? Dreisbach didn’t put up great numbers and played for a run-heavy team that didn’t count on him a ton, but he had a solid record and made some big plays – including a memorable 72-yard run against Illinois. Injuries and other talented quarterbacks shortened his career, and he came off the bench for the final two years of his career. But some people forget that when he went 4-0 in 1995, he was just a redshirt freshman.

11. TATE FORCIER
Record as starter: 5-7 from 2009-2010
Career statistics: 219/365 (60.0%), 2647 yards, 17 TDs, 14 INTs; 140 carries for 291 yards, 4 TDs
Biggest win: The Notre Dame game was the biggest game in 2009. Michigan pulled off a 38-34 upset that included a 31-yard TD run by Forcier and then the game-winning touchdown pass to wideout Greg Mathews with just 11 seconds remaining in the game. On that day Forcier was 23/33 for 240 yards, 2 TDs, and 1 INT, and he ran the ball 13 times for 70 yards and the 1 TD. He looked like Rich Rodriguez’s next big thing at the time, though his star faded after that point.
Why the ranking? There’s no doubt that Forcier was a talented player, but he was a risk-taker and gunslinger without the necessary arm strength, judgment, and supporting cast to make that work. Attitude and off-the-field issues seemed to contribute to his demise, since he was academically ineligible after 2010.

12. RYAN MALLETT
Record as starter: 3-0 in 2007
Career statistics: 61/141 (43.3%), 892 yards, 7 TDs, 5 INTs
Biggest win: In his second career start, Mallett was 16/29 for 170 yards, 0 TDs, and 1 INT against Penn State. But he helped the Wolverines to a 14-9 win over the Nittany Lions, who finished the year with a 9-4 record, and that game included a seemingly unlikely touchdown scramble from the 6’7″, 252-pounder. It wasn’t as dominant of a win as the 38-0 victory over Notre Dame the previous week, but the Fighting Irish finished 3-9 that year.
Why the ranking? Mallett’s numbers weren’t great, and he had the advantage of handing off to Mike Hart and throwing to the likes of Mario Manningham. So he had a better supporting cast than many of the quarterbacks on this list, but quarterbacks are measured by wins, and he found a way to help the Wolverines to that 3-0 record during his time.

13. STEVE THREET
Record as starter: 2-6 from 2007-2008
Career statistics: 102/200 (51%), 1105 yards, 9 TDs, 7 INTs; 76 carries for 201 yards, 2 TDs
Biggest win: Michigan stunned Wisconsin with a 27-25 victory over the Badgers in 2008. Threet struggled throwing the ball (12/31 for 96 yards, 1 TD, and 2 INTs), but the 6’6″ Threet stunned everyone with a 58-yard run and ended the game with 9 carries for 89 yards.
Why the ranking? Threet had some potential, but he was unlucky throughout his career. He enrolled early at Georgia Tech just before they moved to a triple-option offense, so he dodged a bullet in order fall into the arms of pro-style QB haven Michigan . . . and then Lloyd Carr retired to be replaced by a spread option coach in Rich Rodriguez. After one season of not working out, he transferred to Arizona State and then retired from football due to concussions. Maybe he could have carved out a more lasting legacy if he had graduated from high school 5-10 years earlier, but that’s the way things go sometimes.

14. JOHN O’KORN
Record as starter: 1-0 from 2015-2016
Career statistics: 20/34 (58.8%), 173 yards, 2 TDs, 0 INTs; 12 carries for 31 yards
Biggest win: In his only start for an injured Wilton Speight, O’Korn didn’t play well but sparked a late surge with a 30-yard scramble.
Why the ranking? O’Korn played well when he was inserted as a backup late in games, but he didn’t play so well in his one start. The jury is still out on him with one year of eligibility left, but it looks like he’ll be a backup once again behind Wilton Speight.

15. NICK SHERIDAN
Record as starter: 1-3 from 2007-2010
Career statistics: 70/148 (47.3%), 701 yards, 2 TDs, 6 INTs; 45 carries for 103 yards, 1 TD
Biggest win: Naturally, it’s his only win, but he also played a good game. He was 18/30 for 203 yards, 1 TD, and 0 INTs. He also ran 8 times or 33 yards in the 29-6 win over the Minnesota Gophers at the Metrodome.
Why the ranking? Sheridan did not have a good career, but as a walk-on from Saline, he wasn’t expected to do much in college. He fell into a situation where Michigan was lacking quarterbacks and he happened to be somewhat mobile for Rich Rodriguez’s offense, so Sheridan made the best of it.

16. SHANE MORRIS
Record as starter: 0-2 from 2013-2016
Career statistics: 47/92 (51.1%), 434 yards, 0 TD, 5 INT; 18 carries for 87 yards (4.8 YPC)
Biggest win: N/A
Why the ranking? Morris arrived at Michigan when Brady Hoke’s regime was on a downward slide, but Morris did nothing to stem the tide. Even with two years of Jim Harbaugh’s coaching, he rose no higher than third on the depth chart and never accounted for a touchdown during his four years on campus.

Let the arguments begin.

This was originally posted on March 17, 2017.

139 comments

  1. Comments: 904
    Joined: 8/13/2015
    Roanman
    Mar 17, 2017 at 9:09 AM

    You are lucky I am so fond of you as I am sorely tempted to bite hard over this Denard Robinson error.

    If Devin Gardner was snakebit by a failing coach and his dumbass offensive coordinator, Robinson was flat out hamstrung. Had RR been here for Robinson’s last two seasons, his numbers would have been unimaginable. And ….. his picks would have been way, way lower.

    Imagine if you will, the six or dozen times you saw Robinson take the snap, look downfield, ostensibly seeing nothing take off to run only to stop short of the line of scrimmage and throw some floating, sickly duck looking ball to an open by six yards Roy Rountree.

    The single most blatantly stupid decision ever made in the entire history of football … at any level, was the decision to line Denard Robinson up under center. Second place ain’t even close. With the personal that he had, that fat moron should have crawled to RR’s house and begged for his playbook. He’d likely still be here today.

    • Comments: 904
      Joined: 8/13/2015
      Roanman
      Mar 17, 2017 at 9:10 AM

      I’m so upset, I couldn’t even edit.

      • DonAZ
        Comments: 319
        Joined: 8/12/2015
        DonAZ
        Mar 17, 2017 at 9:52 AM

        I’m going to play contrarian here. But first, a disclaimer: I like Denard Robinson. It was great fun watching him.

        I’ll also agree with you regarding Borges and putting Denard under center. Ditto putting Gardner under center. (And I think Denard did better in that role than did Gardner.)

        Here’s where I’ll be contrarian — imaging RR held around for two more years. I don’t think Denard’s numbers would have gone up each year. I think by the time Hoke/Borges came along defenses were starting to figure out how to contain Robinson.

        To my dying day I will never, ever forget the bowl game against Mississippi State where MSU’s defensive players stayed disciplined and kept Robinson contained before tackling him. Robinson’s *first* step was not elite. His gift was steps two through five, where he’d get past people who took bad angles on him. In that game against MSU I saw several occasions where Robinson was contained, then stopped moving, then was tackled as he attempted to escape. Games against good defenses saw similar results.

        Plus, that offense featuring Denard Robinson running was one injury away from implosion, as we eventually saw when the blackshirts of Nebraska finally got him.

        One of the reasons I cheered RR’s departure is I thought his notions about football were starting to grow stale. Yes, his 2007 Mountaineers were a great team. But I promise you if last year’s Clemson defense faced the 2007 West Virginia offense, Clemson would have killed them. Rodriguez’s ideas about offense are dated; defenses understand that stuff; good defenses can beat that offense fairly easily.

        • Comments: 568
          Joined: 1/19/2016
          je93
          Mar 17, 2017 at 11:36 PM

          I was at that 2011 Gator Bowl. The drive home from Jacksonville to NOLA, with all those cowbell fans on the I-10 West were painful… couldn’t wait to be rid of RR

    • Comments: 2083
      Joined: 7/13/2015
      Mar 17, 2017 at 9:47 AM

      His interceptions might have been lower, but by how much? His 18-to-11 TD-to-INT rate in 2010 (under Rodriguez) was pretty bad, and there’s no guarantee it would have improved in 2011 or 2012. Percentage of throws ending in interceptions since 2008:

      1. Robinson in 2011: 5.8%
      2. Robinson in 2012: 5.4%
      3. Gardner in 2014: 5.3%
      4. Robinson in 2010: 3.8%
      5. Forcier in 2009: 3.6%

      Out of the group listed in the post, Robinson had 3 of the worst 4 seasons as QB when it comes to turnovers, and the only season mixed in is when the whole team went in the crapper in Hoke’s final season and Gardner was the QB.

      • Comments: 904
        Joined: 8/13/2015
        Roanman
        Mar 17, 2017 at 12:31 PM

        I think his picks Improve considerably.

        To begin with, as a sophomore starter, he throws 11 picks on 290 or so passes and completes 62% of his balls. Sophomores seldom see the field as well as they will as Juniors and then Seniors, but because of the two morons running the program and the offense respectively, Denard Robinson actually goes backwards as an upperclassman.

        His completion percentage is better as a Sophomore than it will be for the rest of his career because in RR’s system, he has the option to “run guys open”. And you know what I’m talking about here. He could take the snap in the shotgun and terrorize safeties simply by taking a step somewhere, not even necessarily toward the line of scrimmage. We saw it time after time after time where a safety, scared out of his mind about Denard running would take that one bad step and then want to puke his guts out as the ball softly sailed over his head to where he was supposed to be. The Michigan coaching staff after a great deal of consideration, deliberately took away the weapon that made Denard so incredibly dangerous. It makes me want to scream to this day. Matter of fact, I think I’ll just go outside for a minute.

        That either of those two idiots ever got another job in football above the position level in the case of Hoke, and the JV level in the case of Borges is beyond my comprehension.

        Denard was a terrible passer to be sure, but in RR’s system, a great, great QB.

        Gardner probably may have fit that description to a mildly lessor degree as well. Although, I have never been able to get past his State Championship game which was not stellar, whether that be fair or not.

        • Comments: 904
          Joined: 8/13/2015
          Roanman
          Mar 17, 2017 at 12:32 PM

          Should be, “next Michigan coaching staff”.

          I coming apart here.

        • Comments: 2083
          Joined: 7/13/2015
          Mar 18, 2017 at 1:48 PM

          His picks might have improved, but even with his ability to run guys open, he still had a worse INT percentage than Sheridan or Threet, neither of whom had that same running ability and played with lesser players around them. And both of those guys were relatively young when they played, too.

          • Comments: 904
            Joined: 8/13/2015
            Roanman
            Mar 18, 2017 at 6:19 PM

            I’m at a disadvantage here as It was so ugly that year that I payed absolutely no attention to what was going on with either of those guys. And I ain’t going back to look. I frankly can’t even begin to understand how you are able to go wallow in all that misery, but we’ve had that conversation too.

            But, it’s my opinion that RR protected the hell out of those guys by giving them only the simplest of throws. And i heard you above and agree that he gave Denard just a raft of easy throws as well.

            If the list is passers, I’m with you all the way, but we’re evaluating Quarterbacks. Denard, though a lousy passer was to my way of thinking a great QB. And had we an OC/Head Coach with a clue for his Junior and Senior seasons, Denard goes down as one of the all time greats.

            If you want to, you are free to call me for flip flopping on the issue as I’m the guy whose always saying that as a QB, Ricky Leach was a great Right Fielder. But the truth is you have to acknowledge his greatness as a QB even though, as a passer, he made Denard look like … pick your favorite great.

            • Comments: 2083
              Joined: 7/13/2015
              Mar 18, 2017 at 9:31 PM

              I don’t place Denard Robinson in the category of all-time greats. He was an all-time great runner, at least from the QB position. Allen Iverson was a great scorer, but he’s not going down (in my book) as an all-time great, because he never won anything and didn’t do enough of the other things (creating, playing defense, leadership, etc.) to be an all-time great. Denard was a much better teammate than Iverson, so I’m not comparing their personalities. But if I’m picking an NBA Dream Team, Iverson’s not on it.

              If I pick up Denard Robinson and place him on any other good/great team (Michigan or otherwise), I’m not sure that team will be as successful. Put him on Alabama’s team in 2015? I don’t think they win the national championship. Put Denard on Clemson in 2016? The natty doesn’t happen. If Denard is the QB of that 1997 Michigan team? I don’t think Michigan goes 13-0.

              Does Michigan go 13-0 with Henson at QB in 1997? I think so. Jake Rudock as the QB in 2016? I think Michigan is probably in the playoff, at the very least, not sitting at 10-2 in the regular season. So if Jake Rudock, Drew Henson, and others would be more effective than Denard (IMO), then I can’t put him in the all-time great category.

              Again, Denard Robinson was a great runner. But there’s not much on his resume as far as big wins in which he played well. The Sugar Bowl was a big win, but he didn’t play well. Beating Notre Dame in Under the Lights was a big win, but he didn’t play that well. So on and so forth.

              • Comments: 904
                Joined: 8/13/2015
                Roanman
                Mar 19, 2017 at 6:39 AM

                I think you create a false choice for yourself in arguing that Denard on another team, wouldn’t have been as good because you put him into a system that doesn’t compliment his abilities. This is my argument, Hoke/Borges removed a system that allowed him to be great and substituted their system which impeded his abilities.

                You say that Denard in a pro Set offense wouldn’t have been as good. Well obviously, just look at what happened here. I say Denard left alone to grow in a style of play that suited his gifts would have blown up the charts.

                • Comments: 904
                  Joined: 8/13/2015
                  Roanman
                  Mar 19, 2017 at 6:41 AM

                  That by the way is the eternal bonehead coaching move. Force fitting a talented kid into your system.

                • Comments: 2083
                  Joined: 7/13/2015
                  Mar 19, 2017 at 8:30 AM

                  I also said that Clemson wouldn’t have been as successful with Denard at QB, and Clemson isn’t a pro-style offense. Watson was 36/56 for 420 yards, 3 TDs, and 0 INTs in a 4-point win; they needed his passing abilities to win. Put Denard Robinson in for Marcus Mariota at Oregon, and I don’t think they make the national championship game two years ago.

                  On the flip side, Cardale Jones was the least talented runner at Ohio State a few years ago and ran a 4.8 forty. A.J. McCarron ran a 4.9. The Buckeyes still won the national championship with a much less talented runner. I think Urban Meyer and Florida could have made that thing work, but I would say the same thing about Rodriguez/Michigan. I think if you take Henson and put him on Michigan’s 2008-2010 teams, they’re a better team.

                • Comments: 904
                  Joined: 8/13/2015
                  Roanman
                  Mar 19, 2017 at 9:03 AM

                  I’m not in love with your Clemson example either as, given the choice, I’m taking Cam Newton too. At the college level, I’m probably taking Cam Newton over any QB of the last 10 years, maybe 20.

                • Comments: 2083
                  Joined: 7/13/2015
                  Mar 19, 2017 at 10:11 AM

                  I’d take Cam Newton, too. (As a QB, anyway, not as a person; I dislike Newton.) But Cam Newton isn’t really relevant to the conversation. He’s another dual-threat QB who was able to pass the ball effectively. His PER against ranked teams in 2010 was 142, 171, 167, 108, 205, 209, and 134. Denard’s throughout his career were 112, 163, 85, 129, 86, 171, 112, 104, 69, and 97.

                • Comments: 904
                  Joined: 8/13/2015
                  Roanman
                  Mar 19, 2017 at 10:26 AM

                  Agreed on all of it except to add, that Newton was in a system designed to fullyemploy what he brought to the table as opposed to Denard for whom Hoke/Borges ran a system that was representative of their philosophy, Denard’s specific gifts be damned.

                • Comments: 2083
                  Joined: 7/13/2015
                  Mar 19, 2017 at 10:50 AM

                  Yes, I fully understand that Hoke and Borges did not adapt entirely to Rich Rodriguez’s offense (or something approximating it), but I think Robinson’s getting too much of a pass from some for how he performed. He ran 221 times for 1,176 yards (5.3 YPC) and 16 touchdowns as a junior in 2011. They didn’t put him under center full-time and try to make him a pocket passer. They did try to, IMO, make him more of a nuanced QB by giving him more difficult reads and taking away the bubble screens to which he had been accustomed to propping up his completion percentage in 2010, and he did not adjust well. We all saw how the offense stumbled when faced with good defenses under Rodriguez, and that was largely because teams with athletes who could match up with Michigan were more prepared to deal with the simplistic schemes run by him. In essence, Michigan was damned if they stuck to a pure spread option offense (knowing it had and would falter) and damned if they made it more difficult (knowing Robinson couldn’t handle the reads/accuracy). It was a pick-your-poison situation similar to that of Rodriguez in 2008 when he had to decide whether to run his offense (knowing he didn’t have the right athletes) or run a pro-style offense (knowing that wasn’t his staff’s strength).

                  I don’t think Hoke and Borges are great coaches, but the decision to run their offense was sound. They weren’t hired to be Rich Rodriguez copycats. They were hired by administration for their own brand of football. Blame for forcing Denard Robinson into a more pro-style offense falls more on Dave Brandon than Brady Hoke.

                • Comments: 904
                  Joined: 8/13/2015
                  Roanman
                  Mar 19, 2017 at 12:30 PM

                  I think we have come to that place in our relationship, my darling, where we are going to have to a agree to disagree.

              • Comments: 904
                Joined: 8/13/2015
                Roanman
                Mar 19, 2017 at 7:00 AM

                Let me reverse your argument. AJ McCarron wins two national championships at Alabama and leaves with most if not all of their records. Is he as good at Florida if you substitute him for Tebow on those great Florida teams. i don’t think so.

                How does Denard do running Urban’s offense, with Percy Harvin et al. to play with? That would have been big fun ….. if you were a Gator.

    • Comments: 3181
      Joined: 8/11/2015
      Lanknows
      Mar 18, 2017 at 11:10 AM

      when you talk about running robinson under center being the stupidest decision are you referring to when Rodriguez did that against Iowa or later?

      • Comments: 904
        Joined: 8/13/2015
        Roanman
        Mar 18, 2017 at 12:20 PM

        Both

        • Comments: 3181
          Joined: 8/11/2015
          Lanknows
          Mar 18, 2017 at 12:44 PM

          I see no great tragedy in what Michigan did in 2010. Remember Molk got hurt after the first drive that game (which was a highly efficient TD drive heavy on I-form). The defense sucked (Iowa scored 38 points), but Michigan outgained Iowa 520 to 380 and had 29 first down’s to Iowa’s 21. The difference was turnovers (4 to 0). Smith fumbled on the goalline and interceptions (out of shotgun, not I-form) held the offense down to 28 points.

          It’s not the I-form that was the problem, it was the lack of coherent vision from Borges (and lack of OL development from Funk) that were the worst things ever.

          • Comments: 904
            Joined: 8/13/2015
            Roanman
            Mar 18, 2017 at 1:21 PM

            You are wrong. Your evidence is on film and in the numbers.

            • Comments: 3181
              Joined: 8/11/2015
              Lanknows
              Mar 18, 2017 at 2:03 PM

              what numbers? what film?

            • Comments: 3181
              Joined: 8/11/2015
              Lanknows
              Mar 20, 2017 at 8:41 PM

              No evidence, no numbers?

  2. DonAZ
    Comments: 319
    Joined: 8/12/2015
    DonAZ
    Mar 17, 2017 at 9:39 AM

    Very interesting conversation. This could go one of two ways: (1) ranking based on actual results, or (2) ranking based on what might have been had better decisions been made.

    Roanman above makes the case for Robinson in the “what might have been” … in that case, had Borges not been an idiot.

    I have a soft spot in my heart for Tate Forcier, for I think he could have been an interesting QB in the Rodriguez system had he not been a complete head case.

    Here’s my “what if” — what if Jake Rudock was a true 6’4″ and had a stronger arm? I like what he had between his ears. Smart QB, and Harbaugh seemed to really connect with him. My improved Rudock under Harbaugh’s tutelage for 2 or 3 years would have been awesome.

    • Comments: 2083
      Joined: 7/13/2015
      Mar 17, 2017 at 10:01 AM

      I think Borges could have done better with Robinson, but I also think Robinson had a ceiling that some don’t want to acknowledge. He was a great runner, one of the best in the history of college football. But he was always a bad passer. Rodriguez did a great job of hiding his deficiencies by giving him some very easy throws, but that problem wasn’t going to get fixed, regardless of the coach.

      I loved and hated Forcier at the same time. I liked the way he played on the field and his scrambling ability…but then he would do something really, really dumb. Of course, it didn’t help that we only saw him when he was a freshman and sophomore. We never got to see a “fully mature” Tate Forcier.

      On the other hand, I loved Jake Rudock as a QB. Obviously, he struggled early in that season, but the way he played during the second half of the year…damn. He and Harbaugh were a perfect fit. I’m with you in wondering what a few years with Harbaugh could have done.

      • Comments: 3181
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        Lanknows
        Mar 18, 2017 at 12:57 PM
        • Comments: 2083
          Joined: 7/13/2015
          Mar 18, 2017 at 1:58 PM

          Yes. Always. As discussed numerous times on this blog over the years, he was boosted by being able to roll out and throw hitches, as well as throw bubble screens. Indiana allowed the 114th-worst PER in 2010 and went 5-7. Ohio State had a solid defense but went 6-6 in their worst season in the last 20 years or so. Just because he had a good couple games doesn’t mean he was ever a good passer. Also, he’s a RB in the NFL, so there’s that. Nobody in the NFL thought he was a good passer, and very few college coaches thought he could be a QB. It’s a tribute to the ingenuity of Rich Rodriguez that he was able to turn Robinson into a guy who could put up decent numbers in college.

          • Comments: 3181
            Joined: 8/11/2015
            Lanknows
            Mar 18, 2017 at 2:10 PM

            You said he was always bad. That is incorrect.

            Denard was boosted by some things, Henson was boosted by others. These are details.

            Henson chose to play minor league baseball and did nada in the NFL, so there’s that.

            “decent numbers” lol. The best QB rating on the books and Michigan’s only Heisman finalist QB.

            You’re holding Denard’s running ability AT QB (!!!) against him, instead of crediting him for it. Sheridan, Threet, and Forcier ran Rodriguez’s offense too – they weren’t as good at passing.

            • Comments: 2083
              Joined: 7/13/2015
              Mar 18, 2017 at 2:36 PM

              Duncan Robinson is a good free throw shooter. That doesn’t mean he’s incapable of missing. The reverse can also be true. Denard Robinson wasn’t a good passer, but he did have some good games.

              I’m not holding Denard’s running ability against him. If I were, he would be lower, because he wasn’t a good passer. That comment is totally incorrect. Sheridan, Threet, and Forcier ran Rodriguez’s offense, too, and they weren’t as good at passing…which is a big reason they’re lower on the list. (BTW, Forcier’s PER was better in both of his seasons than that of Robinson in 2009 and 2012.)

              • Comments: 3181
                Joined: 8/11/2015
                Lanknows
                Mar 18, 2017 at 4:03 PM

                Denard had one of the best passing seasons by QB rating of all the names you listed. So even if you take away his accomplishments as a runner he produced as a passer too.

                Robinson completed a higher % of passes than Henson. Had a higher QB rating. Threw for more yards and TDs. Threw for more yards per attempt. Just AS A PASSER, Denard was more accomplished at Michigan than Henson.

                Your opinion may be that Henson could have done that in Rodriguez’s offense or that Robinson wouldn’t have done so well in Carr’s offense. Maybe you’re right and maybe you’re not but Robinson’s production at Michigan is what we are ranking here right? Not our individual fantasies?

                • Comments: 2083
                  Joined: 7/13/2015
                  Mar 18, 2017 at 5:18 PM

                  My opinion is that I would take Henson over Robinson. At some point you have to be able to beat teams with your arm. I think Drew Henson was better equipped to beat good team at the QB position than Denard Robinson.

                • Comments: 3181
                  Joined: 8/11/2015
                  Lanknows
                  Mar 20, 2017 at 8:46 PM

                  You are entitled to your opinion. I am entitled to point out when it reflects some personal biases that don’t stand up to reason.

                  Robinson beat a lot of teams with his arm and his legs. I don’t know why you’re excluding the legs part other than a personal bias against running QBs.

                  Henson couldn’t run like Denard and wasn’t as effective of a passer over his career. Denard had more success on the field, more accolades, and was more productive. This is a slam dunk.

                • Comments: 2083
                  Joined: 7/13/2015
                  Mar 20, 2017 at 9:36 PM

                  I have no personal bias against running QBs. I would love to have a running QB, but one who is also good at passing. Deshaun Watson is a prime example. Marcus Mariota is another.

            • Comments: 568
              Joined: 1/19/2016
              je93
              Mar 19, 2017 at 1:06 AM

              Heisman finalist? You mean Jim Harbaugh?

    • Comments: 3181
      Joined: 8/11/2015
      Lanknows
      Mar 18, 2017 at 12:45 PM

      what do you mean by results? Robinson has both the best numbers, most accolades, and the best hypothetical upside since he did the above as a true sophomore.

  3. Comments: 635
    Joined: 8/11/2015
    WindyCityBlue
    Mar 17, 2017 at 9:44 AM

    Henson is way too high, if you’re basing this on actual on-field performance in real games and not coulda, shoulda, wish-he-woulda.

    He certainly came up well short of expectations, for a variety of reasons, not all his fault, but in real games, his performance was limited to good to very good, and never consistently great, and he did a lot less overall than other Michigan QBs in that class.

    • Comments: 2083
      Joined: 7/13/2015
      Mar 17, 2017 at 9:56 AM

      Henson had a very, very good year in 2000. He was 6-2, but Michigan put up 51 points against Northwestern and 31 points against a good Purdue team. He also missed the first three games of the season, two of which were against poor teams that would have propped up his stats even more (Rice, Bowling Green). The third was UCLA, which John Navarre helped score 20 points against. And he missed part of the Illinois game when the Illini were terrible that year.

      Missed time aside (since there’s no telling how he would have performed), Henson’s 18-to-4 TD-to-INT rate was excellent, and he put up a 152.7 passer rating, which is the best season of anyone on this list. There was also talk that he would have been a first round draft pick if he had entered the NFL after 2000 or 2001, something that nobody else on this list achieved. I think there’s an argument for Henson to be #1 on this list.

      • Comments: 635
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        WindyCityBlue
        Mar 17, 2017 at 10:41 AM

        Well, again, you’re talking coulda, shoulda, maybe woulda. That goes against the rules you laid out: “This ranking only takes into account what the quarterbacks achieved wearing the winged helmet.” What they MIGHT have done if they’d avoided injuries or played against more shitty defenses doesn’t count, by that standard.

        What’s your criterion for greatness here? Highest peak of performance, for however brief a time, or most total area under the performance curve for a whole career?

        • Comments: 2083
          Joined: 7/13/2015
          Mar 17, 2017 at 10:54 AM

          I know it doesn’t count. Which is why he’s #2 and not #1. But what I’m saying is that there’s an argument (Henson played like a 1st rounder, while others didn’t) to be made for him. And the flip side of that argument against Henson is that when he did play as a junior, he played against Big Ten opponents. The things he achieved were against more quality opponents than Rice and BGSU.

          I’m talking about a peak season. Naturally, it’s unfair to hold bad seasons against players who were forced to play as freshmen, unless they reached the top of the depth chart. Forcier, for example, doesn’t have the advantage of playing as an upperclassman, but the performance of Henson, Navarre, etc. as youngsters is largely irrelevant to where they ended up.

          • Comments: 635
            Joined: 8/11/2015
            WindyCityBlue
            Mar 17, 2017 at 11:13 AM

            Well, I disagree that Henson PLAYED like a first rounder, even in his best season. it was more that they saw him as having the physical tools to be a great NFL QB, even though he was still raw and had limited experience.

            • Comments: 2083
              Joined: 7/13/2015
              Mar 17, 2017 at 11:28 AM

              Numbers aren’t everything, but the #1 overall pick (and the only 1st round QB in 2001) was Michael Vick, who completed 54.2% of his passes for 9 TDs and 7 INTs. The next QB taken was Drew Brees at the top of round two after completing 60.4% of his passes for 26 TDs and 12 INTs in 12 games. Naturally, Vick’s running ability was a huge selling point for him, but I don’t see any reason that Henson couldn’t have wedged himself somewhere between Vick and Brees. And I think he definitely would have been drafted ahead of the third QB (Marques Tuiasosaiisoaupisuosopo), who was #59 overall. The only QB on this list to go before #59 was Chad Henne at #57. Besides, I think the difference between “playing” like a first rounder and “having potential to play like a great NFL QB” is pretty insignificant. Regardless of whether teams saw him as a finished product or a project, they thought he could have gone in round one. Henson was really good.

              • Comments: 635
                Joined: 8/11/2015
                WindyCityBlue
                Mar 17, 2017 at 11:46 AM

                And do you agree that Brady played like a sixth rounder in HIS last year?

                • Comments: 2083
                  Joined: 7/13/2015
                  Mar 17, 2017 at 11:48 AM

                  No, but people weren’t talking about Tom Brady as a first rounder. They were talking about Henson in that manner AND he played very well. Here’s a link to a relevant article about Henson:

                  http://www.nydailynews.com/archives/sports/drew-no-1-article-1.479574

                • Comments: 635
                  Joined: 8/11/2015
                  WindyCityBlue
                  Mar 17, 2017 at 11:53 AM

                  The point being that evaluations of how good someone MIGHT be in the NFL do not necessarily correlate with how much they actually did for their team in college. It works both ways.

                • Comments: 2083
                  Joined: 7/13/2015
                  Mar 17, 2017 at 11:59 AM

                  You’re right…but he played very well in college, which is what I’ve been saying all along. You haven’t refuted that at any point. The completion percentage, the passer efficiency rating, the points the team put up, the TD-to-INT rate, etc. are all excellent. I’m coming at you from both angles: 1) college production and b) NFL evaluations of his talent/performance. So far I haven’t seen any cogent argument against either of those angles.

                • Comments: 635
                  Joined: 8/11/2015
                  WindyCityBlue
                  Mar 17, 2017 at 12:58 PM

                  In the end, the cogent argument is that he was only 6-2 as a starter. That was all the wins he contributed to the Michigan program. And yes, he had a brief stretch of very good statistical performance, but be honest…how often did you ever find yourself thinking “wow, this guy is amazing?” How many games can you remember where he carried the team on his shoulders to a win?

                • Comments: 2083
                  Joined: 7/13/2015
                  Mar 17, 2017 at 1:31 PM

                  When evaluating QBs, winning is somewhat overrated. It’s the same as using win totals to pick the Cy Young Award winner. A great pitcher with a 1.98 ERA who only gets 0.95 runs of support per game isn’t going to have a great record. That doesn’t take away from the fact that he performed his tasks well. Again, Henson only had a .750 winning percentage, but the two games he lost, he helped put up 51 and 31 points.

                  But if winning percentage is all that matters, then here’s your list:

                  1. Ryan Mallett: 100%
                  2. John O’Korn: 100%
                  3. Tom Brady: 80%
                  4. Scott Dreisbach: 80%
                  5. Brian Griese: 77.3%
                  6. Jake Rudock: 76.9%
                  7. Drew Henson: 75%
                  8. Wilton Speight: 75%
                  9. John Navarre: 73.8%
                  10. Chad Henne: 72.3%
                  11. Denard Robinson: 67.6%
                  12. Devin Gardner: 53.6%
                  13. Tate Forcier: 41.7%
                  14. Nick Sheridan: 25%
                  15. Steve Threet: 25%
                  16. Shane Morris: 0%

                  If number of victories is all that matters, here’s your list:

                  1. Chad Henne: 34
                  2. John Navarre: 31
                  3. Denard Robinson: 23
                  4. Tom Brady: 20
                  5. Brian Griese: 17
                  6. Devin Gardner: 15
                  7. Scott Dreisbach: 10
                  8. Jake Rudock: 10
                  9. Wilton Speight: 9
                  10. Drew Henson: 6
                  11. Tate Forcier: 5
                  12. Ryan Mallett: 3
                  13. Steve Threet: 2
                  14. John O’Korn: 1
                  15. Nick Sheridan: 1
                  16. Shane Morris: 0

                  I don’t think either one of those lists accurately reflects the quality of Michigan’s quarterbacks.

      • Comments: 3181
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        Lanknows
        Mar 18, 2017 at 11:12 AM

        This is the worst thing about these kind of QB debates. We get statements like “He was ___ W-L Record ___”. Obviously it was not he, but the team, that had that W-L record. Joe Flacco is not elite.

    • Blue in NC
      Comments: 22
      Joined: 8/11/2015
      Blue in NC
      Mar 17, 2017 at 10:29 AM

      Disagree. Sure, if we are going by overall career numbers, then Henson isn’t at the top. But if the question is, based on their career as a Michigan player, who would you want going into a season, then I think the answer depends on the finished product. That is why Rudock is relatively high (how he finished) rather than how he started. Based on this, I choose Henson and it’s not really that close. By his junior year, we was a weapon and had become a polished QB with a rifle arm and very good mobility. True, he was supported by some great weapons. If I had to choose a guy for one last critical drive, it would be Brady based on his numerous clutch performances. IIRC, he tended to start slow in college but finish very strong. But if I am choosing one guy for the season, it’s definitely Henson based on his strong upward arc and outstanding last season.

      Also, I would put Henne about Griese. Henne had much less around him and still performed well. Griese deserves much respect for his leadership and moxie but I feel that Henne was also heady and could have provided an extra dimension to the 1997 team.

  4. Comments: 77
    Joined: 9/13/2015
    AC1997
    Mar 17, 2017 at 10:02 AM

    I love lists like this – completely pointless, mostly opinion, but fun as hell!

    Here’s the problem with your list, which can be explained in the first two names. We now know that Tom Brady is the best QB to ever walk the earth. But if you had posted this poll right after he graduated, he wouldn’t have been #1 on the list. People would have picked Griese, Henson, or Grbac. So in the case of Brady, you’re giving him credit for his post-Michigan success to at least some extent.

    But then you list Henson second, despite barely playing at Michigan. While I will agree that in his brief opportunity as the starter he might have been the prototype for what all QBs should be….but his on-field results never matched that. But he’s #2?

    It seems like you changed your criteria as you went and ended with more of a “feel” result – which is fine. It makes for great discussion, but it is hard to really make a good list. Maybe if you said “which QB would I want on the field for a big game based on their Michigan era” or something it would be easier…..if less argumentative.

    • Comments: 77
      Joined: 9/13/2015
      AC1997
      Mar 17, 2017 at 10:07 AM

      I think you should expand the list a little earlier to include Elvis Grbac (’89-’92) and Todd Collins (’91-’94). That is pretty much the entire modern era of Michigan QBs in my mind. Harbaugh probably started it, but even he didn’t throw that much in his Michigan career and then was followed by a collection of unmemorable guys.

      I’d put Grbac #2 on the list – 522/835 (62.5%), 6460 yards, 71 TD, 31 INT

      I’d put Collins somewhere in the middle, maybe #7 – 457/711 (64.3%), 5858 yards, 37 TD, 20 INT.

      I’d also put Denard

      • Comments: 2083
        Joined: 7/13/2015
        Mar 17, 2017 at 10:12 AM

        Like I said above, I’m not old enough to remember Grbac and Collins that well. You might be right about their places on the list, but I’m not qualified, really. I mean, of course I’ve watched highlights and such, and I do remember watching games when I was a kid and Grbac was throwing to Desmond Howard, but I didn’t know squat about football.

      • Comments: 77
        Joined: 9/13/2015
        AC1997
        Mar 17, 2017 at 10:12 AM

        Here’s my modern list:

        1 – Brady (going 0-2 his first two games hurt him)
        2 – Grbac (first of 7-straight QBs to play in the NFL)
        3 – Griese (1997 boosts his stock a ton)
        4 – Henson (what could have been….)
        5 – Denard (most exciting and likeable player on the list)
        6 – Henne (great freshman year, great career)
        7 – Collins (solid, unspectacular)
        8 – Rudock (can’t be higher with only half a good year)
        9 – Gardner (he was benched multiple times…wish he played under any other coach so we could see what he could have been)
        10 – Navarre (most underappreciated QB on this list)

        The rest are too incomplete to bother with.

        • DonAZ
          Comments: 319
          Joined: 8/12/2015
          DonAZ
          Mar 17, 2017 at 10:23 AM

          In the spirit of Internet comment sections … you’re wrong, wrong, WRONG!! 🙂

          I like your list. I might swap Grbac and Brady, mostly because Grbac was one of those players who made things happen, and I have fond memories of his playing at Michigan.

        • DonAZ
          Comments: 319
          Joined: 8/12/2015
          DonAZ
          Mar 17, 2017 at 10:26 AM

          Under Henson, you wrote: “What could have been …”

          That makes me wonder … of all the QBs, who would have ENDED UP being great under optimal coaching / other player conditions?

          I’m not suggesting every other player position is a consensus All-American. But for example, if Gardner had a respectable offensive line and anybody but Borges … what could have been?

        • Comments: 2083
          Joined: 7/13/2015
          Mar 17, 2017 at 10:31 AM

          Regarding your list, I think Griese played very well at times, but he was kind of like Trent Dilfer for the Ravens. Not THAT bad, but Michigan rode their OL and defense to the national championship. I don’t think that makes him a better QB than all those other guys on your list.

          Also, you say that Rudock only had half a good year, but I don’t like that logic because there are probably other guys, too, who had a poor/mediocre 6 games and then a good 6 games in any given season – it’s just that they might be sprinkled throughout the year. For example, Grbac had 7 TDs and 12 INTs in 1992 against ND, Iowa, MSU, Northwestern, Illinois, and OSU; he had 10 TDs and 0 INTs against his other four opponents. It’s just that some of those good games came in a 3-game stretch during the middle of the year. I prefer to take the season overall, and even though Rudock had “only half a good year,” the final result was a 10-3 season record, a 64% completion percentage, etc.

          • Comments: 77
            Joined: 9/13/2015
            AC1997
            Mar 17, 2017 at 10:50 AM

            Yeah, but again, we’re picking spots. You’re extrapolating Rudock and looking at how great he was when he finished. Yet he struggled early, got hurt against OSU in a loss, and only played one season. He compares to someone like Dreisbach.

            Greise was definitely a Dilfer type, but it resulted in the only national championship in like 50 years.

            If you’re going to give Rudock credit for his stats and a couple of big games in a solid season, okay. But maybe we should also include his mediocre Iowa career. I could cherry pick the best games of Denard or Devin’s careers too.

            It sucks that so many of these guys had other circumstances alter their histories. Henson (left early, injury), Gardner (if only he played 4 years for RichRod or Harbaugh), Denard (Borges & injury), Rudock (one more year with Harbaugh).

            • Comments: 2083
              Joined: 7/13/2015
              Mar 17, 2017 at 10:58 AM

              I’m looking at how good Rudock was for a whole season. Despite those early struggles, he STILL ended up with some of the best numbers on this list (for example, #1 in completion percentage and #2 in TD passes). I don’t think the Dreisbach thing is fair at all. Not even close.

              Why would I include Rudock’s career at Iowa? The post is talking about performances at Michigan. No offense, but you might want to go back and read the paragraphs at the top of the post. You’ve made a couple comments now that make it seem like you skipped that part and went straight down to the list. Maybe that will help frame the discussion.

    • Comments: 2083
      Joined: 7/13/2015
      Mar 17, 2017 at 10:16 AM

      I really tried to take the post-college information out of the equation. Regardless, Tom Brady had a great senior year. I’m not knocking him for when he didn’t play at all or barely played. I’m measuring him by the peak that he reached as a senior. The same goes for Henson. He “barely played” as a freshman, played a good chunk as a sophomore behind Brady, and then played excellently as a junior. I’m judging him based on 2000, not so much 1998-1999.

      • Comments: 3181
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        Lanknows
        Mar 20, 2017 at 8:39 PM

        Again, your analysis isn’t best QB season. You are listing total stats (TDs and INTs). If it was best QB season, then list the stats of that season.

        • Comments: 2083
          Joined: 7/13/2015
          Mar 20, 2017 at 9:40 PM

          I’m rating starting quarterbacks. Henson was not a starter in 1998-1999. He was a starter in 2000. Denard Robinson was not a starter in 2009, which is why there’s virtually no mention of him during that year (when he was terrible as a passer, mind you).

          • Comments: 3181
            Joined: 8/11/2015
            Lanknows
            Mar 21, 2017 at 12:47 AM

            You list career stats.

  5. Comments: 3181
    Joined: 8/11/2015
    Lanknows
    Mar 18, 2017 at 11:36 AM

    My list. I put more value on overall contribution.

    1. Henne – 4 good years counts for a great deal in my book
    2. Robinson – Heisman contender as a soph. Primary force in carrying the O in the great 2011 season. 2012 keeps him from being #1 but much of that was out of his control. The defense isn’t on him.
    3. Brady – He was pretty good at UM and Carr’s mismanagement of the Henson situation can’t be held against him…but probably also made him be a better NFL player.
    4. Navarre – rough start by his senior year he was excellent
    5. Griese over any of the other one-year contributors. Though honestly I think Dreisbach was probably the better QB in college.

    I have lots of quibbles with Thunder’s list but the most glaring is certainly Henson. Regardless of who gets the blame, in the end Henson did a lot of damage to the program both in holding Brady back and leading to the rough start for Navarre. Michigan would have been better off without him.

    Furthermore Henson was surrounded by a loaded team of NFL players in 2000 and really didn’t do anything too impressive with it. The To put a guy who started all of 8 games and left the program in a lurch basically because he was indecisive over somebody like Gardner (who was an absolute warrior and played with far less talent and coaching quality around him) is crazy to me, even if Henson was more talented.

    • Comments: 2083
      Joined: 7/13/2015
      Mar 18, 2017 at 2:15 PM

      If you’re starting a team, there’s no way you’re taking John Navarre over Drew Henson. No way. What do you mean Henson “didn’t do anything too impressive?” He put up the highest PER of anyone on this list and averaged 8.5 yards/attempt, and that’s without being a huge running threat. Basically every team up through 2007 was “loaded.” Navarre had Avant, Breaston, Edwards, and Chris Perry in 2003.

      As is well documented, I love Devin Gardner…but he did some really, really stupid crap. Bad supporting cast aside, he threw that pick-six against Akron and another one against Notre Dame when he was being tackled in his own endzone. He was indeed a tough football player, but starting eight games or not, Henson performed better.

      • Comments: 3181
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        Lanknows
        Mar 18, 2017 at 3:37 PM

        “This ranking only takes into account what the quarterbacks achieved wearing the winged helmet”

        Navarre won a lot of games, threw for a lot of yards, and picked up the pieces when Henson skipped town to play baseball. Yeah, I’m taking his accomplishments over Henson’s ‘contributions’ now and forever.

        There are many different questions you can ask where I’m taking Henson over Navarre but the Michigan career comparison favors Navarre and I don’t even think it’s particularly close.

      • Comments: 3181
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        Lanknows
        Mar 18, 2017 at 3:38 PM

        Again, you say “without being a huge running threat” — as if that’s exogenous to the discussion of QB.

        Henson get’s extra praise because he can’t run. Denard’s efficiency get’s discounted because he can. This making any sense?

        • Comments: 3181
          Joined: 8/11/2015
          Lanknows
          Mar 18, 2017 at 3:47 PM

          I think what you’ve done here is what you’ve done in the past when you said Denard was not a good QB. To you QB means passing accuracy, that’s it. If a QB can run that’s … something else, not being a quarterback.

          This attitude is obviously out-dated.

          • Comments: 2083
            Joined: 7/13/2015
            Mar 18, 2017 at 5:31 PM

            QB is many things. But I have yet to see a modern team win a championship without a QB who is also effective as a passer against quality defenses. Cardale Jones, Deshaun Watson, Tim Tebow, etc., they all threw the ball well against good college defenses AND bad college defenses. They didn’t just feast against bad teams and then do squat. So yeah, I’m taking several of these guys ahead of Robinson, even if they weren’t as good of runners.

            If Dorian Thompson-Robinson or some other dual-threat QB comes along who can be effective as both a runner and a passer, then I will be glad to place them higher on the list.

        • Comments: 2083
          Joined: 7/13/2015
          Mar 18, 2017 at 8:40 PM

          Denard’s efficiency gets discounted because of who he put up his stats against. He did great in 2011 against UMass, Illinois, UConn, BGSU, Indiana, etc. Against the four ranked teams? Denard ran for 2 TDs, threw 5 TDs, and threw 4 INTs. And went 0-4. Michigan had a great win in the Sugar Bowl in 2011…when Denard completed something like 43% of his passes and only ran for 13 yards. He fared terribly against Alabama, Notre Dame, MSU, and Nebraska in 2012…but by golly, he really took it to Air Force, Illinois, and UMass.

          • Comments: 3181
            Joined: 8/11/2015
            Lanknows
            Mar 20, 2017 at 8:38 PM

            Good QBs are less efficient against good defenses. That is how it goes.

            Henson threw 3 INTs and completed less than half his passes against PSU in 2000.

            What you are saying goes for everyone to some degree.

            • Comments: 568
              Joined: 1/19/2016
              je93
              Mar 20, 2017 at 9:20 PM

              But what about the eye test? I can tell you prefer stats, but in football, watching a QB is more valuable than relying soley on stats. DRob looked like crap against good defenses. He didnt just struggle, he was awful

              • Comments: 3181
                Joined: 8/11/2015
                Lanknows
                Mar 21, 2017 at 12:59 AM

                What about teammates? What about the influence of them, and defense, on winning and losing? What about the influence of winning and losing on perceptions? What about the total subjectivity of “the eye test”? What about how “the eye test” kept black players from playing QB for decades?

                • Comments: 568
                  Joined: 1/19/2016
                  je93
                  Mar 21, 2017 at 4:51 PM

                  If we’re going with teammates and some other external factors, it’s anyone’s guess
                  The eye test reveals that if going against weak sisters, DRob lit opponents up. Against better than average foes like sparty, Wisconsin, Miss St, he was not only contaimed, but neutralized. He became a liability, who’s best hope was Gallon or Roundtree being forgotten about by the D, or Hemingway coming down with a wacky jumpball

                  Loved the young man, but never considered him a great QB, or even very good for that matter

                • Comments: 3181
                  Joined: 8/11/2015
                  Lanknows
                  Mar 22, 2017 at 1:28 PM

                  The eye test is whatever anyone wants it to be.

                  The stuff you are talking about can be measured and quantified.

            • Comments: 2083
              Joined: 7/13/2015
              Mar 20, 2017 at 9:54 PM

              “To some degree,” of course. Nobody is awesome in every single game. Penn State was 5-7 in 2000 and 4-4 in the Big Ten. They weren’t great. Henson had an off day. A few weeks ago, Steph Curry went 7/23 on field goals and 0/11 on 3-pointers against the 76ers. It happens, even to the best. (And no, I’m not saying Drew Henson is the Steph Curry of college football.)

              What did Henson do against the top half of the conference (Wisconsin, Ohio State, Purdue, Northwestern) and in the bowl game (Auburn)? 13 touchdowns, 1 interception with a 65.5% completion percentage.

              If you want to include one-off bad games against poor teams, Denard threw 1 TD and 2 picks against Purdue in 2010 and averaged just over 3 yards/carry with 0 TDs.

              • Comments: 3181
                Joined: 8/11/2015
                Lanknows
                Mar 21, 2017 at 1:05 AM

                Denard had a long track record at Michigan so we have lots of examples good and bad. Henson had 8 games.

                You can cite the step curry example and I can run through the many NBA dudes who shoot ridiculously good percentages over small sample sizes. You have to prove it over a long run.

      • Comments: 3181
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        Lanknows
        Mar 18, 2017 at 4:22 PM

        FWIW, Navarre was the more productive NFL player too.

        • Comments: 2083
          Joined: 7/13/2015
          Mar 18, 2017 at 5:02 PM

          That’s an interesting take. Navarre threw 2 TDs and 5 INTs, resulting in a 43.9 PER. Henson threw 1 TD and 1 INT, resulting in a 64.2 PER. Of course, the post doesn’t take NFL production into account, but I would say both were very unproductive…and your claim isn’t as definitive as you make it sound. In addition, Henson did what he did in the NFL four years after he last played football.

          • Comments: 3181
            Joined: 8/11/2015
            Lanknows
            Mar 20, 2017 at 8:34 PM

            Navarre threw for more yards. You want to dice up efficiency OK, but I think your overall point is more pertinant — both were unproductive.

            The idea that Henson was trending to greatness isn’t really backed up by what happened. We can debate what could have been I guess, like we can debate if Michael Jordan decided to play baseball out of high school.

            • Comments: 2083
              Joined: 7/13/2015
              Mar 20, 2017 at 10:00 PM

              First of all, the post isn’t about NFL performance, which I stated very early on. So the NFL stuff is irrelevant. Even with that said, your statement that Navarre was the “more productive NFL player” is highly questionable.

              Regardless, John Navarre’s two pro seasons were 2004 and 2005, directly after he graduated from Michigan after five years. Henson played three college seasons, didn’t play football from 2001-2003, and then saw game action in 2004 and then 2008. I hardly think that’s indicative of where his career was heading if he had carried on with his football career. If anything, the fact that he took several years off and still put up a higher PER than Navarre is an indictment of Navarre.

            • Comments: 3181
              Joined: 8/11/2015
              Lanknows
              Mar 21, 2017 at 1:07 AM

              The NFL stuff is only relevant because you’re acting like he had a brilliant trajectory and was a super star. Again – you wouldn’t say that if he hadn’t been a 5-star kid.

              Navarre came close to matching Henson’s PER (I still don’t know what that is BTW – passer efficiency rating? – where’s it come from?) in 2000. As a freshman! The stacked 2000 team had something to do with that.

              • Comments: 2083
                Joined: 7/13/2015
                Mar 21, 2017 at 8:38 AM

                *sigh* I have already put a link in this discussion to an article in which Henson was viewed as a 1st round guy, whether he was a 5-star or not. The NFL doesn’t care about high school ratings. Furthermore, Henson took TWO YEARS off from playing football (2001 and 2002) to pursue his baseball career, and he was still picked in the 6th round of the NFL Draft – the same round as Tom Brady and Jake Rudock. Regardless of where you think he deserves to be on this list due to his short starting career or whatever, there is clear evidence that your assertions aren’t true. Henson was very well regarded as a pro prospect.

              • Comments: 3181
                Joined: 8/11/2015
                Lanknows
                Mar 21, 2017 at 10:54 AM

                Henson was even higher regarded as a baseball prospect. He failed there badly. The fact you’re bringing this up, after explicitly saying it wasn’t about the NFL is something…

                Navarre was more productive in college AND had an equivalent NFL career. Robinson was more productive in college AND has a longer NFL career.

                Henson is a 2-sport failure. But let’s talk about all his potential.

                I think the problem is you are hanging on to the 5-star ‘talent’. Making the same mistake NFL and MLB talent evaluators made … except they have to admit they are wrong because it already happened! Henson’s “potential” and “talent” are STILL coloring the way everything else gets viewed.

                • Comments: 2083
                  Joined: 7/13/2015
                  Mar 21, 2017 at 11:18 AM

                  LOL. I encourage you to look back up in the thread and see who started talking about the NFL. (Hint: it wasn’t me.)

                • Comments: 3181
                  Joined: 8/11/2015
                  Lanknows
                  Mar 21, 2017 at 12:32 PM

                  Fair enough. There was context for that: ” there’s no way you’re taking John Navarre over Drew Henson. No way. ”

                  In the Navarre vs Henson battle, Navarre wins. It’s the 5-star ranking and NFL draft hype that put Henson above Navarre.

                  So, I was trying to address that the NFL hype proved to be wrong.

                  I’m taking Navarre over Henson just like I’m taking Robinson over Henson. Henson belongs in the conversation with the other guys who only started for 1 year and any statistical comparisons there have to take into consideration that a) Henson only played 8 games and b) Henson played with arguably the most talented supporting cast any QB in Michigan history has had. That team was so loaded a freshman version of John Navarre posted a 148 PER.

      • Comments: 3181
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        Lanknows
        Mar 18, 2017 at 4:24 PM

        I’m going to ask another question.

        If Navarre had been a hyped 5-star recruit and Henson been a lowly 3 star would these rankings be the same? Or is it like the Ty Isaac thing where those expectations never really leave the picture even as the evidence mounts.

        • Comments: 2083
          Joined: 7/13/2015
          Mar 18, 2017 at 4:56 PM

          I’m not even a fan of Drew Henson. I’m still annoyed that he said he was returning for his senior year and then left. That doesn’t diminish his play on the field. And the stats speak for themselves, whether he was a 3-star or a 5-star.

          • Comments: 3181
            Joined: 8/11/2015
            Lanknows
            Mar 20, 2017 at 8:31 PM

            As I mentioned above, his PASSING stats are inferior to Denard’s. That’s before you start talking all the other stats Denard has.

            • Comments: 2083
              Joined: 7/13/2015
              Mar 20, 2017 at 10:05 PM

              This is incorrect/misleading. Once again, Henson’s PER as a starting quarterback was superior to Robinson’s.

            • Comments: 3181
              Joined: 8/11/2015
              Lanknows
              Mar 21, 2017 at 1:14 AM

              Career Completion Percentage: Henson 55.8 vs. Robinson 57.2
              Career Yards per Attempt: Henson 7.5 vs. Robinson 8.4
              Career Passing Efficiency Rating: Henson 135.5 vs. 138.6

              Henson’s abridged Rating as a starter in 2000 was 152.7. Robinson’s in 2010 was 149.6. Robinson also ran for 1700 yards that year! I do believe that is worth at least 3.1 rating points.

  6. Comments: 3181
    Joined: 8/11/2015
    Lanknows
    Mar 18, 2017 at 11:53 AM

    My biggest criticism of this list is that it is way too focused on the teams the QB played for. QB is important, but it is not everything, and even they only influence <50% of the game.

    In addition – I don't think you should count it against Henson or Navarre that they had to play before they were ready. Guys like Brady, Henson, Griese got to wait in the wings, so you saw fewer of their warts. If you only looked at the jr and sr seasons Henne and Navarre look better, but ultimately they deserve credit for what they did as underclassmen too.

  7. Comments: 3181
    Joined: 8/11/2015
    Lanknows
    Mar 18, 2017 at 12:29 PM

    In order, the best seasons by QB Rating* for each starter:

    Robinson (’10) – 150
    Gardner (’13) – 146
    Henne (’06) – 143
    Rudock (’15) – 142
    Speight (’16) – 140
    Brady (’99) – 138
    Griese (’97) – 138
    Navarre (’03) – 134
    Forcier (’09) – 128
    Driesbach (’96) – 127

    This doesn’t take into consideration running contributions, but it does show overall effectiveness as a passer over the course of a season. IMO it’s a far better indicator of QB performance than W-L record, career completion percentage, or most of the other numbers cited.

    Gardner is really notable here as his 2013 season was excellent and his 2014 season was one of the worst (118). Thanks Brady Hoke and the great OL collapse.

    Henson’s 2000 season scores higher than any (153) but he didn’t make it through the whole year and his replacement (freshman Navarrre) was almost just as good (147). Again, that team was loaded.

    *QB rating per college football reference.

    • Comments: 2083
      Joined: 7/13/2015
      Mar 18, 2017 at 2:29 PM

      I agree that QBR and/or PER are better indicators of QB play, but you purposefully removed Henson because you know it doesn’t support your argument. Henson played 8.5 games in 2000. Forcier and Speight played 12. It’s pretty arbitrary to cut someone off the list based on a 3.5-game difference.

      • Comments: 3181
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        Lanknows
        Mar 18, 2017 at 4:19 PM

        I removed Henson because he only play part of the season. As you noted he started 8 games total in his career at Michigan.

        I noted that Henson’s stats were good (as were Navarre’s that year). Was I also supposed to put Navarre near the top of that list because he had a few good games with a loaded 2000 offense? I don’t think so.

        • Comments: 2083
          Joined: 7/13/2015
          Mar 18, 2017 at 5:07 PM

          Every QB listed only played part of a season. No QB takes every single snap. As I mentioned, Speight missed one full game and sat out a lot of other snaps. Denard Robinson missed a good chunk of the BGSU game in 2010, some time against Illinois, a good chunk of the season in 2012, etc. Jourdan Lewis missed the first three games of the 2016 season. Was he not our starting cornerback?

          • Comments: 3181
            Joined: 8/11/2015
            Lanknows
            Mar 20, 2017 at 8:30 PM

            Lewis started more than 8 games at Michigan.

            • Comments: 2083
              Joined: 7/13/2015
              Mar 20, 2017 at 10:08 PM

              You’re shucking and jiving. Jourdan Lewis will go down in history as Michigan’s starting cornerback in 2016, despite missing 3/13 games. Drew Henson was Michigan’s starting quarterback in 2000, despite missing 3/12 games. This is an undeniable truth.

              • Comments: 3181
                Joined: 8/11/2015
                Lanknows
                Mar 21, 2017 at 1:23 AM

                I’m stating facts. 10 is more than 8. Lewis was a multi-year starter who missed 3 games in the middle of many.

                Henson will go down as the main starter in 2000. He will not go down as a one of the great QBs in Michigan history.

                Denard will. He was conference player of the year, team MVP, a Heisman finalist. He played QB.

                If you see that season as inferior QB play it’s because of personal biases.

                • Comments: 2083
                  Joined: 7/13/2015
                  Mar 21, 2017 at 8:33 AM

                  I don’t have any personal biases against Denard Robinson. In fact, it’s the total opposite. If there’s anyone I’m biased against, it’s Henson. I don’t like Henson. I love Denard Robinson. How could anyone dislike him? My personal tastes for each of these individuals, I can promise you, is not a factor.

                • Comments: 3181
                  Joined: 8/11/2015
                  Lanknows
                  Mar 21, 2017 at 10:47 AM

                  You argued Denard Robinson was not a good QB, which flew in the face of any reasonable argument – statistical, accolades, winning, coaching decisions, etc.

                  Now you’re ranking him below a bunch of guys who did far less at Michigan. If you like Robinson, it certainly isn’t showing up in your analysis.

                • Comments: 2083
                  Joined: 7/13/2015
                  Mar 21, 2017 at 10:54 AM

                  The post isn’t about whom I like more. If that were the case, Denard would probably be #1 or #2 and Henson would be #15 or #16. Your allegations are misguided.

                • Comments: 3181
                  Joined: 8/11/2015
                  Lanknows
                  Mar 21, 2017 at 10:56 AM

                  It’s also not about who the best MIchigan QBs were.

                  It seems like it’s mostly about NFL potential as a passer at the time of their last season at Michigan.

                • Comments: 2083
                  Joined: 7/13/2015
                  Mar 21, 2017 at 11:15 AM

                  You’re certainly entitled to your opinion.

                • Comments: 3181
                  Joined: 8/11/2015
                  Lanknows
                  Mar 21, 2017 at 10:58 AM

                  That’s not really right either. It’s hard to say what the criteria is other than arbitrary and inconsistent.

      • Comments: 3181
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        Lanknows
        Mar 18, 2017 at 4:29 PM

        You have to draw the line somewhere. You want to drop Speight and every other QB who only put one year in, I would agree with that actually.

        Rudock, Henson, Speight don’t belong in the top 5 when we have a bunch of multi-year starters to choose from.

        • Comments: 2083
          Joined: 7/13/2015
          Mar 18, 2017 at 4:55 PM

          You don’t get credit for being a multi-year starter. That doesn’t make you good. Henne started for four years, but that doesn’t make him a better QB than a guy who started for one or two.

          • Comments: 3181
            Joined: 8/11/2015
            Lanknows
            Mar 20, 2017 at 8:28 PM

            Your ranking is of Michigan QBs, not Michigan QB seasons.

            If it’s the best seasons then you have a different ranking and a different conversation.

            Henne starting over 4 seasons means he beat out a lot of good QBs at different points in their careers including a few future NFLers.

    • Comments: 568
      Joined: 1/19/2016
      je93
      Mar 19, 2017 at 1:21 AM

      I loved watching DRob destroy weak teams–it was fun! But he was not a great QB. He was a really good runner against poor teams, but ineffective all around against good and great teams.
      As a passer? Two game is all you had, out of four years?

      • Comments: 3181
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        Lanknows
        Mar 20, 2017 at 8:29 PM

        He was a great QB. I just listed 2 games where he was a highly efficient passer in addition to being a great QB.

        • Comments: 3181
          Joined: 8/11/2015
          Lanknows
          Mar 20, 2017 at 8:29 PM

          In response to Thunder saying it never happened.

  8. Comments: 3181
    Joined: 8/11/2015
    Lanknows
    Mar 21, 2017 at 1:36 AM

    We can go by almost any stat you want. We can ignore the longevity, the wins, the yardage, all the rest. We can ignore the records and accolades. We can ignore toughing out a coaching change from an offensive genius to Fred Flinstone vs skipping town to go play baseball.

    The fact remains that AS A PASSER Denard Robinson has better career stats than Drew Henson. If you only want to focus on Henson’s best year and Denard’s best year, then Henson inches ahead, barely in PER.

    You literally have to ignore every good thing that Denard did and pick and choose the bad stuff from his resume in order to think Henson is a better QB. There is nobody who can objectively look at the stats and argue that Henson was better at Michigan. Denard has the trophy case to back it up.

    Even if you want to dumb it down to W-L record in their best year — Denard has 11-2 to Henson’s 6-2.

    The man had 11,000 yards at Michgain and 91 TDs at Michigan. Those numbers are staggering. Henson had barely a quarter of that. As Michigan QBs go one guy is a HOF legend. The other guy is a multi-sport failure.

    Denard was a better QB than Henson at Michigan. Arguing otherwise requires setting ridiculous parameters or turtling into “well that’s my opinion so…” Denard is better. He had better individual seasons and he had better career numbers. Denard is better. The mountain of data to support the opinion makes it a borderline fact.

    • Comments: 2083
      Joined: 7/13/2015
      Mar 21, 2017 at 8:34 AM

      At this point, I don’t think there’s any reason to further this discussion. I think we’ve both said what we need to say. I disagree with you.

      • Comments: 3181
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        Lanknows
        Mar 21, 2017 at 10:48 AM

        The numbers speak for themselves.

      • Comments: 635
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        WindyCityBlue
        Mar 21, 2017 at 12:33 PM

        Well, think of it this way. If you had one game to win, and could either have Denard Robinson playing the best he ever showed or Drew Henson playing the best HE ever showed, who would you start?

        • Comments: 2083
          Joined: 7/13/2015
          Mar 21, 2017 at 1:21 PM

          I would start Drew Henson. That’s the takeaway from this whole thing. I mentioned elsewhere that Henson threw 13 TDs and 1 INT on 65.5% completions against the top half of the league and the bowl game. Against ranked teams, Denard Robinson threw 5 TDs and 4 INTs. My pick is Henson.

          • Comments: 3181
            Joined: 8/11/2015
            Lanknows
            Mar 21, 2017 at 8:27 PM

            Do you think David Terrell, Marquise Walker, and Bennie Joppru had something to do with that (not to mention a line filled with future NFL all-pros)?

          • Comments: 3181
            Joined: 8/11/2015
            Lanknows
            Mar 21, 2017 at 8:28 PM

            Is there a reason you aren’t counting Denards rushing TDs?

          • Comments: 635
            Joined: 8/11/2015
            WindyCityBlue
            Mar 21, 2017 at 9:20 PM

            That’s not what I asked. I asked about one big game, with both of them performing the best they were capable of.

            • Comments: 3181
              Joined: 8/11/2015
              Lanknows
              Mar 21, 2017 at 10:21 PM

              Denard, obviously, at his best, was at a much higher level than Henson ever was at his.

              300 yards and 4 TDs for Henson vs.
              502 yards and 3 TDs for Robinson (plus a punt!)

              • Comments: 2083
                Joined: 7/13/2015
                Mar 22, 2017 at 9:33 AM

                Those 502 yards and 3 TDs came against an 8-5 Notre Dame team that was #51 in total defense. Those are impressive stats, but the opponent wasn’t anything special.

                I can’t find as in-depth stats for 2000, but OSU was #14 in scoring defense and allowed 319.4 total yards per game when Henson threw for 303 yards and scored 4 TDs.

              • Comments: 3181
                Joined: 8/11/2015
                Lanknows
                Mar 22, 2017 at 1:24 PM

                Henson’s stats are against Northwestern – the 87th ranked defense.

                Henson did almost as well against OSU to his credit, but he threw a pick and had under 300 yards in that game. OSU was the #6 D in the country, so that game is probably a more impressive performance but it wasn’t his best overall day.

                2000 team stats are here;
                http://www.footballstudyhall.com/2016/4/5/11341986/2000-college-football-season-oklahoma-florida-state-miami

        • GKblue
          Comments: 174
          Joined: 8/11/2015
          GKblue
          Mar 21, 2017 at 3:07 PM

          This WCB is an interesting question in and of itself. One game.

          I think I need more info as to who we are playing and their strengths vs ours; round peg square hole situation TBH. But, in answer to the question, while Henson was more than respectable… I would lean toward Denard at his best. At his best, with his wheels and uninjured he could get the passing game done and terrorize the opponent every offensive down.

          If nothing else we could do shots every time something nuts happened.

          • Comments: 2083
            Joined: 7/13/2015
            Mar 21, 2017 at 4:54 PM

            If the game is against some nobody team, I’ll take Denard because he could make some ridiculous highlights and leave people in the dust, even without having to throw the ball much. But if it’s a team who can rush the passer and cover downfield, I’d pick Henson. It’s virtually a no-brainer, IMO. Big-time college teams can’t win consistently with quarterbacks who can’t win games with their arms. We saw it last year with Clemson vs. Alabama. Deshaun Watson played well, and Jalen Hurts was limited by Clemson’s defense.

            • Comments: 3181
              Joined: 8/11/2015
              Lanknows
              Mar 21, 2017 at 8:36 PM

              We agree it’s a no-brainer!

              LOL to winning consistently argument for a guy who won 6 games his entire career.

              LOL to using a freshman starting for Alabama as a telling example.

            • Comments: 635
              Joined: 8/11/2015
              WindyCityBlue
              Mar 21, 2017 at 9:21 PM

              Again, my question was not about “winning consistently”. It was about winning one big game, either with Robinson at his best, or Henson at his best.

              • Comments: 2083
                Joined: 7/13/2015
                Mar 21, 2017 at 9:33 PM

                Well, in that case…I pick Henson. Still. I don’t know how to make this any clearer. I prefer Henson. Henson is my pick. Drew Henson. I select Drew Henson, #7.

              • Comments: 3181
                Joined: 8/11/2015
                Lanknows
                Mar 21, 2017 at 10:22 PM

                Denard at his best was >>>>>>>>>> Henson at his. This is a no-brainer.

        • Comments: 568
          Joined: 1/19/2016
          je93
          Mar 21, 2017 at 4:54 PM

          Great question, but it depends on the opponent
          Bowling Green? I’d take the entertainment of watching Denard run wild
          Sparty, Wisconsin, or any other good to great team? Hansen

          *and I wasn’t much of a fan of Hansen since leaving for baseball

          • Comments: 3181
            Joined: 8/11/2015
            Lanknows
            Mar 21, 2017 at 8:34 PM

            He did pretty well against Notre Dame in 2010 and 2011.

            Denard also had 300+ yards and helped Michigan score 27 points against the #12 D in the country in Rodriguez’s last game.

        • Comments: 3181
          Joined: 8/11/2015
          Lanknows
          Mar 21, 2017 at 8:25 PM

          I think that’s a very different question because it depends 100% on context. Is your offense being operated by Lloyd Carr or Rich Rodriguez? Do you have an NFL-level supporting cast or do you need a guy who can make plays by himself.

          The question Thunder posed – who was the best QB at Michigan – implies it is based on what they did at Michigan.

          If you give me 2016 personnel and Jim Harbaugh as head coach and I have the entire offseason to install an offense, I would choose….Denard. More efficient as a passer and a game-breaker with his legs. Turnover avoidance is Denard’s achilles heal — but an area I would trust Harbaugh to address.

          Imagine how much Henson would have done if saddled with Al Borges and a vastly inferior supporting cast.

  9. Comments: 91
    Joined: 12/19/2015
    Extrajuice
    Mar 21, 2017 at 2:24 PM

    Slightly off topic but related to QB’s… When is your 2018 QB rankings coming to us? I think it’s around this time that you rank your top 10-15 QB’s in the class. I’ve really enjoyed that piece the last few years.

    • Comments: 2083
      Joined: 7/13/2015
      Mar 21, 2017 at 2:33 PM

      Good question. I was working on it yesterday. I currently have 5 out of 11 quarterbacks written up and ranked. I’m aiming for Friday or maybe the beginning of next week to post it.

      • Comments: 3181
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        Lanknows
        Mar 21, 2017 at 10:35 PM

        I hope those rankings are more accurate than these

        (OH SNAP!)

  10. Comments: 35
    Joined: 2/24/2017
    Mike Knapp
    Mar 23, 2017 at 1:22 PM

    I realize I’m super late to the party here, but I’ve always liked to look at how our QBs play in the biggest game of the season. We’re a fan base with a clear #1 enemy, Ohio State, and I think it’s fair to at least partially judge our QB’s based off of what they do vs. OSU.

    For what it’s worth, Navarre, Denard, and Henson delivered some of their most impressive performances of their careers in The Game:

    2011 – Denard was 14/17 for 167 yards (9.8 yds/att), 3TD, 0 INT, and ran for another 170 and 2 more TDs (including sacks). I know OSU was down that year, but it was one of the best single game performances by a QB in Michigan history. I think that should come into the equation a bit. Without that win, we’re looking at a massive losing streak. (40-34 Win)

    2003 – Navarre was 21/32 for 278 yards (8.7 yds/att), 2TD, 1 INT against what was probably an elite defense (AJ Hawk, Chris Gamble, and more). (35-21 Win)

    2000 – Henson was 14/25 for 303(!) yards (12.1 per attempt) with 3TD and 1INT. (38-26 win)

    • Comments: 3181
      Joined: 8/11/2015
      Lanknows
      Mar 23, 2017 at 6:50 PM

      Good data. Not sure I can really pick between these individual performances but they’re all good memories.

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