2024 Spring Football Preview: Quarterback

    Jack Tuttle

    2023 Starter: J.J. McCarthy
    Loss: McCarthy
    Returning players: Jack Tuttle (7th), Davis Warren (RS Jr.), Jayden Denegal (RS So.), Alex Orji (RS So.)
    Newcomer: Jadyn Davis (Fr.)
    Projected starter: Tuttle

    There are a lot of unknowns going into the 2024 season, but first among all of them is the quarterback position. Michigan got a great performance from McCarthy in 2023, who goes down in history as the program's best college quarterback ever after going 27-1 as a starter and winning a national championship.

    But as of right now, Michigan is heading into the season with its cloudiest quarterback situation since perhaps 2009, when freshman Tate Forcier beat out freshman Denard Robinson and 2008 part-time starter Nick Sheridan. Michigan has significantly more experience on its side at the position in 2024, considering Tuttle is a 7th year senior and there are no freshmen - sorry, Jadyn Davis - who truly seem to be in the mix to start.

    The first guy to get reps should be Tuttle, who has been named a starter before - albeit at Indiana - and ascended to #2 on the depth chart in 2023, during his first year in Ann Arbor. He completed 15/17 passes for 130 yards and 1 touchdown, a whopping 88.7% completion percentage. And the #1 most impressive thing about him in the spring of 2023 was his willingness and ability to run. He's a former top-100 recruit, even if he was coming out of high school back when Barack Obama was president (don't look that up).

    The sexy pick is 6'3", 235 lb. Alex Orji, who was brought in as a quasi single-wing quarterback last year but who didn't attempt a pass. He's capable of throwing lasers, which can be seen on his high school film and from last year's spring game, but it's noteworthy that the coaching staff didn't trust him to throw last year. To go from attempting zero passes to becoming a starter would be . . . well . . . the first time since 2009 that Michigan would entrust a quarterback to start who hadn't attempted a single pass during the previous season.

    Offensive coordinator Kirk Campbell says Jayden Denegal (4/5, 50 yards, 1 TD) is the most improved offensive player, but he was a guy who was very raw coming into the program in 2022. Walk-on Davis Warren has looked good at times, but he had a rough go in limited time last season (0/5, 1 INT). Meanwhile, freshman Jadyn Davis is an early enrollee who has a winning pedigree, but his limited size (6'0", 202), lack of an amazing arm, and lack of difference-making athleticism make him more of a threat to start down the road when experience and knowledge of the offense put him a notch above the field. To play as a freshman, you typically need some athletic trait that sets you apart - size, speed, arm strength - and that's not Davis's game.

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    Michigan's NFL Draft History

    Cesar Ruiz

    Probably like many of you, I occasionally have a hankering for some Michigan NFL Draft history. Below you will find (as far as I'm aware) every pro draft pick in the history of Michigan's football program going all the way back to 1937.

    A few little factoids:

    • Michigan's only two #1 overall NFL Draft picks are Jake Long in 2008 and Tom Harmon in 1941.
    • Michigan set a record in 2017 with 11 total draft picks.
    • Michigan's record number of 1st round NFL draft picks is a tie with 3 each in 1995 (Tyrone Wheatley, Ty Law, Trezelle Jenkins) and 2001 (David Terrell, Steve Hutchinson, Jeff Backus).

    2023
    1st round: Mazi Smith - DT - Dallas Cowboys (#26)
    2nd round: Luke Schoonmaker - TE - Dallas Cowboys (#58)
    2nd round: D.J. Turner II - CB - Cincinnati Bengals (#60)
    3rd round: Jake Moody - K - San Francisco 49ers (#99)
    5th round: Mike Morris - DE - Seattle Seahawks (#151)
    5th round: Olu Oluwatimi - C - Seattle Seahawks (#154)
    6th round: Brad Robbins - P - Cincinnati Bengals (#217)
    7th round: Ryan Hayes - OT - Miami Dolphins (#238)
    7th round: Ronnie Bell - WR - San Francisco 49ers (#253)

    2022
    1st round: Aidan Hutchinson - DE - Detroit Lions (#2 overall)
    1st round: Daxton Hill - S - Cincinnati Bengals (#31 overall)
    2nd round: David Ojabo - OLB - Baltimore Ravens (#45 overall)
    4th round: Hassan Haskins - RB - Tennessee Titans (#131 overall)
    7th round: Andrew Stueber - OT - New England Patriots (#245 overall)

    2021
    1st round: Kwity Paye - DE - Indianapolis Colts (#21 overall)
    3rd round: Jalen Mayfield - OT - Atlanta Falcons (#68 overall)
    3rd round: Nico Collins - WR - Houston Texans (#89 overall)
    3rd round: Ambry Thomas - CB - San Francisco 49ers (#102 overall)
    5th round: Cam McGrone - LB - New England Patriots (#177 overall)
    5th round: Ben Mason - FB - Baltimore Ravens (#184 overall)
    6th round: Chris Evans - RB - Cincinnati Bengals (#202 overall)
    7th round: Camaron Cheeseman - LS - Washington Football Team (#225 overall)

    2020
    1st round: Cesar Ruiz - C - New Orleans Saints (#24 overall)
    2nd round: Josh Uche - OLB - New England Patriots (#60 overall)
    4th round: Ben Bredeson - OG - Baltimore Ravens (#143 overall)
    5th round: Khaleke Hudson - LB - Washington Redskins (#162 overall)
    5th round: Mike Danna - DE - Kansas City Chiefs (#177 overall)
    6th round: Michael Onwenu - OG - New England Patriots (#182 overall)
    6th round: Donovan Peoples-Jones - WR - Cleveland Browns (#187 overall)
    6th round: Jon Runyan, Jr. - OG - Green Bay Packers (#192 overall)
    6th round: Josh Metellus - S - Minnesota Vikings (#205 overall)
    6th round: Jordan Glasgow - LB - Indianapolis Colts (#213 overall)

    2019
    1st round: Devin Bush, Jr. - LB - Pittsburgh Steelers (#10 overall)
    1st round: Rashan Gary - DE - Green Bay Packers (#12 overall)
    3rd round: Chase Winovich - OLB - New England Patriots (#77 overall)
    3rd round: David Long, Jr. - CB - Los Angeles Rams (#79 overall)
    5th round: Zach Gentry - TE - Pittsburgh Steelers (#141 overall)

    2018
    3rd round: Mason Cole - C - Arizona Cardinals (#97)
    5th round: Maurice Hurst, Jr. - DT - Oakland Raiders (#140)

    2017
    1st round: Jabrill Peppers - S - Cleveland Browns (#25)
    1st round: Taco Charlton - DE - Dallas Cowboys (#28)
    3rd round: Chris Wormley - DT - Baltimore Ravens (#74)
    3rd round: Jourdan Lewis - CB - Dallas Cowboys (#92)
    3rd round: Delano Hill - S - Seattle Seahawks (#95)
    3rd round: Amara Darboh - WR - Seattle Seahawks (#106)
    4th round: Ben Gedeon - LB - Minnesota Vikings (#120)
    4th round: Ryan Glasgow - DT - Cincinnati Bengals (#138)
    4th round: Jehu Chesson - WR - Kansas City Chiefs (#139)
    5th round: Jake Butt - TE - Denver Broncos (#145)
    6th round: Jeremy Clark - CB - New York Jets (#197)

    2016
    3rd round: Graham Glasgow - C - Detroit Lions (#95)
    4th round: Willie Henry - DT - Baltimore Ravens (#132)
    6th round: Jake Rudock - QB - Detroit Lions (#191)

    2015
    2nd round: Devin Funchess - WR - Carolina Panthers (#41)
    2nd round: Frank Clark - DE - Seattle Seahawks (#63)
    4th round: Jake Ryan - LB - Green Bay Packers (#129)

    2014
    1st round: Taylor Lewan - OT - Tennessee Titans (#11)
    3rd round: Michael Schofield - OT - Denver Broncos (#95)
    7th round: Jeremy Gallon - WR - New England Patriots (#244)

    2013
    5th round: Denard Robinson - RB - Jacksonville Jaguars (#135)
    6th round: William Campbell - DT - New York Jets (#178)

    Hit the jump for the remainder of Michigan's historical draft picks.

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    18 Michigan Players Participating in 2024 NFL Combine

    Zak Zinter

    The following 18 Michigan football players are participating in the 2024 NFL Combine. That's a record number of players invited to the Combine for any school. They are:

    1. QB J.J. McCarthy
    2. RB Blake Corum
    3. WR Cornelius Johnson
    4. WR Roman Wilson
    5. TE A.J. Barner
    6. OL Karsen Barnhart
    7. OL La'Darius Henderson
    8. OL Trente Jones
    9. OL Trevor Keegan
    10. OL Drake Nugent
    11. OL Zak Zinter
    12. EDGE Jaylen Harrell
    13. EDGE Braiden McGregor
    14. DT Kris Jenkins, Jr.
    15. LB Michael Barrett
    16. LB Junior Colson
    17. CB Mike Sainristil
    18. CB Josh Wallace

    Over 300 players were invited to the Combine, and last year 259 players were drafted. So mathematically, not every player invited will end up being selected. But if everyone gets drafted, that would set a record for the most players drafted from a school in one year. The current record is 15, which was set by Georgia.

    Former Michigan players TE Erick All (Iowa), QB Joe Milton (Tennessee), and EDGE Eyabi Okie-Anoma (Charlotte) will also be at the Combine, as will former Michigan signee WR Xavier Worthy (Texas).

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    LaMar Morgan, Wolverine

    LaMar Morgan

    Michigan head coach Sherrone Moore hired Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin' Cajuns defensive coordinator LaMar Morgan to be the defensive backs coach for the Wolverines. Morgan spent the past two seasons as the Ragin' Cajuns defensive play caller. He replaces safeties coach Jay Harbaugh (Seattle Seahawks) and cornerbacks coach Steve Clinkscale (Los Angeles Chargers).

    Morgan played at Louisiana, so to pull him away from his alma mater - for a "demotion" to a position coach role - is somewhat significant. He made 111 tackles, 4 interceptions, and 9 pass breakups through his career playing safety, which wrapped up in 2007. He started his coaching career as a graduate assistant at Vanderbilt under James Franklin from 2013-2014 before spending two seasons as the defensive backs coach at FCS Western Carolina. For the 2016 and 2017 seasons, he was hired as the Louisiana-Monroe defensive backs coach. He then spent one season as the defensive backs coach at Houston before returning to Louisiana-Lafayette from 2019-2020 as defensive backs coach. He worked as the cornerbacks coach at Vanderbilt in 2021 before going back to ULL for the 2022-2023 seasons.

    If the past is any indication, Morgan will not be at Michigan any longer than two seasons. Louisiana-Lafayette also went from #13 in yards per play allowed in 2021 - when Morgan was coaching corners at Vanderbilt - to #24 in 2022 and #47 in 2023. Those two seasons were the first two after then-rising star Billy Napier left to be the head coach at Florida, so there has been an overall dropoff in that program.

    Morgan's expertise as a play caller may be in question, but he did coach under Jesse Minter in 2021 when Minter was the defensive coordinator at Vanderbilt, so he should be able to slide in pretty smoothly as a helper for new defensive coordinator Wink Martindale. This past season his defense ranked #26 nationally in interceptions, and they ranked #14 in 2022.

    Morgan is from Texas and has spent much of his career in the South, so it would make sense to have him recruit down there. Michigan doesn't historically have a ton of success recruiting places like Louisiana or Texas, but they're hotbeds of talent, so it makes sense to try. Interestingly, Michigan now has two Louisiana connections on staff with Morgan and wide receivers coach Ronald Bellamy; the former spent a ton of time coaching there, and Bellamy grew up there.

    Michigan's staff is now completed, though there remain some questions about running backs coach Mike Hart, who has been on a leave of absence recently:

    • HC: Sherrone Moore
    • OC/QB: Kirk Campbell
    • RB: Mike Hart
    • WR: Ronald Bellamy
    • TE: Steve Casula
    • OL: Grant Newsome
    • DC: Wink Martindale
    • DL: Greg Scruggs
    • LB: Brian Jean-Mary
    • DB: LaMar Morgan
    • STC: J.B. Brown

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    2025 Recruiting Update: February 22, 2024

    Cartersville (GA) Cartersville WR Jamauri Brice (image via QB Hit List)

    ADDED TO THE BOARD: 2025

    Cartersville (GA) Cartersville wide receiver Jamauri Brice was offered by Michigan. He's a 5'9", 180 lb. prospect with offers from Georgia and Oregon, among others. As a junior in 2023, he caught 34 passes for 530 yards and 5 touchdowns. He is currently unranked.

    Phenix City (AL) Central offensive guard Mal Waldrep (3-star, #40 OT, #450 overall) was offered by Michigan. He's a 6'5", 290-pounder with offers from Alabama, Auburn, Clemson, and Georgia, among others. Waldrep also spent some time living in Georgia before moving to Alabama. Phenix City Central is the alma mater of Michigan receiver Karmello English.

    Brookline (MA) Dexter offensive tackle Hardy Watts (4-star, #14 IOL, #236 overall) was offered by Michigan. He's a 6'6", 290 lb. prospect with offers from Duke, Penn State, Texas A&M, and Virginia, among others.

    Hit the jump for more.

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    Jack Tuttle receives an extra year of eligibility

    Jack Tuttle

    Quarterback Jack Tuttle has received a seventh year of eligibility. Tuttle originally signed with Utah before ultimately playing the first five years of his career at Indiana. He then transferred to Michigan in 2023, along with tight end teammate A.J. Barner.

    Tuttle began the 2023 season as a third-stringer, but as he learned the playbook, he moved up the depth chart and became the primary backup to starter J.J. McCarthy. Down the stretch Michigan used Alex Orji as a running threat in the College Football Playoff, but Orji did not attempt a pass all season.

    Tuttle completed 15/17 passes for 130 yards and 1 touchdown last year. For his college career, he has completed 119/199 passes (59.8%) for 1,031 yards, 6 touchdowns, and 6 interceptions. He has also run 54 times for 114 yards.

    Injuries have been an issue for Tuttle over his career - thus the granting of a seventh year - and he has only played in 22 games over six seasons. While it might make sense to pencil him in as Michigan's starter in 2024, considering he was the top backup, there are perhaps better physical specimens on the roster. Orji has a stronger arm but much less experience. Jayden Denegal also has much less experience, but at 6'4" and 235 pounds, he also brings a size element that the 6'4", 210 lb. Tuttle doesn't possess.

    It's also still possible that Michigan will explore the transfer portal when the portal opens in mid-April.

    Depth chart by experience:

    • Jack Tuttle (Seventh Year Senior)
    • Davis Warren (RS Jr.)
    • Jayden Denegal (RS So.)
    • Alex Orji (RS So.)
    • Jadyn Davis (Fr.)

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    Keon Sabb, Ex-Wolverine

    Keon Sabb

    Rising redshirt sophomore safety Keon Sabb entered the transfer portal last week and, as of this weekend, has found a destination at Alabama.

    Sabb was a member of the class of 2022, and I gave him a TTB Rating of 84 at the time of his commitment (LINK). He was a 4-star, the #9 safety, and #84 overall in his class. He was listed at 6'1" and 208 lbs. this past season and played a key role on Michigan's defense, starting five games and making 28 tackles, 0.5 sacks, 2 interceptions (returned 56 yards, including for 1 touchdown), and breaking up 7 passes. That came after a freshman season where he played in just four total games.

    Sabb was going to be a key part of Michigan's secondary once again in 2024, but both Rod Moore and Makari Paige are returning to Michigan. Moore and Paige were somewhat expected to announce for the NFL after this past season, and Sabb surely would have slipped in there at one of the safety positions. But with both returning, there's a good chance that Sabb would have been squeezed for playing time once again. He would have played, but how much?

    Now Michigan has to hope that another young defensive back can step up. For whatever reason, the defensive backfield has been hurt by transfers this off-season, including cornerbacks Amorion Walker (Ole Miss) and Cam Calhoun (Utah). The next guys in line to play more would likely be third-year guy Zeke Berry or second-year player Brandyn Hillman.

    As for Sabb's future, he will likely play a starting role, especially since Alabama lost Caleb Downs to Ohio State in free agency. It's just a little odd that Sabb will be playing for a team (Alabama) Michigan beat in the Rose Bowl and for a coach (former Washington head man Kalen DeBoer) whom Michigan beat in the national championship game.

    Michigan has previously offered Sabb's two younger brothers in 2026 safety Amari Sabb and 2027 athlete Xavier Sabb.

    Keon Sabb is the sixth member of the 2022 class to transfer, joining Walker, WR Darrius Clemons (Oregon State), S Damani Dent (Charlotte), LB Deuce Spurlock (Florida), and RB C.J. Stokes (Charlotte).

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