2010 Countdown: #3 Tate Forcier

2010 Countdown: #3 Tate Forcier

September 1, 2010

Name: Tate Forcier
Height: 6’1″
Weight: 192 lbs.
High school: Scripps Ranch High School in San Diego, CA
Position: Quarterback
Class: Sophomore
Jersey number: #5
Last year: I ranked Forcier #2. He started all 12 games and completed 165 of 281 passes (58.7%) with 13 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. He also ran the ball 118 times for 240 yards and 3 touchdowns.

The hype for Forcier last season was amazing. It approximated the hype this season for Denard Robinson. Forcier was a highly touted recruit at a position of need with the pedigree and polish (if not the size) to turn the whole program around after a nightmarish 2008 season for Michigan. Things started off with a bang, as Forcier threw 3 touchdowns against Western Michigan in his first game and won the first four games of the season. His comeback victory against Indiana was followed by a near-comeback against MSU, but the 4-0 start to the season quickly devolved as Forcier went 1-7 as a starter down the stretch.

The offseason was somewhat tumultuous for Forcier. He had to recover from a bum shoulder that he injured late in the season. Then Denard Robinson took great strides in spring practices, earning rave reviews and seemingly relegating Forcier to a backup role. Rumors of Forcier’s impending transfer sprouted up several times throughout the spring and summer, especially when Forcier had to “earn his wings” at the beginning of summer practices; several Michigan players, including Forcier, who had less than stellar offseasons were given plain blue helmets. While Denard Robinson was reportedly studying film, working hard on his mechanics, and participating in voluntary 7-on-7s, Forcier reportedly made rare appearances at voluntary sessions during the summer.

Forcier is still one of the top three most important players on the team due to his position and talent. Denard Robinson has received more snaps with the first string offense since the spring, and Forcier has been playing catch-up. And while Robinson is clearly a superior runner to Forcier, Michigan fans should remember that Shoelace is tearing up a Michigan defense that might be one of the worst in the Big Ten this year. Robinson made it clear in 2009 that he can gain yards on the ground against just about anyone, but he also made it clear that he has a long way to go as a passer. Forcier is virtually the opposite – he’s just an okay runner, but has the ability to be a very good passer. Denard Robinson’s legs might let him run past early foes with mediocre defenses like Connecticut, Notre Dame, UMass, Bowling Green, and Indiana. But the tougher defenses that loom in the second half of the season (Iowa, Penn State, Wisconsin, and Ohio State) will require a more nuanced passing attack, one that Robinson is unlikely to produce at this point in his development. Robinson was integral enough to be #5 on this countdown, but Forcier will end up being more valuable by the end of the 2010 campaign.

Prediction for 2010: Part-time starting quarterback; 1,700 yards passing and 15 touchdowns; 200 yards rushing and 2 touchdowns


  1. Comments: 21383
    Sep 01, 2010 at 12:06 PM

    @ DSQ

    I thought it was a pretty fitting choice…

  2. Comments: 21383
    Sep 01, 2010 at 12:59 PM

    Do you still consider Forcier to be more important to the team than Robinson, or has your opinion changed since you first drafted this list? If your opinion has changed what is it now?

  3. Comments: 21383
    Sep 01, 2010 at 1:19 PM

    @ Anonymous

    The list has been tweaked here or there based on practice reports and such. It has mostly stayed the same, though. Forcier started off somewhere down around #9 and was below Robinson in the hierarchy, but I've flip-flopped them over the past week or so.

    I made the list a couple months ago, but guys have moved up or down a few spots based on injuries, practice performances, etc.

  4. Comments: 21383
    Sep 01, 2010 at 2:14 PM

    Woolfolk in the top-2? You're a cruel cruel man Magnus.

  5. Comments: 21383
    Sep 01, 2010 at 3:07 PM

    @ Anonymous 10:14 a.m.

    I can't help the Woolfolk thing. I haven't moved him around at all since I made up the list.

  6. Comments: 21383
    Sep 01, 2010 at 6:41 PM

    It makes perfect sense to have Woolfolk in the top 2 as we are seeing exactly what our secondary will look like without him this season.

    He was literally the only guy we could NOT afford to lose on the defensive side of the ball as we had no one to back him up but career benchwarmer Rogers and true freshmen.

    Yes, Virginia, God hates Michigan…

  7. Comments: 21383
    Sep 01, 2010 at 9:48 PM

    Do you think that Denard has the potential to iron out rough spots in his passing game over the first 5-6 games of the season? Or is he just destined to be a mediocre passer?

    The more athletic defenses later in the year make me thinks it's even more likely that DR will play as long as he can be an average passer. Having Tate in there at that point in the season takes away one of the three weapons in the base read option, as he is just not a threat with his feet against faster defenses.

    And as much as I like offenses set up to get big chunks of yards through the air…that's just not RR's style. I see DR holding on to the spot.

  8. Comments: 21383
    Sep 02, 2010 at 12:38 AM

    You are probably right, Thunder, especially considering RR has had at least one QB get injured each of the last three years.

  9. Comments: 21383
    Sep 02, 2010 at 12:43 AM

    @ Logan

    You are exactly right. Woolfolk was/is a valuable part of this team. We are tremendously thin at the cornerback position and it was going to be a weak unit even with him in there.

  10. Comments: 21383
    Sep 02, 2010 at 12:44 AM

    @ Alex

    I do think that Robinson could improve, but how much he improves is beyond what I can guess at this point. He didn't really improve throughout the 2009 season. Maybe he can improve from September 3 through November, but it's just too hard to tell.

    Like I said, it's possible that he'll play well enough to hold onto the starting spot throughout the season. But I think Forcier's passing talent is going to be needed with our atrocious defense.

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