2024 Spring Football Preview: Quarterback

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1Mar 2024
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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.

26Feb 2024
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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).

25Feb 2024
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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
22Feb 2024
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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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20Feb 2024
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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.)