Review of 2008 Recruiting: Quarterbacks

Review of 2008 Recruiting: Quarterbacks

January 7, 2016

Justin Feagin

The 2008 recruiting class reflects the transition year between Lloyd Carr (who announced his retirement at the end of the regular season) and Rich Rodriguez (who was hired in December). Also, up until this point, a Stanford offer might not have been noteworthy, but now that Jim Harbaugh was at Stanford, I might point out players with Stanford offers since that shows what kind of players he has traditionally pursued.

David Cone, RS So.
Nick Sheridan, RS So. (walk-on)
Steven Threet, RS Fr.

Justin Feagin
Ratings: Rivals 3-star, #41 ATH
High school: Delray Beach (FL) Atlantic
College: Michigan
Other notable offers: Miami, Rutgers, West Virginia
Scoop: Feagin was a late pull by Rich Rodriguez. He had been recruited by Rodriguez at West Virginia, but he was a dual-threat guy whom some teams wanted as a receiver or cornerback. He didn’t commit to Michigan until National Signing Day. He played sparingly in four games at Michigan in 2008, running the ball 11 times for 52 yards and attempting 0 passes. He got in trouble for drugs in the off-season and left Michigan, ending up at Texas Southern, where he caught 1 pass for 8 yards and ran 2 times for -4 yards as a sophomore in 2009. He left TSU and ended up at Glenville State (Rodriguez’s former program) for the 2012 season, doing a little bit of everything. He completed 49/109 passes for 6 touchdowns and 3 interceptions; ran 64 times for 195 yards (3.0 yards/carry) and 1 touchdown; and caught 17 passes for 120 yards (7.1 yards/catch). He returned to Glenville State in 2013, but it looks like he only played defense, where he made 1 interception while playing in two games. He was not taken in the 2014 NFL Draft and his career appears to be finished.

Hit the jump for a look at the rest of Michigan’s quarterback recruiting efforts in 2008.

Dayne Crist
Ratings: Rivals 5-star, #2 pro-style QB, #25 overall
High school: Sherman Oaks (CA) Notre Dame
College: Notre Dame Kansas
Other notable offers: Florida State, Stanford, USC
Scoop: Crist redshirted in 2008. He was Jimmy Clausen’s backup as a redshirt freshman in 2009, and he went 10/20 for 130 yards, 1 touchdown, and 1 interception before tearing his ACL against Washington State. After Clausen moved on to the NFL, Crist became the starter in 2010; he completed 174/294 (59.2%) of his passes for 2,033 yards, 15 touchdowns, and 7 interceptions, while also running for 4 touchdowns, but he tore his patellar tendon after nine games. He was demoted to a backup role in 2011 and went 15/24 for 164 yards, 0 touchdowns, and 1 interception behind Tommy Rees. He took advantage of the grad transfer rule and moved to Kansas for 2012, where he went 103/216 (47.7%) for 1,313 yards, 4 touchdowns, and 9 interceptions. He was not taken in the 2013 NFL Draft, and while he had tryouts with the Kansas City Chiefs and Baltimore Ravens, he did not stick with either team.

Terrelle Pryor
Ratings: Rivals 5-star, #1 dual-threat QB, #1 overall
High school: Jeannette (PA) Jeannette
College: Ohio State
Other notable offers: Florida, Oregon, Penn State
Scoop: When Rich Rodriguez was hired by Michigan, he immediately made Pryor his top overall target, thinking that a quarterback of his caliber could jump-start the rebuilding job in Ann Arbor. Pryor was expected to go to Ohio State, but Michigan’s pursuit gave him pause enough to postpone his decision from National Signing Day in early February to March 19, the day he finally announced for the Buckeyes. He was a starter by his third game in Columbus and ended 2008 completing 100/165 (60.6%) of his passes for 1,311 yards, 12 touchdowns, and 4 interceptions; he also ran 139 times for 631 yards (4.5 yards/carry) and 6 touchdowns. For his freshman performance, he was named Big Ten Freshman of the Year. As a sophomore in 2009, he went 167/295 (56.6%) for 2,094 yards, 18 touchdowns, and 11 interceptions; he also ran 162 times for 779 yards (4.8 yards/carry) and 7 touchdowns. As a junior in 2010, he completed 210/323 (65%) of his passes for 2,772 yards, 27 touchdowns, and 11 interceptions; plus he ran 135 times for 754 yards (5.6 yards/carry) and 4 touchdowns. At the conclusion of the regular season, Pryor and other Buckeyes were discovered to have sold Ohio State memorabilia for goods and services. He was suspended for the first five games of 2011, but the ridiculous NCAA allowed him to play in the upcoming bowl game against Arkansas. Instead of serving his suspension, he entered the 2011 NFL Supplemental Draft, where he was picked in the 3rd round by the Oakland Raiders. In two seasons with the Raiders, he completed 170/302 (56.3%) of his passes for 1,953 yards, 9 touchdowns, and 12 interceptions; he also ran 93 times for 627 yards (6.7 yards/carry) and 3 touchdowns. He was traded to the Seahawks prior to the 2014 season, cut by the Seahawks, and bounced around the NFL since then, doing nothing noteworthy. He holds the NFL record for longest touchdown run by a quarterback after scoring a 93-yarder against the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2013.

Matt Scott
Ratings: Rivals 4-star, #5 dual-threat QB
High school: Corona (CA) Centennial
College: Arizona
Other notable offers: Arizona State, Cal, Oregon
Scoop: Scott had a bit of a roundabout journey. As a true freshman, he was a backup to Willie Tuitama and completed 7/11 passes for 84 yards and 1 touchdown, but he contributed more as a runner with 23 carries for 188 yards and 2 touchdowns. In 2009 he was Nick Foles’s backup, completing 41/72 passes for 441 yards, 1 touchdown, and 3 picks; he also ran 9 times for 41 yards. Again as Foles’s backup in 2010, Scott completed 66/93 passes for 776 yards, 4 touchdowns, and 2 interceptions, plus 7 carries for 35 yards. Instead of running out of eligibility while sitting on the bench, Arizona made the prudent choice and redshirted him in 2011 while Foles was their star QB. Rich Rodriguez – who had recruited Scott to Michigan in 2008 – was hired to be Arizona’s coach for 2012. Scott stepped into the starting role and became Second Team All-Pac 12. He completed 301/499 passes (60.9%) for 3,620 yards, 27 touchdowns, and 14 interceptions; he also ran 113 times for 506 yards (4.5 yards/carry) and 6 touchdowns. He was not taken in the 2013 NFL Draft and has since been signed and released by the Jacksonville Jaguars, Cincinnati Bengals, and Edmonton Eskimos.

John Wienke
 Rivals 3-star, #14 pro-style QB
High school: Tuscola (IL) Tuscola
College: Iowa
Other notable offers: Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky
Scoop: Wienke was committed to Michigan from July 2007 until mid-December, when he flipped to Iowa because of Michigan’s coaching uncertainty. He redshirted in 2008 and did not play at all in 2009. As a redshirt sophomore in 2010, he was 0/1 passing. As a redshirt junior in 2011, he was 0/1 passing and that one attempt was picked off. He became a backup punter as a fifth year senior in 2012, punting 14 times for 529 yards (37.8 yards/punt) that year. His career appears to be finished.

Michigan had a tough situation in the 2008 class. The 2007 class included superstar quarterback recruit Ryan Mallett, and it’s tough to convince other good QB recruits in the following cycle. That’s how they got Wienke, who was a so-so recruit and was going to have to go somewhere and sit for a while, regardless of where he signed. Then the coaching change happened, and Rodriguez only had about 1.5 months to convince someone of his wholesale offensive change. Wienke decommitted, and Rodriguez put most of his eggs in the Terrell Pryor basket. Depending on whom you believe, Pryor either strongly considered Michigan past National Signing Day, or he deliberately delayed just to screw over the Wolverines. Either way, he signed with the evil Buckeyes and left Michigan with an “athlete” in Justin Feagin who never attempted a pass at Michigan and then got himself in trouble.

Biggest miss: Terrell Pryor. Michigan’s defense was its biggest downfall during the Rodriguez era, but Michigan might have done themselves some big favors with a college-ready QB who could run the zone read. At the very least, he might have made a difference in Michigan’s three one-score losses that first year to Toledo, Purdue, and Northwestern. Imagine if Michigan were 6-6 and bowl-eligible in 2008, rather than 3-9 with a first-ever loss to a MAC school. That might have brought in some better recruits, given the team more momentum, and earned Rodriguez and extra year or two to prove himself.

Biggest bust: John Wienke, I guess. There aren’t many options, but he basically did nothing whatsoever in college. Dayne Crist didn’t play like a 5-star, but he wasn’t terrible.

Best in class: Andrew Luck. Luck redshirted his first year, and then went on to throw 82 touchdowns and just 22 interceptions during the next three years as Stanford’s starting QB. He was a #1 overall pick by the Indianapolis Colts in 2012 and has made three Pro Bowls since then. Despite struggles and injuries this past season, he is generally considered to be one of a few elite young quarterbacks in the league.


  1. Comments: 6285
    Joined: 8/11/2015
    Jan 07, 2016 at 12:50 PM

    It was pretty straightforward – RR put ALL his eggs in the Pryor basket. My opinion is it was worth a shot. I think RR expected to get a little more time to rebuild (in the event he didn’t land Pryor) and he recovered nicely the following year with Robinson and Forcier.

    • Comments: 191
      Joined: 8/13/2015
      Jan 07, 2016 at 4:31 PM

      Instead of Forcier and Robinson we could have had Newsome and Beaver!!!

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