Ranking Michigan’s Quarterbacks

Tag: Ryan Mallett

6Mar 2020
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Ranking Michigan’s Quarterbacks

Drew Henson (image via Detroit News)

This was originally posted on March 17, 2017. It has been updated following the 2019 season.

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:

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23Feb 2018
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Ex-Wolverines: Class of 2007

Ryan Mallett (image via Sports Illustrated)

Here’s a wrap-up of the 2007 signees who left Michigan before their eligibility was completed.

Zion Babb – Wide receiver/cornerback – Alhambra (CA) Alhambra
Babb committed to the Wolverines as a speed-burning wide receiver, but bounced back and forth between receiver and cornerback in his two years at Michigan.  He redshirted as a freshman in 2007.  As a receiver in 2008 during Rich Rodriguez’s first year, Babb caught 2 passes for 45 yards.  However, there were multiple behavior and attitude issues – including reported verbal altercations with coaches on the practice field – that forced the program to part ways with him.  He attended a junior college in 2009 and was reportedly considering transfers to Colorado and New Mexico, but did not appear on either team’s 2010 roster.
Current status: Out of football

Artis Chambers – Safety/linebacker – Fort Wayne (IN) Snider
Chambers committed to the Wolverines as part of a seemingly excellent defensive back haul in 2007, joining Jerimy Finch and Donovan Warren.  Chambers played immediately, making 7 tackles as a freshman in 2007.  He added 4 tackles in 2008 while playing a linebacker/safety hybrid role, but left the team prior to the end of the season.  After the 2008 season, he announced a transfer to Ball State and sat out the 2009 campaign.  He was not on Ball State’s 2010 but popped up at Delta State in 2012, where he played in seven games and made 6 tackles.
Current status: Out of football

Hit the jump for several more decommits and transfers.

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15Dec 2014
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The Transition Effect: Carr to Rodriguez

Ryan Mallett

With an upcoming coaching transition, there has been some concern that players will take flight to greener pastures. When Michigan went from a pro-style scheme to a zone read option scheme in the off-season between 2007 and 2008, some offensive players headed out the door. Not much of that can be attributed to the spread. Every team loses players in the off-season. Sometimes players are sick of standing on the sideline, sometimes they get homesick, and sometimes they butt heads with the coaches. Here’s a look at what the transition from Lloyd Carr to Rich Rodriguez cost Michigan going into 2008 and beyond.

Decommitted due to coaching transition: John Wienke, Christian Wilson
Wienke, a pro-style quarterback, decommitted in favor of Iowa, where he never saw any significant time. Wilson ended up committing to North Carolina due to the fact that Rodriguez’s offense didn’t leave a ton of room for fullback/H-back types. Wilson played but never made a huge impact for the Tarheels.

Transferred to other FBS teams between regimes: Justin Boren, Ryan Mallett
Offensive guard Justin Boren would have been a junior starter in Rich Rodriguez’s first season, but some alleged frictions between Rodriguez and Boren’s family led to his departure. Boren transferred to his home state Ohio State Buckeyes program, where he eventually started and became an undrafted free agent; he never played in an NFL game despite making the practice squad with a couple teams. Meanwhile, his right guard position was taken by David Moosman, who turned out to be a decent but forgettable piece up front for the Wolverines. Theories differ on Mallett, a touted quarterback who transferred closer to home at Arkansas. Some say he was already on his way out the door because of butting heads with Carr; others say he realized he wouldn’t fit into Rich Rodriguez’s offense. Either way, he was replaced by walk-on Nick Sheridan and Georgia Tech transfer Steve Threet, both of whom were subpar passers and poor fits for Rodriguez’s scheme. After the 2008 season,

Left early for the NFL Draft: Adrian Arrington, Mario Manningham
Arrington blew up in his final game, a bowl win over Florida, which might have sealed the deal. His 882 receiving yards and 8 touchdowns in 2007 as the #2 option behind Manningham were impressive, although he slipped into the Draft in just the 7th round, making just 9 receptions in a short NFL career. Manningham had some issues following rules/laws and seemed to be headed for the door after a stellar three-year career; he possibly would have been a 1st round pick if not for a marijuana charge, and instead fell to the 3rd round. He was picked by the Giants and has had a solid but injury-marred career with 2,849 receiving yards and 19 touchdowns.

Transferred to other FBS teams after giving Rodriguez a chance:* Toney Clemons, Vince Helmuth, Dann O’Neill, Steve Threet
Clemons spent a year trying to wedge himself into the slot receiver role for Rodriguez, a role he was ill suited for because he was not very quick or elusive. Clemons had been recruited by Lloyd Carr as an outside wide receiver, and he transferred to Colorado for that reason. He had a decent career for the Buffaloes and managed to get drafted. Helmuth was brought in as a Lloyd Carr fullback, eventually moved to defensive tackle under Rodriguez, and then transferred to Miami-OH, where he never played, either. O’Neill spent a year redshirting and then transferred to Western Michigan, where his lack of lateral mobility was less of a hindrance; he started for several years for the Broncos. Threet got kind of a raw deal. After enrolling early at Georgia Tech in January 2007, he transferred to Michigan over the summer and redshirted during the season, hoping to follow Chad Henne as the starter for the Wolverines. Then when Rodriguez got hired, Threet and walk-on Nick Sheridan split playing time before Threet lit out for his third school, Arizona State. He had to sit out the 2009 season to transfer, and then concussions caused him to end his football career early.

Left early for the NFL Draft after giving Rodriguez a chance:* Carson Butler, Donovan Warren
Butler was unhappy with his role as a tight end in Rodriguez’s offense, so he made a mid-season switch to defensive end, finishing with 2 catches, 17 yards, and 5 tackles. He tested the waters of the NFL but was ultimately unsuccessful.  Warren left after his third season in Ann Arbor, hanging around through 2009. It’s unclear whether a different coach could have kept him around for a fourth season, but Warren was All-Big Ten and made 4 picks in 2009, after which he made an ill-advised attempt at making it in the NFL. He was not drafted and spent a few years bouncing around practice squads.

If Michigan changes systems to a spread or, say, a triple option, some transfers can naturally be expected. That change seems unlikely based on what we have been hearing, but anything is possible. The one guy who seemed like a possible early entrant into the draft (Devin Funchess) is gone already. The quarterbacks are mostly pro-style guys, so that would present a challenge if Michigan wanted to run any kind of option-type stuff. Michigan has been running a lot of zone schemes, so a loss of linemen would not seem to be a huge risk, regardless of the coach. The receivers are mostly big, pro-style guys who could get squeezed out if the new coach wanted to put tiny slot guys out there in spades. Michigan’s stable of tight ends would likely not be happy with a move to a spread, though A.J. Williams will be a senior and Jake Butt could be just a year away from heading to the NFL; the biggest flight risks there would probably be the young guys, Ian Bunting and Khalid Hill, who would still have time to redshirt for a year and make an impact elsewhere.

*There were some other transfers (Sam McGuffie, Marell Evans, Kurt Wermers, etc.) that seemed to have less to do with Rodriguez and more to do with homesickness, academic difficulties, etc.

26Nov 2014
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Former Michigan Athlete of the Week: Charles Woodson

Charles Woodson sacked Alex Smith on Sunday evening

Charles Woodson made 8 tackles, 3 tackles for loss, 1 sack, and 1 quarterback hurry in the Oakland Raiders’ 24-20 win over the Kansas City Chiefs. He also returned 1 punt for 5 yards.

Honorable mention: Tom Brady was 38/53 for 349 yards, 2 touchdowns, and 1 interception in the New England Patriots’ 34-9 win over the Detroit Lions. Chicago Bears safety Ryan Mundy made 8 tackles, 1 interception, and 1 pass breakup in a 21-13 win over the Minnesota Vikings.

Houston Texans quarterback Ryan Mallett didn’t have a good week, but I thought it would be worth mentioning that after going 21/45 for 189 yards and 1 pick in a 22-13 loss to the Cleveland Browns, he was diagnosed with a torn pec and will miss the rest of the season. That was his second career start after being acquired from the Patriots, an unfortunate turn of events for the former Wolverine (and Arkansas Razorback).

31Dec 2013
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Review of 2007 Recruiting: The Quarterbacks

Jimmy Clausen, folks.

Ryan Mallett
High school: Texarkana (TX) Texas
Ratings: Rivals 5-star, #2 QB
College: Michigan Arkansas
Other notable offers: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida State, Texas
Scoop: Mallett committed to Michigan as the heir apparent to Chad Henne, and the youngster got a chance to play early and often.  Henne suffered a couple nagging injuries, and Mallett stepped in to go 61/141 (43.1%) for 892 yards, 7 touchdowns, and 5 interceptions as a true freshman. He might have been on his way out the door already, but the hiring of Rich Rodriguez after the 2007 season didn’t help matters.  Mallett transferred to Arkansas, sitting out the 2008 season as a result.  As the starter for the Razorbacks in 2009 and 2010, he went a combined 491/814 for 7,296 yards 62 touchdowns, and 19 interceptions.  He was drafted in the third round of the 2011 NFL Draft by the New England Patriots, but he has played in just four games, all in 2012. Altogether, he’s 1/4 for 17 yards and 1 interception, with 8 carries for -9 yards.

Jimmy Clausen
High school: Westlake Village (CA) Oaks Christian
 Rivals 5-star, #1 QB, #1 overall
College: Notre Dame
Other notable offers: South Carolina, USC
Scoop: Clausen committed in September 2006 and enrolled early at Notre Dame in January 2007. He was starting by the second game of 2007, the earliest freshman QB to start at Notre Dame. He eventually started nine games that year, finishing with a 56.3% completion percentage, 7 touchdowns, and 6 interceptions. The unquestioned starter going into 2008, Clausen started every game and completed 60.9% of his passes for 3,172 yards, 25 touchdowns, and 17 interceptions. Improving yet again, he become a 68% passer in 2009 with 3,722 yards, 28 touchdowns, and 4 interceptions. He declared for the NFL Draft after his junior year and many expected him to be a high first round pick, but he fell to #48 overall in the 2010 draft, going to the Carolina Panthers. He was given ten starts as a rookie, going 157/299 (52.5%), 1558 yards, 3 touchdowns, and 9 interceptions. The Panthers hitched their franchise to Cam Newton, relegating Clausen to the bench, where he has spent the last two-plus seasons. They released him in August 2013 but re-signed him before placing him on injured reserve.

Peter Lalich
High school: Springfield (VA) West Springfield
Ratings: Rivals 4-star, #5 pro-style QB
College: Virginia
Other notable offers: Miami, UCLA
Scoop: Lalich committed to Virginia in April 2006. He played sparingly as a freshman and sophomore in 2007 and 2008, compiling 74 completions in 135 attempts (54.8%) for 2 touchdowns and 4 interceptions. However, several alcohol incidents resulted in a transfer to Oregon State, where he redshirted during the 2009 season due to NCAA transfer rules. After yet another incident, he transferred to California University in Pennsylvania. As the starter in 2011, he threw for 3,725 yards, 31 touchdowns, and 12 interceptions. In an injury-shortened 2012, he threw for 2,413 yards, 21 touchdowns, and 10 interceptions. He was not taken in the 2013 NFL Draft and appears not to be involved in professional football at this time.

Mike Paulus
High school: Syracuse (NY) Christian Brothers
Ratings: Rivals 4-star, #4 pro-style QB, #82 overall
College: North Carolina
Other notable offers: Alabama, Miami, USC
Scoop: Paulus, the brother of former Duke basketball player and Syracuse quarterback Greg Pauls, committed in April 2006. He redshirted as a true freshman and then went 4/13 for 33 yards, 0 touchdowns, and 2 interceptions as a redshirt freshman in 2008. After sitting on the bench behind T.J. Yates in 2009, Paulus transferred to FCS school William & Mary prior to the 2010 campaign. He went 88/142 for 883 yards, 4 touchdowns, and 2 interceptions while playing a backup role. Once again a backup as a fifth year senior in 2011, he went just 28/72 for 267 yards, 1 touchdown, and 3 interceptions. He now works at VCU in the athletic office.

In Lloyd Carr’s final full class, he made offers to some very questionable people and football players. Mallett played one season at Michigan before transferring, and while he had a very good college career at Arkansas, he was perhaps not the greatest leader. Clausen was also not an ideal character throughout his college career, although he parlayed it into a decent result on draft day. Lalich and Paulus both stunk it up at the higher levels of college football and then had mixed success after moving down a level.

Biggest miss: Clausen. Like him or not – and I don’t – Clausen had some physical talent and would have fit well with Carr’s pro-style offense. Either way, the impending hire of Rich Rodriguez would have either resulted in a transfer for Clausen or a square peg in a round hole for a few years. In fact, none of these players would have fit what Rodriguez wanted to do, so it’s quite possible that a commitment from any of the four would have resulted in a very similar situation for Rodriguez.

Biggest bust: Paulus. Ultimately, Paulus didn’t find success at any level. As the #82 prospect in the country, he threw only 13 passes in his FBS college career.

Best in class: Cam Newton. The 2007 class was surprisingly devoid of any surefire stud quarterbacks, and even Newton had some bumps in the road before finding success (legal trouble at Florida, playing at Blinn Community College, an ineligibility investigation). However, Newton became a Heisman winner, a national champion, a #1 draft pick, and is having a solid career for the Carolina Panthers. Other options include Ryan Tannehill, Nick Foles, and Kellen Moore.