By RICKY LINDSAY, Editor-in-Chief
The Michigan football team will be looking for a new quarterback this spring.
Gone is Jake Rudock, the one-year stopgap via Iowa who is preparing for a potential future in the NFL.
There are several choices in this arm’s race. Five scholarship quarterbacks, three boasting previous game experience. The coaching staff, according to ESPN, insists they’re in “no rush” to decide on a starter.
But there’s no question as to who it should be — former Houston quarterback John O’Korn.
O’Korn is the most experienced quarterback on Michigan’s roster and has two years of eligibility remaining. As a true freshman with Houston in 2013, he posted a 58.1 completion percentage, 3,117 yards, 28 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. He appeared to be a rising star at the position, winning the American Athletic Conference’s Rookie of the Year award.
But he flamed out in year two and opted to transfer last February. Michigan was his destination. He could not play for the Wolverines last season, though, due to transfer rules.
After seeing Rudock’s remarkable rise under head coach Jim Harbaugh, there’s no reason to think O’Korn won’t be capable of a similar trajectory.
Rudock was considered to be a game manager when Michigan picked him up last summer. O’Korn is a pro-style quarterback who can thrive in Harbaugh’s NFL offense, the kind of passer Michigan has longed for since Chad Henne.
247Sports projected his 2016 statistics based on Rudock’s improvements from 2014 to 2015. O’Korn is projected to throw for 3,860 yards, 35 touchdowns and 18 interceptions while completing 60.3 percent of his passes. The yardage, touchdown and interception totals would best the program’s previous single-season marks.
O’Korn still has to beat out Shane Morris and Wilton Speight, the other two quarterbacks who boast game experience in their college careers, before any of those numbers can happen.
Morris, a fourth-year junior, hasn’t had much of a chance to showcase his abilities at the collegiate level, but he’s been a dud in his few opportunities. He redshirted last year after losing the starting job to Rudock.
Speight, a third-year sophomore, led Michigan to a last-minute win against Minnesota last season after entering the game for an injured Rudock.
While both quarterbacks were talented preps, it’s hard to believe they’ll be able to supplant O’Korn, who logged 19 games and 618 pass attempts worth of experience at Houston.
For now, though, competition brings out the best in everyone. With the spring game on April 1 and fall camp months away, there’s no rush for a starter. But when a decision must be made, O’Korn is an easy choice.