CBS Sports on Michigan Wolverines QB competition in spring ball


Everything will look anew in Ann Arbor in 2024 following the big national championship win this past season.

Many of the star players from last year are gone, and it’s an entirely new coaching staff, led by former offensive coordinator Sherrone Moore. Only one on-field coaching staff member is in the same position as he was a year ago (wide receivers coach Ron Bellamy). Otherwise, there are a lot of new faces as well as familiar faces in new roles.

While Kirk Campbell was elevated from quarterbacks coach to offensive coordinator, he’ll still oversee the passers. But he has to find a new man to lead the maize and blue under center as J.J. McCarthy is NFL-bound. There are plenty of options to choose from, but no obvious choice as to who will be the starter next year.

CBS Sports’ Chip Patterson took a look at the situation at quarterback in Ann Arbor and diagnosed the room and how he thinks the competition may go.

Contenders: Jayden Denegal, Alex Orji, Jadyn Davis, Jack Tuttle, Davis Warren

The first spring practices of the post-Jim Harbaugh era includes a spotlight on first-year coach Sherrone Moore and his plans to handle the quarterback position. Having already imprinted his “SMASH” motto as his theme, it’s a good bet that Michigan will once again be a team that’s built around dominance at the line of scrimmage rather than a finesse game which requires more from the quarterback. But, that does not lessen the importance of the position because J.J. McCarthy’s excellence in doing exactly what Michigan needed him to do is how the Wolverines rolled off the last two Big Ten titles and won the national championship in 2023. Our expectation is that Denegal, a 6-4, pro-style quarterback out of California represents one stylistic option for Moore and offensive coordinator Kirk Campbell. Orji, meanwhile, has already proven his dual-threat ability in six games of action, mostly as a specialized threat in the ground game. Orji logged rushing attempts in both College Football Playoff wins against Alabama and Washington, so clearly the coaching staff trusts him on the biggest stages. We have yet to see him operate as a downfield passer with any regularity, however. Look for this competition to drag through spring, into fall and possibly even into the season.

Orji, to us, feels like the favorite, but seventh-year man and former four-star Jack Tuttle shouldn’t be underestimated, either. While his tenure at Indiana didn’t exactly inspire, his role as a backup last year for Michigan certainly showed that he can lead the offense.

Regardless, there’s plenty of time to get the QB room situated. Currently, the signal callers are battling it out during spring ball, but there’s still all of summer as well as fall camp to decide the position.

Fans will get a chance to see the quarterbacks in action on April 20 when Michigan football hosts the annual spring game at The Big House at noon EDT.



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