Last summer, Shane Morris signed with Michigan as a five-star quarterback who was turning heads and looking like Michigan’s next star quarterback. Morris is coming in this next season, the first year without Denard Robinson in maize and blue. If you asked anyone last September, they would have said Morris would be given the keys to the Michigan offense and start in 2013. Well, that isn’t going to happen anytime soon now, barring injuries.
Robinson always looked like he was going to be broken in half any minute when he was (not) lacing them up for Michigan. After geting knocked out of the Nebraska game last season, Robinson couldn’t go against Minnesota the next week. When redshirted freshman quarterback Russell Bellamy was terrible in relief of Robinson in the second half of the Nebraska game, it was decided that Devin Gardner, a former five-star quarterback recruit who was made a wide receiver, would start against Minnesota the next week.
Gardner threw for 234 yards and two TDs in an easy Michigan win and would remain starter for the remaining four games of the season, playing well. Now coming into 2013 as a junior, Gardner has already been declared starter for Michigan and if all goes right for them, he will be the star quarterback for coach Brady Hoke’s new pro style offense for the next two seasons.
On top of the fact that there is no real opportunity for Morris to play as a freshman, his senior season in high school was also a disaster. Morris came down with mono in September and played poorly during his season and at the Under Armor All-American Game, leading to him losing his five-star status from the major recruiting services. Once considered one of the best QBs in the 2013 class, Morris’s stock has dropped significantly.
Now, all of this bodes poorly for Morris in the short term. He will not get a shot at starting as a freshman, unless of course Gardner gets hurt. In 2014, it will be very difficult for Morris to unseat Gardner as the starter, as by then he will have been the starter for the last 18 games, most likely. Obviously, things can change quickly.
When Robinson came in, he was behind starter Tate Forcier and, well everyone knows how that turned out for both parties. Robinson got drafted in the NFL, leaving Michigan as one of the greatest ever, while Forcier ended up transferring to San Jose State, before leaving there and is now struggling to make it in the Canadian Football League. So, yeah, things change.
All Morris can do at this point is impress in practice, learn every little part of the offensive system and if an opportunity does come along to actually play, take full advantage of it. The best scenario for Michigan is Gardner leads the team these next two seasons and then Morris comes in his junior year and has his own two seasons under center for Michigan.
You can follow Alex Dale on Twitter at @alexdaleCFB.