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Posted on Fri, Nov 27, 2009 : 6:30 p.m.

Quarterback Devin Gardner maintains commitment to Michigan football program

By Dave Birkett


Inkster High School quarterback Devin Gardner (7) stiff arms Lowell's Austin Graham (31) during the second half of the Division 2 football final Friday at Ford Field in Detroit. Lowell beat Inkster 27-6. (Photo: Associated Press)

DETROIT - Florida quarterback coach Scot Loeffler came for a visit earlier this month. LSU is calling, too.

Devin Gardner still has two months before he makes his decision official, but the Michigan football team's top prep prospect insists he’ll be a Wolverine next year.

“I’m going to Michigan,” Gardner reaffirmed Friday. “A lot of schools (are still recruiting me), but I’m going to Michigan.”

Gardner closed his distinguished prep career with a 27-6 loss to Lowell in the Division 2 state championship game at Ford Field.

It wasn’t his best performance - he completed just 9 of 17 passes for 134 yards, threw a bad interception in the first half and finished with minus-26 yards rushing on 7 carries (including 3 sacks) - but playing through hamstring and shoulder injures Gardner showed in flashes why rates him the country’s No. 1 dual-threat quarterback prospect.

On Inkster’s only touchdown drive, Gardner dropped a perfect 33-yard pass to receiver Deon Butler just over the outstretched arms of a Lowell defensive back. Later, he shook off three would-be tacklers to avoid a sack and keep alive a drive that eventually stalled near midfield.

“I can’t mourn,” Gardner said. “It starts on Monday. I start Monday lifting, throwing, everything. Watching film, just getting better as a quarterback so this will never happen again.”

Gardner won’t enroll early as he once hoped, but he’s still expected to challenge starting quarterback Tate Forcier for playing time next year.

At 6-foot-4 and 205 pounds, Gardner’s a better athlete than Forcier and more built to withstand the rigors of the Big Ten, though Forcier is more complete as a passer and, obviously, much further along in Michigan's offense.

Forcier threw for 2,050 yards and led the Wolverines in rushing attempts as a true freshman. He also struggled with turnovers at times, throwing four interceptions and losing a fumble in Michigan's season-ending loss to Ohio State.

Inkster offensive coordinator Mac Arthur Jones said Gardner’s athleticism is a fit for Michigan’s spread offense.

“God has given him everything he needs,” Jones said. “He’s so gifted, so talented.”

Gardner, who’ll play in the Under Armour All-American Game on Jan. 2, said his faith in Michigan wasn’t shaken by the Wolverines’ 5-7 season. As of now, the only official visit he plans to take is to Ann Arbor.

"They didn't get it done, just like we didn't today," he said.

Dave Birkett covers University of Michigan football for He can be reached by phone at 734-623-2552 or by e-mail at Follow him on Twitter @davebirkett.



Mon, Nov 30, 2009 : 3:14 a.m.

Dec 1 Tater? Come on, SOME schools have Bowl games to prepere for. I got a poem, well not a poem its a Johny Chochrin. "If Devin gonna Commit, Tates a gonna Quit"


Sun, Nov 29, 2009 : 2:20 a.m.

Anyone else notice that Ryan Mallett threw more Touchdowns than any quarterback in the six major conferences -- as a sophomore. Also, the human twinkie was an all big ten selection for OSU. Michigan is losing 9 starting seniors. OSU 7. Only 7 of 21 of next year's recruits tip the scales at over 200 lbs. Worst recruiting class on record -- fewest 4 star recruit -- ever. Florida State, Nebraska, Miami, Notre Dame. It happens. It's going to be a long, long 2010.


Sat, Nov 28, 2009 : 8:03 p.m.

We can't win with Tate and both RR and Tate knows it. Tate will transfer and DG will step in as the starting QB unless RR gets fired for a major rules violation.


Sat, Nov 28, 2009 : 4:29 p.m.

Man! You guys are harsh! Vince Lombardi couldn't have coached that team to a winning season. RichRod may have made a mistake with his choice of defensive coordinator, but the offense looked good at times. I like Gardner, if he's smart, he'll except the redshirt to hone his skills. With some time, he could become a really nice QB. It's a good thing fans don't control who's coaching. You people would have someone different coaching every season. If the spread works for Florida, it can work for Michigan. If they fire RichRod who would they bring in. How do you expect a coach to do his job when he's constantly looking over his shoulder. Bringing in someone else right now would only compound the problems! This situation will work itself out and at the end of the day, Michigan will be a proud program once again! Hail To The Victors!!!


Sat, Nov 28, 2009 : 2:49 p.m.

It will be good for the program if he redshirts next year. Especially since he can't come in for spring ball. Really hope he can be patient and RR is willing to at least start him off as a redshirt. Can't go another year with a true freshman QB, don't care how talented he is. And Tate needs another year to prove he can get it done without having to look over his shoulder all the time.


Sat, Nov 28, 2009 : 12:20 p.m.

Do any of you remember that Tate was JUST A FRESHMAN this season? OMG he made freshman mistakes... who cares. Tate didn't lose us any game out there by himself. Most of his passes had to be rushed against OSU and there were more than just QB problems that day. Get off the kids back, he was just a freshman, he's got almost an entire year to improve from last season, and the defense wasn't gonna put us in any better of a situation anyways. I hope Devin comes here to compete but I really hope that he gets redshirted. Tate is fine to run this offense next year and Gardner could really use the extra year of practice.


Sat, Nov 28, 2009 : 12:19 p.m.

Thank God he's still coming here. Agree with Flintmaize. No way Gardner should redshirt. He probably won't start the season, but WILL see playing time next year. Long term, he's probably going to be a much more durable, stronger QB than Tate. But we'll see how Tate responds to the challenge and develops. As far as Denard, the coaches need to sit down with him and make him understand he has zero chance of making it to the NFL as a QB, if that's his goal. However, he COULD make it there at another position - like receiver or possibly DB. So, switching now would benefit him and the team over the longer run. All this assumes both of the QB recruits in this recruiting class end up enrolling.

Macabre Sunset

Sat, Nov 28, 2009 : 12:08 p.m.

wolver4ever, the RichRod system is vastly different from what has succeeded at those other schools. Watch one of those teams play, then watch what RichRod is trying to do. Very different. His version of the spread is quite gimmicky and doesn't work against decent defenses. Hence the complete fall-off by the offense once they started playing better teams.


Sat, Nov 28, 2009 : 11:36 a.m.

Devon. Please take those other visits. Shoelace, please look around at other programs that may be interested in you. You were recruited as a QB but you were not given an opportunity to develop as a QB. I hope that Devon advisers are paying attention to this because Devon could very well wound up in a situation where he will not develop his potential. I hope that Shoelace former advisers and coaches are keeping a close eye because if Shoelace is switched, I hope that M never gets another players from the State of Florida. For you Tater supporters, the kid looked awful in that last game but you can blame it on the Offense which forced him to fumble in the end zone and who caused him to cough the ball up 3 or 4 times. The problem is the other teams figured out his limited moves and were able to defense him.


Sat, Nov 28, 2009 : 11:08 a.m.

I like D-Rob, he arm is stronger than Tate's, but he is so far behind. I guess it comes down to how bad he wants to be the starter and how much work he is willing to put in in the off season to make that happen.


Sat, Nov 28, 2009 : 10:16 a.m.

I think 2 many people count D-rob out he has a much bigger and stronger arm then tate and he dident get here early like tate he will learn to read defense and when he does watch out..Devin depending what he shows this spring i would redshirt him..i look at this next year as RR 2nd i dont no how anyone can count 2008 we all new that was gonna be a crap shoot, i count next year as RR 2nd and he will have his 2nd season sucsess next year under his real 2nd year.

birch creek john

Sat, Nov 28, 2009 : 9:47 a.m.

The best predictor of future success is past success. All you doom and gloom folks would be wise to put your money on Rich Rod next year. He and Forcier have one thing in common; they hate losing.


Sat, Nov 28, 2009 : 9:29 a.m.

Gardner's performance yesterday had more to do with no supporting cast around him and being constantly blitzed. He will have more supporting cast around him in Ann Arbor. As for Forcier, I still think he will be in the mix for the starting position, but he must get better and stronger or his frail body will again fail him in the physical Big Ten!


Sat, Nov 28, 2009 : 9:21 a.m.

I like how people are knocking the zone read system. What other teams use this system, oh ya, Florida, Texas, TCU, Bosie State, I wonder how that zone read system is working for them


Sat, Nov 28, 2009 : 9:15 a.m.

I was at the game. Gardner showed no brillaince whatever, strictly a mediocre performance. Certainly he has potential with his build from strictly an athletic point of view, but no feel for the game at all! Don't count on him being a factor next year.


Sat, Nov 28, 2009 : 2:18 a.m.

Devin is physically gifted, but he will need much better coaching than the stench that is there in AA currently. Hopefully that will change soon.

Macabre Sunset

Sat, Nov 28, 2009 : 1:28 a.m.

Forcier "regressed" when the team started playing better competition. It wasn't him, it was the gimmicky offensive scheme. Michigan was 9th in the Big Ten in scoring offense in conference games. Now, neither Forcier nor Robinson can deliver a good, accurate pass. So if this guy can throw and RichRod is willing to make some real adjustments to his variation on the spread, you never know. I'd be all for starting him as a freshman. But if RichRod is married to his gimmicky zone read crap, it will be another painful season, and Gardner may as well red-shirt so that the next coach can figure out how to best use him.

Dave H

Sat, Nov 28, 2009 : 12:10 a.m.

Do we really need another one of these articles every 2 weeks? ESPN had the exact same article after Loeffler visited at the beginning of the month. That article was preceded by a Detroit News article saying the same thing. Hopefully as signing day approaches we can have a daily reconfirmation that Devin Gardner is still in fact coming to Michigan. Better yet, let's just have a reporter in his 8th period study hall passing him crumpled up pieces of paper with different ways of asking whether he's still committed to Michigan.


Fri, Nov 27, 2009 : 11:35 p.m.

It won't be that interesting...if this kid starts, and unless U of M has a schedule of cupcakes (EMU,WMU,Deleware ST. again it will be the same mess all over again.

The Grinch

Fri, Nov 27, 2009 : 11:04 p.m.

Forcier regressed??? Sorry, but the ENTIRE TEAM regressed. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is a product of poor coaching. Get used to it. We have at least one more year of RichRod Ball (aka: losing season with no bowl game).


Fri, Nov 27, 2009 : 10:37 p.m.

The battle for QB is between Gardner and Forcier, The problem you have is that Robinson was promised he was brought to UM as a QB not a receiver. If you go back on that you will have a hard time getting other players from that area as your word can not be trusted. Robinson has to see the light and request to move to get on the field. I agree he would be a great threat as a slot with his speed the defense has to respect that. I have seen no improvement in his passing, and he could go to the next level as a receiver.


Fri, Nov 27, 2009 : 10:28 p.m.

Garnder should not redshirt, and as the #1 dual threat QB in the nation, he will not redshirt! Let's face it, Forcier regressed as the season went along and did not make much progress after the first three games. Devin Garnder is already a better passer than Denard Robinson. I would let Tate and Gardner battle it out and move Denard to a slot reciever and a returner. Robinson will never be a good all around QB while both Tate and Devin will be!


Fri, Nov 27, 2009 : 9:45 p.m.

I agree with Barn. He will be a freshman and no matter how talented he is there is a learning curve from high school to college. His size and speed will make a difference and could eventually end up the starter, but I would not sell Forcier short he to has talent and is a fighter. It will be interesting.


Fri, Nov 27, 2009 : 9:06 p.m.

He is physically gifted and seems to have a good head on his shoulder. It will be an andvantage for him to redshirt next year. I still believe that Tate is more than capable of being a a really good quarterback. Having said that, Michigan's offense will never reach full potential without a qb with home run speed like Gardner or Robinson. It will be interesting to see what will happen in the fall.

John of Saline

Fri, Nov 27, 2009 : 7:29 p.m.

OK, he's injured. I was wondering. He didn't look that great in the game.