You are viewing this article in the archives. For the latest breaking news and updates in Ann Arbor and the surrounding area, see
Posted on Thu, Feb 4, 2010 : 3:50 p.m.

Devin Gardner, Conelius Jones give Michigan depth, competition at quarterback

By Dave Birkett

Devin Gardner may very well lead Michigan “back to the promised land,” as CBS College Sports recruiting analyst Tom Lemming suggested he might two months ago.

Just don’t assume it’s going to happen this year.


Michigan incoming freshman quarterback, Devin Gardner, poses for a photograph while meeting the media after coach Rich Rodriguez annoucnced his latest recruiting class during Wednesday, February 3rd's press conference at UM's Junge Family Champion's Center.

Lon Horwedel |

Gardner, one of seven Michigan recruits to enroll early, will take part in spring practice when drills begin next month. He'll have his work cut out to pass Tate Forcier and Denard Robinson on the depth chart.

“I think it helps that he got in early,” Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez said. “I don’t know if 15 spring practices can give you the whole thing. It helped Tate last year, the difference is Devin’s going to have pieces around him that know, at least the veterans, that know what we’re trying to do offensively and all that.”

Forcier started 12 games last year as a true freshman and led Michigan to a 4-0 start before injuries to him and his supporting cast helped derail the Wolverines’ season.

The 6-foot-4, 205-pound Gardner is bigger and more physical than Forcier. Athletically he’s a match for Rodriguez’s spread offense.

“He’s a big, strong guy, a guy we think can have a lot of success in our type of system,” Rodriguez said. “He’s a guy that’s extremely competitive and obviously has a lot of skills.”

Forcier has plenty of talent, too. He's the most accurate passer on the team, Michigan's third-leading returning rusher, and he’s already added 10 pounds to his 195-pound frame this offseason to better withstand the rigors of the Big Ten.

“I think Tate can keep getting better, too,” Rodriguez said.

There’s also Robinson, who backed up Forcier last year as a true freshman and provided Michigan some of its most exciting moments.

Rodriguez said there are no plans to move Robinson from quarterback, but conceded “he’s too good of an athlete just to stand if he’s not playing all the time at quarterback.”

“I think the 15 practices in the spring will help immensely because it’s slowed down,” Rodriguez said.

Enough that he could help in the return game or on defense?

“Well, not on defense, but certainly - I haven’t talked to him about it, we haven’t talked really much about anything until we get in spring practice, but whether he does some returns and all that, he’ll probably be open to it,” Rodriguez said. “Denard’s a very competitive guy. You all know him, he just wants to play. But again, he’s a quarterback and we’re going to keep him at quarterback.”

Conelius "Trail" Jones, the other quarterback in Michigan's 2010 class, likely will redshirt next fall, but Rodriguez said he's the type of athlete who can help at a number of positions.

"As we know what happened a couple of years ago, you can't have too many quarterbacks," Rodriguez said. "He'll compete there first. If it looks like he can help us at another position, he's willing to do that. We may move him, whether it's receiver or somewhere else."

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.



Tue, Feb 9, 2010 : 4:38 p.m.

I agree Buzz, this team could be real dangerous next season all the players need to do is hit the weightroom a little and bulk up and they already got the speed, so if our players minimize the mistakes next year and play smart we could have a cozy spot atop the Big Ten GO BLUE!!!


Tue, Feb 9, 2010 : 4:05 a.m.

This is wat RR needed depth at QB. He only had 2 last year, now 4, and next season he'll jus need 1 more. All of them have speed, and RR will develop them into the most feared weapons in the nation. They will develop as passers (especially DRob heard hes been working on his passing). They all will bulk up also so they could last the punishment, and WATCH OUT BIGTEN. I also dont feel suspicious about some of the recruits with bad pasts. Every college recruits worse players. UM will likely change them into better role models since Ann Arbor is a great environment and not close to Big Cities. U hardly hear bad things about UM players getting in trouble, the only reason why hear about em now is cuz RR had 2 unlucky seasons. Third year will change his luck and all the drama will end/lessen. Well back to QBs, these type of QBs killed UM (Smith, Dixon, dude from app.) the only reason why we beat Florida is cuz Tebow is not lightning fast. Ppl say that the spread got killed by BigTen defense but thats cuz they never went up against fast QBs like wat UM has now. Harris, Masoli, Nesbitt, jefferson are not that fast. Nesbitt is exception but he didnt have hlp from his team they all crumbled. That list of QBs were fast but more of buyn time. Like tate also, but DRob is prob the fastest QB, Jones is like DRob, DG is like Vince Young. Also UM has some Big Line-men, which is much bigger and stronger than wat those QBs have. jus face it UM will be back ontop soon maybe sooner than many think. hopefully we can show it against UConn. GO BLUE!!!!!


Mon, Feb 8, 2010 : 10:51 p.m.

RR has his players, especially in QB. All of them look to be dangerous and explosive. Another thing about em is that they r FAST!!!!! Thats wat killed UM in the past was fast QB. Now that they have it we can utilize it and burn everyone we play. I trust RR will develop these fine young players into great QBs and great citizens. Go BLUE!!!!!!


Mon, Feb 8, 2010 : 7:47 p.m.

I think that Michigan could be very dangerous next year with all our speed. I am ALL IN FOR KING RICH ROD and I trust he will lead our program in the right direction. ps I am new to but I am not a "Wal-Mart Wolverine" I am a DIE HARD Michigan Fan and never talk smack about my own program GO BLUE!!!

Sean T.

Sat, Feb 6, 2010 : 12:01 a.m.

Something seems fishy with some of the character of these recruits and I have a bad feeling about this. I hope the second chances given to these guy's are reciprocated with intelligence and responsibility. But we'll have to wait and see!


Fri, Feb 5, 2010 : 2:53 p.m.

Well USC just offered a acholarship to a 13 year old.


Fri, Feb 5, 2010 : 2:42 p.m.

Come on D ROB...You are the next Percy Harvin! Take those screen passes to the house. UM would be so dangerous with him and another QB in there, be it Tater or Gardner. If we can get him to throw accurately, that would be a nightmare for any D! RR has some great things going on!


Fri, Feb 5, 2010 : 2:11 p.m.

Jones was not even in school for two years and had not played a down of high school ball and RRod gave him an offer. I'm sure his gpa is legit, ha. This guys coach was desperate, not a hero.


Fri, Feb 5, 2010 : 1:32 p.m.

When are you going to investigate Conelius Jones Birkitt? This kid has zilch for experience because he dropped out of school because he got in "trouble". What kind of trouble was it? Does his history make Dorsey look like a school boy? Where is the journalism here? Is Rich Rod building a criminal empire to try and win anything? Why does it seem like anyone can make this team? Jones was brought back off the streets by his coach so they could win a few games, sounds like Rich Rod to me.


Fri, Feb 5, 2010 : 1:23 p.m.

I apologize if my comments were deemed a personal attack as they were not meant to be. I kept changing it to fit the guidelines (I thought). I just stated I didn't know if Tate Forcier is the right QB, which other people here have stated, so I don't know what was an attack. Oh well, it's your website, I guess there doesn't need to be a reason.


Fri, Feb 5, 2010 : 8:58 a.m.

This recruiting class gives the team something it didn't have last year and that is DEPTH. Last year the drop off in talent from first team to second or sometimes third team was dramatic. This year it will be far less so. Look what happened when Molk went down. If he stays (just one guy) healthy UM plays a bowl game instead of watching them on TV. That's how close they were last year. Can't wait for this year.


Fri, Feb 5, 2010 : 8:19 a.m.

Gardner will replace Tate befor season is over and Tate will transfer before 2011 season


Fri, Feb 5, 2010 : 8:06 a.m.

Want to know how much Molk meant to the team? The O line was very, very good with him in there and so-so without him. He came back from the first injury in the Penn State game. On the 1st series, they went through Penn State's D like it was hardly there and scored a TD. On the second possession, they were moving the ball and he was injured and left the game (out for the season). The offense did basically nothing the rest of the game and never looked comfortable for the rest of the season.


Fri, Feb 5, 2010 : 2:02 a.m.

catfishrisin - If everyones here, University of Ohio State. - Terrelle Pryor


Fri, Feb 5, 2010 : 12:18 a.m.

The depth in the Qb position is very deep and dangerous. i bet DRob has been working on his passing, if he did comin this season UM will be loaded. I bet Conelius Jones is as dangerous as they say he is. Probably like Drob but lil slower and better passer. And of course DG is impressive as they say he is. Tate gained weight and now knows how rough the BigTen is. Looks like the offense is loaded, i also have a feeling the defense will surprise many next season. GO BLUE!!!!


Thu, Feb 4, 2010 : 11:43 p.m.

pithesis95, Who beat us last year? Oh yeah, the Spartys. Hard to rag on them when they've beaten us two straight. I hate to say it, but when we rag on the Spartans now, we sound EXACTLY like their fans have over the years when they ragged on us while losing. I guess some of our fans aren't too different from Sparty after all.


Thu, Feb 4, 2010 : 11:14 p.m.

Good call everyone is overlooking the Molk situation. He was our best lineman. Then all the bad snaps and mix ups may have actually lost us a game or two who knows. And to trollers, who beat the spartans last year. Oh yeah a MAC team, go check the mirror sparty.


Thu, Feb 4, 2010 : 9:26 p.m.

Offense was never a problem last year. Prior to the OSU game, UM had scored more points than any other team in the Big 10, check it out! Defense, defense, defense...


Thu, Feb 4, 2010 : 7:59 p.m.

Hope D Rob has leanrted how to pass since last year. Super quick and dangerous for sure but his passes were sad.

Ian McCarthy

Thu, Feb 4, 2010 : 7:50 p.m.

They can all back up D ROB. Sounds good to me.


Thu, Feb 4, 2010 : 7:48 p.m.

The Ohio State University


Thu, Feb 4, 2010 : 7:08 p.m.

Since their horrible 16-22 record over the last three years proved them to be mac eligable.


Thu, Feb 4, 2010 : 6:42 p.m.

I am positive regarding the athletes that are going to be a part of our 2010 football year. I hate nit-pickers, but when did Notre Dame join the MAC?


Thu, Feb 4, 2010 : 6:30 p.m.

"to a 4-0 start before injuries to him and his supporting cast helped derail the Wolverines season." I think playing better teams other than MAC schools might have help lead to a losing season.


Thu, Feb 4, 2010 : 6:28 p.m.

Good news for Michigan is I don't know much about this Cornelius player but if he's good he should drop the "Trail" nickname and call himself "Yukon" Cornelious then fans could wear prospector gear and bring fake pick axes with them. looks good on tv.


Thu, Feb 4, 2010 : 4:56 p.m.

Best way to learn to do something is repetition, not reading it in a book or having someone tell you how to do it. Whoever plays, Michigan will be better at the QB position in 2010.


Thu, Feb 4, 2010 : 4:54 p.m.

@Papabear151 - joke's on you. All of the linemen and most of the receivers are back for a 2nd, 3rd or 4th year. Those are the "pieces around him that know."


Thu, Feb 4, 2010 : 4:20 p.m.

What a joke, wasn't the argument last year that tate was going to have sheridan to learn from? Now sheridan may not be the most physically gifted quarterback but I doubt he was a worse person for learning the system from than tate will be. There isn't a slew of veterans to teach these guys, there are a couple of sophomores that played a few games and sucked. Using gardener this season is a total waste and I doubt RR would even consider it if his job wasn't on the line.