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Posted on Fri, Jul 27, 2012 : 12:30 p.m.

Michigan QB Devin Gardner will play receiver, Brady Hoke confirms

By Kyle Meinke


Michigan quarterback Devin Gardner is switching from No. 7 to No. 12. Now, it appears he could also be switching positions -- at least on a part-time basis.

Melanie Maxwell |

CHICAGO -- Michigan quarterback Devin Gardner was practicing at receiver in the spring. Everyone knew it, even though coaches weren't saying much.

Now, they are.

Wolverines head coach Brady Hoke said Friday at Big Ten media days in Chicago that the junior will split time this fall between backing up starter Denard Robinson at quarterback and getting reps at receiver.

Although Gardner's move has been rumored for months, this marks the first time Hoke has talked about it at length.

"We have a chance to get Devin on the field as a wide receiver some, because of his athleticism," Hoke said. "He's a big guy. So, I think we've got all kinds of different things that we look towards with Devin.

"I think Devin has grown as a quarterback, grown as a kid. I think that's a big part of it."

Gardner is a 6-foot-4, 205-pound junior from Inkster. He was ranked as the country's top dual-threat coming out of high school, but hasn't played much as Robinson developed into one of the nation's most exciting players.

Hoke and offensive coordinator Al Borges said in the spring they would like to get Gardner on the field to take advantage of his athleticism. Now, it appears that's happening, with his time split between quarterback and receiver.

Hoke wouldn't commit to how much time Gardner would receive at wideout, but did say it would depend some on his ability to protect the football at that position.

The coach also said the development of third-string quarterback Russell Bellomy helps give Michigan insurance to make the move. Bellomy was solid in the spring game -- more effective than Gardner, in fact -- and seems to be earning the trust of the coaching staff to operate the offense.

"It allows you to work Devin a little bit more at some different things, some different positions where he could help the football team," Hoke said.

Robinson said he's worked on formations and routes with Gardner this summer, and could see him being an impact player on deep balls due to his size. That could help Michigan account for the loss of top receiver Junior Hemingway, who was the team's go-to threat on jump balls last year.

The Wolverines return two experienced starters at receiver in senior Roy Roundtree and junior Jeremy Gallon, but Roundtree is 6-foot and Gallon 5-8. Gardner, at 6-4, brings a size dimension to the position.

And he can run.

"Devin is one of the best athletes I've ever seen," Robinson said. "He can make some plays happen -- he can be an impact player. Whatever position he is on the football field, he's an impact player.

"You see him on the football field, you look at No. 12 he's wearing now (after wearing No. 7 last year), you see him on the field, he's going to be explosive at quarterback, receiver, even if he goes to running back. He's an impact player.

"He's an athlete, so when you see him at receiver, you think he's a receiver. He can play ball -- he can straight-out play ball. That's just Devin."

Kyle Meinke covers Michigan football for He can be reached at 734-623-2588, by email at and followed on Twitter @kmeinke.



Wed, Aug 1, 2012 : 10:44 p.m.

so he wasn't quite as good as his h.s. stats indicated?maybe he'll get to play some this year.


Mon, Jul 30, 2012 : 12:23 a.m.

oh ye' of little faith, Gardner will shred and punish those in the secondary, I see a bulldozer with good hands and the ability to go up and get the jump ball. This will give opposing secondary's nightmares. Go Blue! beat ohio.


Sun, Jul 29, 2012 : 1:49 p.m.

We need good football players on the field. This is a good move.


Sat, Jul 28, 2012 : 5:07 p.m.

This is awesome. Michigan will be a lot of fun to watch this season. Not sure if they will be able to beat Alabama, but a loss to them won't ruin their season by any means.


Sun, Jul 29, 2012 : 1:12 a.m.

I think if they somehow DID win out after a loss to Alabama they'd be in great shape for a shot at the national title game. You're right, they do have a monster schedule and that will go a long way in helping them bounce back after a week one loss. There's a 1-loss team in the BCS championship game almost every season (sometimes a team with 2 losses will sneak in) so it isn't outrageous to think Michigan could get back in the hunt if they can't get past Alabama. That being said, here's to hoping they just win 'em all and we won't have to worry about any of that.


Sat, Jul 28, 2012 : 11:24 p.m.

You're both right. However, if whoever loses this game ends up winning out the rest of the way (including their conference championship), it will take a GREAT season from someone else to keep them out. I don't foresee UM winning out (given their monster schedule), win or lose in the Alabama game, but I'm just sayin'.


Sat, Jul 28, 2012 : 7:42 p.m.

In all honesty, whether Michigan or Alabama loses game one, the losing team will generally speaking be way on the outside for gaining a BCS invitation. Someone will have their season partially ruined before it has had a chance to get into full swing. The same is true for Michigan State and their worthy opponent.


Sat, Jul 28, 2012 : 1:48 p.m.

I foresee some "trick/gimmick" plays involving the Robinson/Gardner combination this year. (Double passes, etc.) And just being realistic, they'll need them, especially against Bama.


Sat, Jul 28, 2012 : 6:25 a.m.

A really good receiver can make an average quarterback look good - Denard may be Heisman bound after all! This could turn out to be one of the most versatile and exciting teams we've seen in quite a while.


Sat, Jul 28, 2012 : 5:10 a.m.

I have been looking at some tape of Michigan's hopeful rb prospect Derrick Green who is coming to visit this weekend. I don't think he is as good as people think. He already has a huge size advantage in high school and he doesn't seem to do much with it. He does not seem to be able to break tackles that well. His short steps often make it easy for people to tackle his feet and bring him down with relative ease.


Sat, Jul 28, 2012 : 11:21 p.m. should feel right at home with this recruit, then.


Sat, Jul 28, 2012 : 5:30 p.m.

But Ted! He's rated 5 stars! Aren't you a firm believer in that being the do all end all stat for any recruit?? I mean when Hoke and company accepted commitments from anyone under 4*s you stated that it was a big mistake. What gives??


Sat, Jul 28, 2012 : 2:26 p.m.

He did have a big mouth though.


Sat, Jul 28, 2012 : 5:45 a.m.

Mike Hart had pretty short steps. And Ricky Powers did, too.


Sat, Jul 28, 2012 : 2:37 a.m.

I hope he does well next year at receiver, but Al better be ready to use him at QB the next year because he'll be the best player available at that position.


Sat, Jul 28, 2012 : 5:13 a.m.

I'm sure Al will use him at QB if he is, indeed, the best player at the position. Michigan is getting pretty deep at the QB spot, though...could be a good competition.


Sat, Jul 28, 2012 : 1:45 a.m.

Actually as a receiver, Devin will be on the slow side. He runs a 4.6 to 4.7. He should be able to make up for it with his size.


Sat, Jul 28, 2012 : 2:25 p.m.

Steve, did you say spring game? That pretty much tells you about the UM speed in the defense. The times I gave you are fact.


Sat, Jul 28, 2012 : 1:32 p.m.

If you had seen the Spring Game you would know that: 1) Devin runs just as fast in full gear as he does in shorts and tank top. 2) He is one of those athletes that has an extra gear when he breaks into the clear. 3) He quite easily ran past a couple of DBs after catching a pass in the flat.

Craig Lounsbury

Fri, Jul 27, 2012 : 8:50 p.m.

Throwing the ball is not exactly Denard Robinson's forte. I guess Deven Gardner must be a heck of a down-field blocker.


Sat, Jul 28, 2012 : 5:44 a.m.

Denard threw well his sophomore year because he'd been in the offensive system for a full year already. This season he has a year of experience in the new system under his belt. Do the math.


Sat, Jul 28, 2012 : 5:17 a.m.

Craig, I think that with a year + under Borges, Robinson might surprise you with how well he throws the ball this year.


Fri, Jul 27, 2012 : 8:22 p.m.

I think this is a huge win-win. Gardner benefits from playing time especially since next year he would have some serious competition at qb from Morris and Bellomy. He may be better suited to play WR at the next level anyway. Hoke and Borges get their 2 biggest weapons on the field at the same time. And D-Rob gets the big, atheletic target that he needs. GO BLUE!!!


Wed, Aug 1, 2012 : 10:45 p.m.

is he truly a "next level"candidate?


Fri, Jul 27, 2012 : 7:35 p.m.

But can he catch the ball while being covered by an athletic physical cornerback? Can he take a hit in full stride? All to be seen. Go blue.


Sat, Jul 28, 2012 : 5:43 a.m.

Jumping 7' in the air, huh? I'd love to see that video.


Fri, Jul 27, 2012 : 8:14 p.m.

DG camped at MICHIGAN the summer before he started his freshman year and i think there is video of him (or at least pictures of him) playing WR during camp. he caught everything thrown his way and one picture shows him jumping about 7' or better in the air to catch one while being guarded by a defensive player. YES he can jump and he can catch! GO BLUE!!!


Fri, Jul 27, 2012 : 7:20 p.m.

Mark Dantonio switched Keith Nichol from back up QB to reciever and he worked out well for Sparty. Just making a comparison. This is a good move. It seems Russel Bellomy is worthy of getting some meaningful snaps during a football game. Perhaps, Devin would have slid to onumber 3 on QB depth chart. He might climb the depth chart as a reciever. Obviously, Devin must have performed quite well in practice for Hoke and Borges to let the cat out of the bag. It will be fun to watch.


Fri, Jul 27, 2012 : 7:13 p.m.

Reserve the #1 jersey for his senior year!


Wed, Aug 1, 2012 : 10:47 p.m.

don't think so


Sat, Jul 28, 2012 : 5:42 a.m.

Well, he'll be the starting QB his senior year, so if you want to give the #1 to a QB, sure.


Fri, Jul 27, 2012 : 11:45 p.m.

Don't you mean JR ?

Irvine CA

Fri, Jul 27, 2012 : 6:36 p.m.

Yea, have Denard to throw on a fake reverse deep to Devin. Few teams can handle that.

Paul Lamse

Fri, Jul 27, 2012 : 11:45 p.m.

Zeeba, maybe because "You see what you look for."


Fri, Jul 27, 2012 : 8:22 p.m.

Sure they can, the way Shoestring underthrows the ball. I can't recall that I've ever seen him hit his man in stride on a deep route.


Fri, Jul 27, 2012 : 6:04 p.m.

Fantastic news. this solves our receiving woos. Size, speed, great hand, and runs with the grace of a gazelle. it was pointless to have this kind of talent sitting the sidelines. he can back up Denard and do it while he's playing.


Sat, Jul 28, 2012 : 5:41 a.m.

Size, speed... but great hands? How many passes have you seen him catch?


Fri, Jul 27, 2012 : 6:22 p.m.

I agree whole heart Scott.


Fri, Jul 27, 2012 : 5:58 p.m.

If he's going to be a receiver, who's gonna be quarterbacking Sept 8th?


Sat, Jul 28, 2012 : 5:06 p.m.

Ya that's what sec fans are know for, their wit. Ha


Sat, Jul 28, 2012 : 5:10 a.m.

I think it's funny how SEC gets everyone's goat by saying things that are intended to do just that. He knows good and well Denard will be the QB on Sept 8. Look at his history...all of his posts are similarly over the top.


Sat, Jul 28, 2012 : 1:35 a.m.

@Paul. Very Good. I like that one!


Sat, Jul 28, 2012 : 1:35 a.m.

sorry. Forgot my audience (that's people to whom you are talking). I'll use very small words from now on and define all words with more than two syllables (that's words with more than two units...never mind...ya'll will never get that one).

Paul Lamse

Fri, Jul 27, 2012 : 11:44 p.m.

"He who thinks himself a wit, is usually half right." Just saying.

Billy Bob Schwartz

Fri, Jul 27, 2012 : 10:44 p.m.

SEC... Do you know what witty means? Come on. That's all I'm saying, because every time I'm honest about your comments I get censored.


Fri, Jul 27, 2012 : 7:51 p.m.

yes. I realize this. It was a "witty" reference to playing 'Bama on Sep 1st...and Mr. Robinson not being able to play afterwards...


Fri, Jul 27, 2012 : 6:14 p.m.

You do realize Devin Gardner isn't Denard Robinson. Two different people.


Fri, Jul 27, 2012 : 5:18 p.m.

I like this decision by Coach Hoke. Devin is an athlete and to utilize him this way just plain makes sense to this fan. It will be fun to watch and Devin just might be a diamond in the rough. By game two or three Devin could very well be a holy terror on the field for Michigan. Devin could be a holy terror on the field in game 1.


Fri, Jul 27, 2012 : 5:17 p.m.

This is not a surprise to me. It makes perfect sense. he becomes the Wolverines best receiver instantly on an already thin group.


Sat, Jul 28, 2012 : 5:02 p.m.

We do know that he can catch. He's been doing a great job of it all spring. Of course, these things have a tendency to become more difficult in actual game situations -- that should go without saying -- but based on his performance versus the other receivers on the team it looks like he's gonna be pretty good. The best receiver on the team? I'm not sure about that, but you never know!


Sat, Jul 28, 2012 : 5:39 a.m.

Instantly? Do we even know if he can catch? Because that's kinda important for a receiver.


Fri, Jul 27, 2012 : 5:13 p.m.

great move. i can't wait to see a DR to DG bomb this fall!! GO BLUE!!


Fri, Jul 27, 2012 : 5:10 p.m.

good size, good hands, good speed and he can jump. . . good god he is going to be fun to watch!! GO BLUE!!!


Fri, Jul 27, 2012 : 5:04 p.m.

This proves Michigan needs to start recruiting very tall wideouts. Why is it we keep recruiting short guys with mediocre speed? I believe Devin will make a very strong reputation for himself as a receiver in spite of all the new guys being added to the roster. Russell Bellomy is by far the better back-up QB, so this move makes a great deal of sense. It might even be time to move Denard Robinson to tail-back or perhaps wideout as well (as his ability to pass is not all that awesome). With Fitz Toussaint potentially out of the line-up changes will have to be made.


Sat, Jul 28, 2012 : 2:27 a.m.

thanks paul. . . iam thinking DG he was posting DR. my bad! GO BLUE!!!

Paul Lamse

Fri, Jul 27, 2012 : 11:41 p.m.

Actually, UMGO, Brian was referring to a comment about moving Denard (not Devin). Sigh.


Fri, Jul 27, 2012 : 9:42 p.m.

brian. . . you must be "some people" because they are moving him to "WR" not "RB" SIGH!! GO BLUE!!!


Fri, Jul 27, 2012 : 7:15 p.m.

"Ignorant" is a far more precise term for the idiotic idea of Moving Denard to RB than Fatuous. Some people just do not understand football. Sigh.


Fri, Jul 27, 2012 : 6:11 p.m.

The idea of moving Denard away from QB is (what's a nice word) fatuous.


Fri, Jul 27, 2012 : 6:08 p.m.

They have tried to get tall guys with great speed but have been unsuccessful to date. there are very few guys like that available each year. Maybe 4 or 5 guys in the whole country each year.


Fri, Jul 27, 2012 : 6:06 p.m.

Name one short receiver on Michigan's entire football roster that has mediocre speed. There isn't a single one. Don't comment on something you know nothing about.


Fri, Jul 27, 2012 : 6 p.m.



Fri, Jul 27, 2012 : 5:21 p.m.

Well we dont keep recruiting short guys with mediocre speed. Last 2 classes Chesson is 6'3 Darboh is 6'2 York is 6'3 Dukes is 6'4 and the hopeful Treadwell is 6'3