Sexy vs Stable: Who Will Be Michigan’s Starting Quarterback in 2016?

The 2016 Michigan football season officially kicks off in just over two weeks and, like last year, the starting quarterback is unknown. However, this year’s quarterback cast has a bit of a twist compared to last.

Last year, Jake Rudock had both the experience and stableness while Shane Morris was the sexier name with, what was thought to be, the higher ceiling. As for this year, the quarterback battle features Wilton Speight as the safer, less experienced option while the wild card role features John O’Korn, who happens to have plenty of accolades and hype.

Going into the offseason, almost everyone expected O’Korn to run away with the starting job in the spring after every report from last fall hyped him up as the best quarterback on the roster. But someone forgot to tell Speight that fun tidbit.

Though the big east coaster only has 25 pass attempts in his career, all coming last season in clean up duty during blowouts or Rudock injuries, he’s taken his game to the next level this offseason. Starting in the spring, where most believe O’Korn would be the day one #1, it was Speight who was taking the majority of first team reps and was the first QB taken in the spring game draft, in which he lead his team to victory

But O’Korn isn’t going down without a fight.

The Houston transfer, who has 619 pass attempts in his collegiate career, played well in the spring game and took the momentum into the summer. He participated and shared the QB Challenge title at the Manning Passing Academy with Southern Mississippi’s Nick Mullens.

With great offseasons, both players were feeling confident heading into fall camp and, according to Jim Harbaugh, both Speight and O’Korn (along with Shane Morris) have performed well so far:

But, like with every camp interview, you have to take the coach’s comments with a grain of salt. He’s not trying to tip his hand as both Speight and O’Korn bring very different styles to the position.

  • Speight is the stable choice. He may not light the world on fire and definitely didn’t do that in his short time on the field in 2015. But when you have a defense and offensive weapons like he has, it’s not necessary. However, big throws and gutsy plays each week will be needed if Michigan is going to win a Big Ten championship and have a shot at a National Championship.
  • O’Korn is the sexy choice. He was the 2013 AAC Freshmen of the Year after throwing for 28 touchdowns and more than 3,100 yards. His ability to make plays with his feet and go for the big play whenever possible reminds me a bit of Jim Harbaugh. However, his gunslinger mentality can get him in trouble. He was benched at Houston after throwing an interception every 11.1 passes his sophomore season.

So, who has the edge?

According to every Michigan insider, there isn’t much separation between the two quarterbacks at this point. However, there’s been more positive mentions of Speight than anyone else, including Scout’s Allen Trieu who heard Speight was the best QB at Tuesday’s practice ($). TMI’s Sam Webb also mentioned how the big man has been “more controlled” than O’Korn thus far, though he needs to be more aggressive, like O’Korn ($).

At this point, though his ceiling is not as high, I’m sticking with my pre-camp prediction of Wilton Speight being named starting quarterback against Hawaii. It’s a very close call because of O’Korn’s big play ability and experience but if he can’t take care of the ball, I see the staff going stable over sexy when it’s all said and done.

So, who do you think will get the nod vs the Rainbow Warriors? Let us know in the comment section below! 

Photo Credit: Rick Osentoski/USA TODAY Sports-Tony Ding/Associated Press

Garrett Fishaw

Marketing Manager and Communications Director by day, Owner and Managing Editor of MGoFish.com by night. Detroit resident. Played soccer and graduated from Seton Hill University.