On Tuesday night, Michigan offensive coordinator Tim Drevno said there was no leader in the U-M quarterback race this spring.
Now a new, experienced candidate will arrive in the fall.
Iowa’s Jake Rudock has decided to transfer to Michigan after receiving a waiver to transfer within the Big Ten and be eligible to play this season, according to a person with knowledge of the situation.
While it appears to be a formality at this point, as a graduate transfer, Rudock has to actually graduate before the move can be official. Iowa’s current semester ends May 15.
Rudock was at Iowa the past four years, starting for the Hawkeyes the past two, until last year’s TaxSlayer Bowl, when he was replaced by C.J. Beathard in the second quarter.
In January, Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz said that Beathard would be his quarterback moving forward. That led to Rudock seeking to play his fifth year elsewhere. Michigan had been looking for someone with experience. Ferentz announced last week that he had released Rudock with “no string attached” to go to another school.
The challenge was with the Big Ten, which has a rule stating that any intraconference transfer must sit out a year and lose a year of eligibility. The rule is Rule 15.01.5. Intraconference Transfer Rules. B. Post Matriculation.
“A student-athlete that has signed a tender from a Conference institution and has triggered transfer status per NCAA Bylaw 14.5.2 (conditions affecting transfer status), may not represent an alternate Big Ten institution in intercollegiate athletics competition until the individual has completed one (1) full academic year of residence at the alternate (i.e., certifying) Big Ten institution and shall be charged with the loss of one (1) season of eligibility in all sports.”
Rudock does not have such a year to spare, so that’s where the waiver entered.
Michigan opens its season on the road at Utah, and Rudock seems to fit what passing game coordinator Jedd Fisch wants: completed passes (Rudock was second in the Big Ten with a 61.7% completion percentage last year) and few mistakes (he led Big Ten QBs with only five interceptions.)
Fisch recruited Rudock out of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., when Fisch was Minnesota’s offensive coordinator in 2009.
“I’m comfortable, for sure, and there will be more guys that come in,” Fisch said of his quarterbacks March 10. “It’ll be a constant battle of competition, it’ll be a constant battle of trying to get better. As I told those guys, like Mark Cuban said, ‘Work every day like somebody is trying to take your job 24 hours a day.’ I want them to take that approach, to absolutely challenge each other every day to get the next guy better.”
Drevno said Tuesday that a quarterback could come in this summer and still win the job. He’ll compete with holdovers Shane Morris and Wilton Speight and true freshmen Alex Malzone and Zach Gentry.
“Anybody could; you do it all the time. In pro football, you do,” he said. “I experienced it last year; we started three true freshmen on the offensive line at USC. So that’s why, every day, you come out and have to compete at a high level.”
Mark Snyder is a reporter at the Detroit Free Press