Kevin Doyle is only a three-star recruit.
Sure, he plays for a high profile program in St. John’s College of Washington, D.C. Sure, he’s a quarterback, and a good one, too. Still a lack of stats and hype have left him a bit behind in the recruiting and analysis often used to drive true hype and attention.
On Sunday, Doyle committed to Michigan just days after receiving his offer.
On paper, Doyle doesn’t appear to be a surefire hit in Ann Arbor. He’s a late bloomer in football development, and while his junior year was solid, it’s been Doyle’s final prep season that has sold coaches like Harbaugh despite his class ranking. St. John’s College is currently just 2-2 on the season, but those two losses have both come on nail-biters against nationally-ranked foes. There was the ferocious comeback by California-legend Concord De La Sale (Mich.) and, even more so, the rally put together Friday by St. John Bosco.
Still, in both of those circumstances, Doyle was responsible for St. John;s building up a huge lead to begin with.
That big game moxie, combined with prototypical pocket passer size and above average intelligence, made Doyle a perfect fit for Jim Harbaugh’s Michigan system.
“It came up probably three weeks ago after my game on ESPN,” Doyle told Scout.com after his commitment. “We played [Concord (Calif.)] De La Salle on September 2nd and it was a tough loss, but we fought hard. Coach [Pep] Hamilton said he was watching the game and told Coach Harbaugh ‘we need to re-evaluate this Kevin Doyle, he’s a nice player.’ They re-watched the film, got in touch and and I got to go up with my teammate Quentin Johnson for the Air Force game. We spent a lot of time together and it was all positive.
“After watching our St. Joseph Regional game — they’re ranked No. 14 in the country — they started to take more interest in me. They offered me and I decided it was the best place for me.”
Naturally, there are other quarterbacks who will be in front of Doyle. He’ll have to fight his way on to the field. And from a depth and impact perspective, Doyle may seem like a throw-in for the Wolverines and nothing more.
Yet that forgets precisely how important the quarterback is in Harbaugh’s offensive system, even more so than in other systems. Harbaugh needs a passer he can trust both to make the right decision and then make the play.
He may have just found that in Doyle, football recruiting rankings be damned.