Jim Harbaugh was looking for help at the quarterback position immediately after arriving in Ann Arbor to be the next coach of the Michigan football program.
Despite already having three scholarship quarterbacks on the roster this spring, Harbaugh was looking for more and it appears the Wolverines found it in the form of former Iowa signal caller Jake Rudock.
Wednesday afternoon, Bruce Feldman of FOX Sports reported the Big Ten had approved Michigan’s waiver request to allow Rudock to transfer within the conference and be eligible right away for one final season.
“I think what makes him attractive to Michigan is that he’s started 10 times more games than anyone on the roster,” said Allen Trieu, national director of scouting for Scout.com. “The experience factor of playing in the Big Ten, some big games and providing another body.”
“The fact that he’s already coming in with some polish behind him is what made him an attractive option,” added Trieu.
Rudock’s four-year career at Iowa was riddled with up and down performances, ultimately losing his starting job as a senior.
In his first full season as the starter for the Hawkeyes in 2013, Rudock threw for 2,383 yards with 18 touchdowns to 13 interceptions.
In 2014, Rudock completed just shy of 62-percent of his pass attempts with 2,436 yards, 16 touchdowns and just five interceptions.
“I’d categorize him as a guy that rarely would make big mistakes and he took good care of the football, especially last year he threw just five interceptions on 345 attempts,” Trieu said.
“That speaks to progression for a guy who was a starter his junior year. I wouldn’t categorize him as a superstar, he was a good, solid player at Iowa and that’s what he was. He had a few games where he exploded a little bit but in general, especially in their offense, he wasn’t a guy that was going to light up the stat sheet every week.”
Since Harbaugh’s arrival and subsequent search for other quarterbacks, a narrative was created insinuating there was disappointment or even dislike when it came to the ability of Morris, Speight and Malzone.
But as Ohio State found out in 2014, quarterbacks -- plural -- are key to team success and without the proper amount of depth, the Buckeyes may not be national champions.
“He had pursued other guys before even ever seeing any of the guys on the roster,” Trieu said. “They hadn’t had a practice yet before he brought O’Korn on, Gentry and had been talking to Rudock for a while. I don’t know that it says anything about the guys that he has other than he knows they haven’t played much.
“I think he realizes it’s important to have a stockpile cause it’s a position you can’t have a lack of depth at. He wanted to foster competition at a place where he likes competition.
And with Rudock added the competition at quarterback, Trieu believes it’ll remain just that heading into fall camp -- a competition.
“I don’t know that the starting job is his or been handed to him,” Trieu said. “He’s going to have to compete but he brings something different to the table with his age and experience in the conference.”
The other quarterback that will be eligible to compete for the starting job this fall is freshman and New Mexico native Zach Gentry.
Although it’s clear the other four quarterbacks ahead of him hold an advantage based on time with the coaches on the practice field, or in Rudock’s case on field experience, a late arriving freshman has stolen the job before.
“It’s difficult but its not impossible nor unheard of,” Trieu said. “Guys have done it. I think you’ve got to take in a lot and you’ve got to get to know the playbook, earn the trust of your teammates and coaches and then it depends a little bit on situation too.
“In the past, where it happened with Chad Henne, there was an injury and he ended up getting thrown in there. You look at a guy like Kyle Allen (at Texas A & M), it took some injuries and breaks before he was put in as the starter as a true freshman.
“Looking at where Gentry is coming from and knowing he’s more of a raw guy, he’s got more of an uphill battle to climb unlike Malzone.”