Michigan's John O'Korn discusses the ongoing quarterback competition this spring and moving forward.

Michigan junior John O'Korn is putting in the work to be U-M's starting quarterback this fall.

ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Being Michigan's starting quarterback means something. People know who you are. You get the glory. You get the criticism. It just comes with the territory. 

And so far, it’s anybody’s game.

But none of Michigan’s passers my be as intriguing as former Houston quarterback John O'Korn, who sat out last season due to NCAA transfer rules and is one of the frontrunners for this years starting job. 

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“It’s a lot of hard work,” O’Korn said on winning the job. “With the job comes great responsibility. It’s Michigan; there is a lot of hype around the quarterback position. The guy who is leading our team has been there before. Whoever comes out of this is going to lead this team and do great things this year. I think everyone of us would say that. We’ve been competing hard everyday.”

The road to Michigan, however, hasn’t been easy for O’Korn, who admits he didn’t participate in football activities his last six months at Houston before his eventual move to Michigan last summer. Instead he focused on his training and finishing up his full course load at Houston.

“I think anytime you spend time away from the game you appreciate it more,” O’Korn said. “I wasn’t on a team my last six months in Houston. I started to miss the little things that I didn’t realize I would miss.”

Adding: “Definitely been chomping at the bit. It’s been fun getting back out there and getting back up to speed. It’s been a good spring so far.”

This spring it’s apparent the quarterback job is wide open, too. 

On Saturday, U-M coach Jim Harbaugh said O’Korn, Shane Morris and Wilton Speight are bunched in order for the job, and O’Korn agrees.

“For me there is so many times where I’ll make a lot of strides and then one little mistake or big mistake,” O’Korn said. “I think all three of us would say the same thing. Somebody starts to separate himself, then a mistake happens and we’re back there right at even.

“I think that’s the nature of the competition. We’re all competing our butts off everyday and sometimes you have a good day, and sometimes you don’t. Sometimes a guy has an outstanding day and you make a mistake and brings you back down.”

O’Korn passed for 3,117 yards and 28 touchdowns as a freshman in 2013 at Houston, but completed only 52 percent of his passes with six touchdowns and eight interceptions in 2014 before losing his starting job after five games.

So he knows a thing or two about good and bad experiences, but ultimately he looks to his past experience at Houston on why he thinks he will win the job this fall

“I think it’s going to me because I think I have the ability to lead this team,” O’Korn said. “I think I have experience at the starting position. I think there is no substitute for experience.

“I had a lot of great experiences my freshman year. And I had some bad experiences my sophomore year. Just because they were bad at the time, I kind of appreciate them now. You learn from them and turn those mistakes into triumphs, into victories.”


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