Will Michigan Re-Focus QB Recruiting?

Has the sudden emergence of true freshman quarterback <b>Chad Henne</b> as the starter forced Michigan to re-examine its quarterback recruiting options for the class of 2005? It does appears the Wolverine staff is rekindling interest in QB prospects, is it too late?

In what was a shocking development to those not intimately associated at the top levels of the Michigan football program, Chad Henne took the field against Miami(OH) last Saturday as the starting quarterback for the Wolverines. An injury sustained by previously named starter Matt Gutierrez during practice elevated the true freshman Henne to the top spot only days before the Wolverine opener. The emergence of Henne was a surprise on several levels. Not only was he named the starter, but, by being so named, he notified the world he had won the back-up job over red-shirt freshman Clayton Richard. It appears Henne will also be the starter for this Saturday's game in South Bend against Notre Dame.

With Henne being thrust into the starting role he has effectively burned his red-shirt possibilities. Michigan now has four quarterbacks on their roster - 6th year senior Spencer Brinton, who was granted an extra year of eligibilty due to a shoulder injury sustained last season, red-shirt sophomore Gutierrez, along with Richard, and Henne. It had been reported throughout fall camp that the competition between the latter three for playing time had been fierce, with each player showing strengths in various areas.

Should Henne establish himself as the main signal caller after Gutierrez fully recovers, the question will then be what happens with Gutz and Richard. Will they eventually transfer? Either one could probably start on any one of a number of top division one programs. Lastly, what does Henne's elevation do to Michigan's quarterback recruiting for the class of 2005?

Michigan's top two quarterback prospects for this class, Robbie Schoenhoft from St. Xavier High School in Cincinnati, Ohio, and Evan Sharpley from Marshall, Mich. High School, committed to Ohio State and Notre Dame, respectively. Other Michigan targets considered longshots, including Mark Sanchez from Mission Viejo, Calif., Harrison Beck from Clearwater, Fla., and Ryan Perrlloux from Reserve, La. also committed elsewhere. This left the Wolverine staff with few serious remaining pure QB prospects.

The latest reports have Michigan now focusing on five-star athlete Antonio Bass from Jackson, Mich. for the QB position. Bass, the No. 3 rated quarterback in the country by TheInsiders, has never wavered from his desire to be the signal caller wherever he attends. Will the fact that Henne is now playing, thereby opening up future playing time not available if he used his red-shirt, affect Bass' decision and how Michigan is recruiting him? Bass returned from his trip to Virgnia Tech with a glowing report and the speculation is the Hokies offer the best chance for him to play quarterback. This, coupled with the recent developments at Michigan, create the opportunity for bass' recruitment to turn into a full-fledged war. Marcus Vick, starting quarterback for VAT until legal issues forced the Hokie staff to suspend him for the entire season, will have two years of eligibility remaining when, and if, he returns.

A report by TheInsiders' Andrew Friedman Wednesday night re-introduced a name familiar to Michigan fans from GoBlueWolverine Magazine's extensive coverage of the spring combine circuit. Four-star signal caller Jason Forcier from St. Augustine High School in San Diego, Calif. told Friedman that while Michigan had stopped recruiting him, "They are back recruiting me again." Forcier, the No. 11 quarterback prospect in the country according the TheInsiders, had the Wolverines on the top of his list throughout the spring and summer. The skinny on Forcier was all it would take for him to pull the trigger would be an offer from Michigan, which never materialized. The question now, are the Maize and Blue jumping back in the race too late for the 6 foot 2, 205-pound Forcier? "I don't know, he sounded like he really likes Utah," Friedman told GBW. "And with Colorado reportedly offering he has some interesting options. He didn't say whether Michigan had called after the Sept. 1 calling period began, but he has been getting a lot of mail recently from the Wolverines."

Friedman had one other interesting tidbit regarding their conversation, suggesting the Michigan staff has been in verbal contact with Forcier. "Jason said he felt the Michigan staff was pretty confident they'd get (Bass)," Friedman said. "He was unsure where that left him, but he seemed to be still interested in Michigan."

One other possibility might be No. 4 nationally ranked quarterback Jonathon Cromptom from Tuscola High School in Waynesville, N.C. Crompton pledged to Tennesse in June and there have been reports he may reconsider his commitment after a strong showing in the Vol's opener by their two freshman QB's. Michigan has offered the 6 foot 4, 216-pound hurler but look for this one to be the longest of shots. Crompton has reportedly denied all interview requests until after the Sept. 18 Florida-Tennessee game.

Be assured of one thing, GoBlueWolverine will keep you up to date with the latest and most accurate information available, so stay tuned.

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