The Shane Morris era of Michigan football may start sooner than most Wolverine fans were expecting.
Morris, who was ranked as a 4-star recruit according to the 247Sports Composite rankings—which factors in star rankings from all the major recruiting outlets—has played in three games this season, but his appearances have been brief.
Ever since committing to Michigan, he has been viewed as the future of the program and the future of the Wolverines’ pro-style offense; but with Devin Gardner at the helm until further notice, that future would have to wait.
With Gardner dealing with a foot injury and unable to practice though, it’s being reported that Morris will most likely start for Michigan in its upcoming bowl game against Kansas State. Here’s Brady Hoke per Nick Baumgardner of MLive.com
“I would think, if anything, Shane would start the game and then we’d go from there,” Hoke said when asked what percentage chance he’s giving Gardner to play in the game.
So is Morris ready to be “the guy”?
His stats this year don’t do much to inspire confidence. He’s thrown for 65 yards and an interception this season on limited attempts, but those stats may be a bit misleading.
Coming into the 2013 recruiting season, he was arguably one of the most notable quarterbacks in the country. He displayed a big arm and brings a different element to the table being a left-handed quarterback. He’s athletic enough to move around in the pocket—though he’s no dual-threat—and at 6-foot-3, 201 pounds, he has all the physical tools you’re looking for.
Morris struggled in the Under Armour All-America game though, and his issues continued into the Elite 11 camp. His arm didn’t look as good as advertised at times and he had trouble with accuracy. His stock dropped and he went from a highly regarded 5-star to a pretty unanimous 4-star quarterback.
His “fall from grace” of sorts has been well documented in the recruiting community, but that can all change with a good performance in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl.
Despite his struggles and despite his poor, albeit limited, stats in 2013; I do think that Morris has displayed the physical tools to be a legitimate college football quarterback. If he can improve his accuracy and trust in his arm, he has what it takes to be successful.
With Gardner most likely out, Morris will get his chance to prove his doubters wrong this Saturday.