Sports

First-year Michigan coach Sherrone Moore might display some of his QB options in spring game

Posted at 7:19 AM, Apr 19, 2024

Sherrone Moore will have a lot of big decisions to make in his first season as Michigan's coach, leading the defending national champions after Jim Harbaugh bolted to coach the Los Angeles Chargers.

Who he chooses to start at quarterback will be a closely watched issue this season.

Moore has a lot of options, including the speedy Alex Orji and experienced Jack Tuttle. Like a savvy coach, and not one in his first year, he dodged a question about whether the job could be shared.

“We’ll see,” he said with a grin.

Fans will get their first look at Moore's choices under center when the Wolverines wrap up spring ball Saturday at Michigan Stadium.

J.J. McCarthy, who skipped his senior year to enter the NFL draft, led Michigan to its first national title since 1997 and a third straight Big Ten crown.

He leaves big cleats to fill.

Orji, Tuttle and Jayden Denegal each took snaps in six games last season and Davis Warren appeared in three games, playing sparingly as a McCarthy backup.

The 6-foot-3, 236-pound Orji was used as a running threat at times last season, including in the national championship game when he had two carries for 15 yards and when he had a 20-yard run to help the Wolverines beat rival Ohio State for a third straight year. Overall, he had 15 carries for 86 yards and a score.

“Obviously, a freak athlete,” Moore said. “Running the football is what he really has that is a different element from the other guys we’ve seen in the past, but it’s not like he can’t throw. He can and he’s throwing pretty well.”

Tuttle, who turns 25 this month, has the most experience in the group. He is entering his sixth season of college football and second year at Michigan after throwing passes in four seasons at Indiana.

“Uncle Jack, they call him,” Moore said. “A guy that’s played a lot of football. He’s got a great arm, great ability to run, can be a dual-threat guy, but also very cerebral in the pocket.”

While Orji did not attempt a pass last year, Tuttle was 15 of 17 for 130 yards with a touchdown.

The 6-5 Denegal was 4 of 5 for 50 yards and a touchdown.

“Probably more of a pocket passer,” Moore said.

The 6-2, 195-pound Warren didn't complete any of his five passes last season, and had an interception.

“A little bit smaller in stature, but very cerebral with a good arm,” Moore said.

Jaydyn Davis, a four-star recruit, enrolled early as a freshman to help his adjustment to college on and off the field this spring.

“Very excited about him,” Moore said. “He’s picked up stuff super fast, but you never know with a freshman. So we’ll see, but he has all the abilities.”

Michigan's quarterback will have the added challenge of playing behind an offensive line without a returning starter.

The Wolverines will have a dynamic running back, Donovan Edwards, and tight end, Colston Loveland, to take some pressure off their new quarterback.

Michigan's defense will be led by perhaps the best pair of tackles on a college football team, Mason Graham and Kenneth Grant, up front and All-Big Ten cornerback Will Johnson on the back end.