Jake Rudock could provide bridge for Michigan QBs

You know the old cliché. If you've got 10 starting quarterbacks, you haven't got any at all.

Jim Harbaugh and his staff at Michigan have spent their first two months on campus collecting quarterbacks at a feverish pace. This summer the group will hit double digits with the arrival of freshman Zach Gentry and former Houston starter John O'Korn. And they may not be done growing yet.

The Wolverines in the near future plan to host Jake Rudock, the former Iowa starter who battled C.J. Beathard for playing time throughout most of the 2014 season. Fox Sports first reported Rudock's desire to transfer and his upcoming visit to Michigan. Despite the already-congested competition, Rudock could be a worthwhile addition in Ann Arbor.

Rudock has 25 career starts at the college level, 23 more than the combined experience of all the Michigan quarterbacks eligible for the 2015 season. O'Korn started his entire rookie season and part of last year with Houston but has to sit out a season because he is switching schools before earning his degree. Graduate transfer rules will allow Rudock to play right away wherever he decides to go.

Adding another quarterback to the mix if needed doesn't seem to be a concern for Harbaugh.

“The more good ones you have the better,” he said when asked if the group of seven he wanted to watch at the start of the spring was pushing the limits of a productive practice.

Jedd Fisch, Michigan's passing game coordinator, said earlier this week that the top two priorities for whoever wins the starting job will be to avoid turnovers and to increase his completion percentage by taking what's given to him.

“You have to realize that your job is to be a point guard,” Fisch said. “Give assists. Give assists. Give assists. By doing that, that's completing passes. That's what we're really emphasizing with a lot of our guys.”

Those are lessons often best learned through experience. And experience is what the current crew at Michigan lacks more than anything else.

Rudock was far from an electric playmaker at Iowa, but he completed 61.7 percent of his passes last fall and threw only five interceptions in 345 attempts. That rate of 69 attempts per interception is better than the last guy to play quarterback for Harbaugh in college -- Andrew Luck. Shane Morris is the only player at Michigan this spring who has thrown in a game. He attempted 14 passes last fall and was picked on three of them.

Morris' sample size may not be fair, and there's no reason to believe he won't be able to improve. His rocket-powered left arm is filled with promise. College kids get better. A new coach, especially one who has been to a Pro Bowl and has a track record of developing others to follow in his footsteps, can help his players take big steps forward. Wilton Speight or one of the freshmen may also show that he is ready to play at an early age.

Harbaugh may already have what he needs at the position. He can wait until the end of spring practice to decide if more help is necessary under center. Heading into the summer, though, Rudock could be a valuable insurance policy at the crucial position. It will be hard for the Wolverines to make any kind of dramatic turnaround in Harbaugh's first season without a confident and competent starter at quarterback.

Rudock won't be the sexiest fifth-year pick-up in college football this year. He isn't going to provide a wow factor for Harbaugh's offense. But if Michigan decides it wants to add to its quarterback room once more this offseason, Rudock might be a perfect bridge to give the new coaching staff time to identify and develop its future at the position.