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Can Michigan Wolverines Use Spring Game to Calm Uncertainty?


Michigan Wolverines
© Junfu Han / USA TODAY NETWORK

The 2024 University of Michigan Wolverines spring game is approaching fast and uncertain about what this team might be. Michigan because of the number of changes that took place over the offseason has their fans ready to see what coach Sherrone Moore’s team has to offer.  Coming off their first National Championship since 1997 Michigan football had anything but a usual offseason for defending champs.



Former head coach Jim Harbaugh left for the NFL and took many of his top assistant coaches.  Moore who took over did a good job in hiring a new staff while also keeping most of the key players out of the portal.  Now with the spring game almost here, two glaring questions need to be answered.  One comes on the field with a key position group and the other comes off the field with how Moore will handle talent acquisition. 


Michigan lost last year's starting quarterback JJ McCarthy to the NFL draft, a move that came as no surprise after taking home the ultimate prize.  Moore must find his replacement in the most important position on the field.  Moore, as a first-time head coach, will have his first critical decision to make when it comes to on-field moves.  Moore has a few QBs on the roster, but most believe the two front runners are Alix Orgi and Jayden Denegal.  Since Moore has taken over the recruiting trail commitment announcements have grown silent and have most Michigan fans growing worried by the day.


 

Who will be QB1


Orgi who saw some playing time last year in big moments was a run-only option, considering he has not thrown a pass in a game since the 2022 season, and he only attempted 1 that season.  At 6-foot-3 and 236lbs Orji has the size and athletic ability to make plays, last year he totaled 15 carries for 86 yards and a 1 TD.  Orgi will be looking to prove that he can also make plays with his arm in spring practice and it's something fans will be monitoring.  If Orgi can show a consistent ability to hit his intermediate throws (1-20 yards) Moore might have the QB he needs to contend for the fourth Big 10 Championship in a row. 



Jayden Denegal looks to be the biggest threat for Orgi to win the starting job in 2024.  Denegal at 6-foot-5 and 235lbs has the size to play the position for the Wolverines.  Most believe that Denegal is more of a pocket passer, something Moore might be looking for, but he does have the ability to take off if necessary.  Last season Denegal was able to see the field 4 times in cleanup duty, in those games he went 4-5 for 50 yards and 1 touchdown he also had 4 carries for 10 yards.


Long Shot


Considered to be a game manager Jack Tuttle who was the backup to JJ last year might look to change the narrative and take the starting spot.  Tuttle is the most experienced out of everyone inside the QB room, after being granted a 7th year of eligibility by the NCAA. Tuttle has more experience throwing the ball in one game than the other two combined in their careers at Michigan not to mention the 16 games Tuttle started at the position when he was at Indiana.  Tuttle, who many have compared to Cada MaNamara in terms of being a game manager, will not wow you with unbelievable plays, but will control the game without big mistakes letting Moore lean on his defense to win games.


In the end, regardless of who ultimately wins the starting job, Moore must make the decision and get it right if he hopes to compete for another Big 10 championship.  And with the spring transfer window opening on the 16th could Moore look to find a better option somewhere else that will give the first-year head coach a better chance to win games?


 

Talent Acquisition For Michigan Wolverines


Moore in his first few months as head coach has faced many tests and has been able to pass each test so far.  The biggest question that Moore has been unable to answer is on the recruiting trail and is the lack of getting players to commit to Michigan.  As this article is being written Michigan currently only has 3 hard commitments, two four-star and one 3-star, and according to On3 Michigan ranks 22nd overall so far. 



Michigan, which was at the center of two NCAA investigations, is still waiting to find what the outcome will be. A narrative around social media has been, that this is why the lack of recruiting has taken place, as the hammer is about to come down.  Michigan fans have grown used to hearing about this, considering each week since October the hammer was going to drop but we are still waiting.   Regardless Moore will need a big weekend to show he can bring in top talent to compete, not just in the Big 10, but on a national level.


The spring game weekend will not only be big for proving Moore can get kids on campus but that he can close the deal and get them to commit to playing for Michigan.  Moore will also need a big weekend to put to rest the growing speculation that the lack of recruiting is due to the uncertainty around the penalties coming from the NCAA.


 

Moore and staff will have opportunities this weekend to show the Michigan fanbase and the college football world that they are here to stay. Harbaugh is gone and Moore must face the challenge and show he is the right man for the job.   This is just another step in proving he can continue the success that Michigan fans have become accustomed to over the past three years. 




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