Jim Harbaugh Eager to Watch Jake Rudock Compete as a Wolverine
Somebody still stands in the way of Jake Rudock being a starting quarterback next season.
Playing the new role of C.J. Beathard is Michigan junior Shane Morris, who ended spring practice earlier this month on top of the depth chart.
Whether he stays there will depend a lot on Rudock, who will graduate from Iowa this spring and then transfer to Michigan for his senior season. Rudock will be eligible immediately as a graduate student.
“I expect him to be very good competition,” Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh said of Rudock Thursday on the Big Ten teleconference. “An experienced player who is hungry to compete. I think it’ll be good for him. First of all, it’s really good for him academically. I think it’s very good for him athletically in terms of the opportunity to compete for a role, whether that be a starting role – I know that’s where his goals are aligned, and I’m excited to watch it go down.”
Thursday’s teleconference marked the first time Harbaugh has commented publicly about Rudock’s decision to transfer from Iowa to Michigan.
A starter in 25 of the last 26 games at Iowa, Rudock decided to transfer after being passed on the depth chart by Beathard shortly after the 2014 season. Rudock’s demotion came less than a week after Iowa’s 45-28 loss to Tennessee in the TaxSlayer Bowl on Jan. 2 in Jacksonville, Fla.
Rudock passed for 4,819 yards and 34 touchdowns as a Hawkeye. He was 14-11 as a starter and started in two bowl games.
Rudock started in the TaxSlayer Bowl, but Beathard, who will be a junior next season, started the second half and took a majority of the snaps in the game.
Rudock visited the Michigan campus in Ann Arbor last month. His transfer request was approved by the Big Ten’s academics and eligibility subcommittee on April 1.
Michigan officials confirmed Rudock’s transfer on April 9, saying in a release that Rudock would pursue a master’s degree in movement science.
As for Morris, he was a four-star recruit who had multiple scholarship offers in high school, including one from Alabama. The Hazel Park, Mich., native chose to stay home to play for Michigan, but so far his college career has been uneventful as a backup.
Morris, a 6-foot-3, 209-pound southpaw, is probably known mostly for being left in a game last season against Minnesota despite suffering a blow to the head that left him stumbling on the field.
Morris completed 11-of-24 passes for 135 yards, a touchdown and an interception in Michigan’s spring game on April 4.
Harbaugh, who was hired as the Michigan coach in late December, said after the spring game that Morris had made strides with his touch as a passer.
“I think there’s been improvement there,” said Harbaugh, a former Michigan and NFL quarterback. "I see improvement that way, and understanding (the importance) of completions. Throwing balls that can be caught. There’s been improvement there.”