During the week, Land of 10 reporters following the Wolverines answer questions on the minds of Michigan fans. Submit a question or suggest a topic by sending a tweet here to Rachel Lenzi or here to Kevin Goheen. Check back Monday through Friday as we answer the Michigan Question of the Day. Go here to see our previous answers.
What are the chances that Dylan McCaffrey pulls an Elvis Grbac and vaults to the starting position this fall? — Rob Jablonski, via Twitter direct message
Dylan McCaffrey needs another year to prepare to take the reins of Michigan’s offense as a redshirt sophomore in 2019.
He has yet to play a game at Michigan. The media has no access to practices, so there’s no way to fully evaluate McCaffrey, who redshirted his freshman season. All we know about McCaffrey are his high school accomplishments and defensive coordinator Don Brown’s praise of his work with the scout team in December.
Given what little we know about McCaffrey, there’s no way to know if a vault to the top of Michigan’s quarterback hierarchy is actually possible, a la Elvis Grbac in 1989. We don’t know if McCaffrey can unseat Brandon Peters and dethrone Shea Patterson, and become Michigan’s starting quarterback.
Given Michigan’s emphasis on long-term development for its quarterbacks, 2018 won’t be McCaffrey’s year, unless something drastic happens, such as the NCAA denying Patterson’s eligibility waiver combined with an injury to Peters.
Nobody wants to see that happen, but it would be similar to what happened with Grbac in 1989, when Demetrius Brown was declared ineligible for the season and Grbac replaced an injured Michael Taylor against Notre Dame.
Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh told the Michigan Insider this week that four candidates (Patterson, Peters, McCaffrey and Joe Milton) have already made it a competition in winter conditioning. Harbaugh offered a bit of insight on McCaffrey.
“Dylan McCaffrey, you see a guy who was the scout team player of the year,” Harbaugh said. “He is getting stronger. When guys get stronger, no matter what position they play, they cut better, they move better. They have more confidence when they’re stronger. They’re just more sturdy, they’re faster and there’s this confidence that takes place where you see it over and over. I think he’s really going to benefit. He’s got the athleticism and everything that you look for in a quarterback, and it’s going to be exciting.”
Still, expect a Patterson-Peters competition for the starting job this season. WalterFootball.com projects Patterson as a 2019 NFL Draft pick, so don’t rush McCaffrey as he prepares for the fall of 2019. That will be McCaffrey’s time to claim his spot as Michigan’s starting quarterback.
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