He was once known as the quarterback Jim Harbaugh chewed out on HBO. Now Wilton Speight is known as the guy who stayed at Michigan — and thrived.
At one point during camp before the 2015 season, Speight’s redshirt freshman campaign, he was the fifth-string quarterback. He talked to his parents about the situation and they agreed into looking to a transfer. Speight’s father even started reaching out to other schools.
One night at camp, Speight told teammates about his intent and then went to sleep. The next morning, he talked about it with WR Drake Harris and then started to give it more thought.
“I woke up in the dorms during camp and Drake Harris was my roommate, and I told a bunch of my teammates that I was out,” Speight said while speaking with reporters Tuesday. “Then I woke up the next morning and Drake was like, ‘are you sure, are you sure?’
“It was serious, but that’s all in the past.”
Speight said "wheels were in motion" to leave UM pic.twitter.com/cJiiDiUpwV
— angelique (@chengelis) November 8, 2016
In the end, Speight gave it another week. By camp’s end, he moved from fifth to second string behind Jake Ruddock. Now firmly entrenched as the Wolverines’ starting quarterback, Speight quipped Tuesday that he knew if he stayed, he would be the best-coached fifth-string quarterback in the country.
Still, he says he was serious about the idea. “The wheels were in motion,” Speight said, adding that North Carolina State was a possibility. His grandfather played basketball there.
And try as he might, he wasn’t able to entirely keep his thoughts about transferring a secret from coaches.
“(Quarterbacks) coach (Jedd) Fisch, he knew he had a sense about it,” Speight said.
Speight has since talked with Harbaugh about his past transfer thoughts. Not surprisingly, Speight said Harbaugh is glad he didn’t decide to leave, adding, his head coach “was a little surprised. He knew I wasn’t in good standing with some coaches.”
Speight has completed 149 of 231 for 2,053 yards with 15 touchdowns and 3 interceptions for the Wolverines, who are unbeaten at 9-0 and sitting at No. 3 in the newest College Football Playoff rankings. Michigan visits Iowa for an 8 p.m. ET kickoff Saturday on ABC.
— Michigan On BTN (@MichiganOnBTN) November 8, 2016
Land of 10’s Rachel Lenzi contributed to this report