News broke on Thursday that Michigan quarterback Joe Milton was entering the transfer portal. He was the team’s starter this past season, and the graduate transfer will still have three years of eligibility remaining.
His departure brought up an interesting conversation about Jim Harbaugh, though. The 57-year-old head coach has been in Ann Arbor since 2015. And looking back, he does not have a good track record of recruiting — and developing — quarterbacks.
In fact, the track record is pretty terrible.
Anthony Broome with Maizen Blue was the one to point it out on Twitter. Here are the high school quarterbacks Harbaugh has brought in:
- 2015: Zach Gentry (moved to tight end)
- 2016: Brandon Peters (transferred)
- 2017: Dylan McCaffrey (transferred)
- 2018: Joe Milton (transferred)
- 2019: Cade McNamara
- 2020: Dan Villari (last-minute replacement)
- 2021: J.J. McCarthy
Jim Harbaugh's QB signees at Michigan:
2015: Zach Gentry (moved to tight end)
2016: Brandon Peters (transferred)
2017: Dylan McCaffrey (transferred)
2018: Joe Milton (transferred)
2019: Cade McNamara
2020: Dan Villari (last-minute replacement)
2021: J.J. McCarthy
— Anthony Broome (@anthonytbroome) February 18, 2021
There’s also Alex Malzone from the 2015 class whom Broome didn’t mention — mostly because he was a holdover commit from the previous staff. And guess what? He also transferred out, landing at Miami (Ohio) back in 2018.
We still don’t know about a few of the guys on the list, but early indications aren’t great. Granted, bringing in Ole Miss transfer Shea Patterson played a role in how things went, but even the successful, former five-star guy lacked development under Harbaugh.
Here are the recruiting rankings for those eight names above, according to 247Sports:
- Zach Gentry: 4-star / No. 174 overall / No. 8 PS-QB
- Alex Malzone: 4-star / No. 299 overall / No. 14 PS-QB
- Brandon Peters: 4-star / No. 61 overall / No. 6 PS-QB
- Dylan McCaffrey: 4-star / No. 123 overall / No. 5 PS-QB
- Joe Milton: 4-star / No. 204 overall / No. 9 PS-QB
- Cade McNamara: 4-star / No. 268 overall / No. 7 PS-QB
- Dan Villari: 3-star / No. 42 PS-QB
- J.J. McCarthy: 5-star / No. 26 overall / No. 2 PS-QB
McCarthy is obviously the most talented of the bunch, so we’ll have to see how he looks under Harbaugh before passing a final judgment. But guys, there’s some decent talent there. Six different four-star signal callers, all but one of whom were top 10 at their position.
None of them have developed into a consistent, quality quarterback — at least not yet. McNamara did throw five touchdowns and zero interceptions in four games this season, but the jury is still out on him as well.
Harbaugh has not delivered. No College Football Playoff appearances, a winless record against Ohio State and more. And why? Well, we now know a lack of proper quarterback development has played a factor.
There’s going to be a ton of pressure on McCarthy to succeed. It’s time. Michigan fans deserve better.
Follow Clint Lamb on Twitter @ClintRLamb.