It's official: QB Rudock will play for Michigan

Angelique S. Chengelis
The Detroit News

Michigan's quarterback competition will get more interesting now that Iowa transfer Jake Rudock, a two-year starter, has officially joined the Wolverines.

The addition of Rudock, who will be a graduate student and can immediately compete this fall for his final year of eligibility, was announced by Michigan in a release Thursday night.

Michigan had three scholarship quarterbacks participating in spring practice that concluded last Saturday — junior Shane Morris, the only returning quarterback with experience who coach Jim Harbaugh said emerged as the leader, redshirt freshman Wilton Speight and early enrollee freshman Alex Malzone. Zach Gentry, a freshman, will compete in fall camp, and John O'Korn, a transfer from Houston, will not be eligible this season but can practice with the team.

Rudock, who brings two seasons of experience as a starter, was given a "no strings attached" release from Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz last month. Graduate players can transfer to any school and be immediately eligible to play, but intra-conference transfers in the Big Ten typically must sit a season, graduate or not. The Big Ten waived the transfer rule for Rudock.

In his two years as Iowa's starter, threw for 4,819 yards, 34 touchdowns and 18 interceptions. The 6-foot-3, 208-pounder took a pre-med curriculum and was academic All-Big Ten the last two years. He is a product of the very successful high school football program at St. Thomas Aquinas in south Florida.

"I've known Jake for a long time, since 2011, and I am excited to be a part of the staff that is now coaching him," Jedd Fisch, Michigan's pass game coordinator and quarterbacks/receivers coach, said in the release.

"I think that Jake brings great maturity and experience to the program. He has 25 starts under his belt in the Big Ten and a winning record of 15-10. All of that, combined with the quarterbacks we currently have in the program and all the skill we are surrounding him with, we are excited about the things Jake can do for our program."

Last season, Rudock threw for 2,436 yards, 16 touchdowns and five interceptions and ranked second in the Big Ten in completion percentage (61.7 percent). Michigan's offense has struggled the last two seasons, and last year had 18 interceptions to 10 touchdowns.

Earlier this year, Iowa released a depth chart that had quarterback C.J. Beathard ahead of Rudock as the starter heading into spring practice. Rudock apparently took the hint and indicated his desire to transfer for his final year of eligibility.

Rudock will graduate this spring from Iowa with a degree in interdepartmental studies/multidisciplinary sciences. He will pursue a master's degree in movement science in Michigan's School of Kinesiology.

George Smith, the longtime coach at St. Thomas Aquinas in Fort Lauderdale, where Rudock, and also O'Korn played, praised Rudock last month in an interview. Rudock was Broward County Player of the Year as a senior in 2011 and led Aquinas to national title.

"He started 30 games for us, he was two-year starter as a junior and senior," Smith told The News. "He holds a bunch of records, he's extremely smart. He was a backup in 2008 when we won our first national championship and was our quarterback when we won another.

"We played at Paul Brown Stadium, at Ohio State and at Cowboys Stadium, so he's been in big venues, and obviously played at Iowa. We have 12 kids on NFL rosters, more than any high school in the country, so he's been around those types of players here and in college. He's a very intelligent young man, quiet, soft-spoken, and a tremendous leader."

During the 2013 season, Rudock quarterbacked Iowa to a 24-21 win over Michigan at Kinnick Stadium. Rudock was 19-of-30 for 239 yards and had three interceptions, one that was returned for a touchdown, and two touchdowns.

achengelis@detroitnews.com

twitter.com/chengelis