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Harbaugh: Rudock 'hungry to compete' for No. 1 job

Angelique S. Chengelis
The Detroit News
Jake Rudock

Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh, appearing Thursday on the Big Ten's spring football conference call, said transfer quarterback Jake Rudock will bring an added component to the competition for the starting job.

Clearly, Rudock is the most experienced of the group after starting for Iowa the last two seasons. Rudock, who was demoted on the Iowa depth chart that was released in January, joined Michigan last week as a graduate transfer who will have one year of eligibility.

Rudock threw for 2,436 yards last season and had 16 touchdowns and five interceptions at Iowa. He ranked No. 2 in the Big Ten in completion percentage (61.7 percent).

He will this fall join a competition at Michigan that includes junior Shane Morris, deemed by Harbaugh the frontrunner coming out of spring practice, redshirt freshman Wilton Speight, early enrollee freshman Alex Malzone and incoming freshman Zach Gentry. John O'Korn also has transferred to Michigan from Houston but must sit out this season.

"I expect there will be very good competition," Harbaugh said Thursday. "(He's) an experienced player who is hungry to compete. First of all, it's really good for him academically and very good for him athletically in terms of the opportunity to compete for a role, whether that be a starting role. I think that's where his goals are aligned.

"I'm excited to watch it go down."

Harbaugh said he did not have contact with Iowa before deciding to sign Rudock, although the university did. Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz had signed Rudock's transfer papers with "no strings attached." He also said Rudock never suggested he wouldn't have an opportunity to compete for the starting job at Iowa this fall, although C.J. Beathard had moved ahead on the depth chart.

With the limited amount of experience at quarterback – Morris started two games during his career – Harbaugh was asked how important it was to bring in a quarterback like Rudock.

"How important? It's good for our program," Harbaugh said. "I don't have a percentage or measure of it."

Graduate punter Blake O'Neill also officially joined the Wolverines from Weber State, and they are awaiting the arrival of Stanford cornerback Wayne Lyons.