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Michigan QBs, Onwenu, Gary impressive early in camp

Angelique S. Chengelis
The Detroit News
Wilton Speight

Ann Arbor — Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh is not ready to declare a starting quarterback after more than a week of preseason practices, but he did say the position group is well-prepared and improved.

Harbaugh said having a second year in the system has given the main contenders for the job, Wilton Speight and John O’Korn, an advantage this fall. He also praised quarterback Shane Morris.

"Right now, we’re playing better at that position than we were eight, nine days into camp last year,” Harbaugh said Monday night in Schembechler Hall after practice.

Harbaugh said he hasn’t seen fumbled snaps and mental errors.

He would not say whether the quarterback race has narrowed, instead offering an assessment of the three.

“Shane Morris is having a good camp,” Harbaugh said. “Wilton Speight is having an outstanding camp, John O’Korn is having a very good camp.

"Quarterback play has been really good in camp, right from the first day. Been very pleased with that. They’re completing balls, they’re running the team. They know what they’re doing. They’re competing at a good, high level. It’s been good.”

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Freshman Michael Onwenu (Cass Tech) has caught Harbaugh’s attention.

“He’s one of my favorites, doing a heck of a good job,” Harbaugh said.

Onwenu, a 6-foot-3, 350-pound offensive lineman, has been working on defense, too.

“He can be a contributor on either side of the ball. I think he’s that good,” Harbaugh said. “I really like him a lot.”

Harbaugh singled out several of the freshmen, including 6-5, 310-pound offensive lineman Ben Bredeson. He also mentioned defensive lineman Rashan Gary, the No. 1-rated high school recruit.

“Rashan Gary is a really good football player,” Harbaugh said.

Harbaugh isn’t ruling out playing several of the freshmen.

“Right now it’s competitive,” Harbaugh said. “I don’t see any of our older guys just giving their jobs away. I don’t see that happening, not through the nine practices. Not saying that for one minute. It’s still to be determined.

“They’re showing they’re on track to be either starters or backup players. It’s still to be determined. They have to do it over the course of the next couple weeks. It will be exciting to watch and some of them will and some of them won’t. The best players are going to play whoever they are, regardless of class.”

Injury update

Receiver Moe Ways, who broke a bone in his foot this spring, has been practicing.

“Doesn’t seem to have any ill effects from the injury he sustained in the spring,” Harbaugh said. “Not showing any signs of that.”

Twitter: @chengelis