Wilton Speight once had wheels in motion to leave Michigan
On Saturday, Jim Harbaugh said that Wilton Speight should be in the Heisman Trophy discussion.
That was after he set a Michigan record with 292 first-half passing yards in a rout of Maryland. It was a career day for a player who has been everything Harbaugh hoped he would be.
But it wasn’t long ago that Speight nearly punted on his Michigan career.
Before he beat out John O’Korn for the starting gig, Speight was buried on the depth chart. In the fall of 2015, graduate transfer Jake Rudock was likely pegged as the starter with O’Korn as the quarterback in waiting.
Speight admittedly read the stories about how he’d never become a starter at Michigan. The former Under Armour All-American talked to his dad and put the wheels were in motion to transfer.
Speight didn’t know where exactly he’d end up. He had family ties at NC State. All he knew was that he was set on telling Harbaugh that he was gone.
That is, until some teammates talked him out of it.
“I woke up in the dorms during camp, Drake Harris was my roommate and I had told a bunch of my teammates that I was out,” Speight said. “And Drake was like ‘are you sure, man, are you sure?’ I guess maybe Drake and Jake (Butt) talked me into it a little bit, to give it another week.”
Speight said “wheels were in motion” to leave UM pic.twitter.com/cJiiDiUpwV
— angelique (@chengelis) November 8, 2016
Michigan is happy he did.
Speight ended up getting into several games as Rudock’s unofficial backup last year. He then, of course, won one of the more hotly-contested quarterback battles in all of college football.
His tough love from Harbaugh paid dividends. His belief that Michigan wasn’t right for him eventually turned into belief that he could thrive as Harbaugh’s quarterback. That maturation has been obvious.
Nine starts under his belt and the coach that once buried him on the depth chart is now campaigning for him to win college football’s most-coveted award. Speight would likely have to have an incredible run to end the season just to be included in that discussion. The path is certainly unlikely.
But that’s something Speight is plenty familiar with.