Source: Iowa QB Rudock will transfer to U-M
Michigan's quarterback race added a major piece on Wednesday.
Iowa quarterback Jake Rudock, who was granted his release earlier this winter from the Hawkeyes, is expected to be a graduate transfer and play this fall, according to a person with knowledge of the situation.
Considering Rudock had to obtain a Big Ten waiver to avoid losing the year, the transfer was uncertain until the conference approved it.
But with two full years as a Big Ten starting quarterback and performing well in both years at Iowa, throwing the fewest interceptions (five) among a conference QB in 2014 and finishing second in completion percentage (61.7%), he fits the inexperienced Wolverines, who have no one who has started more than two games.
"Jake's a perfect candidate for the positon there, he's a gritty guy, a Big Ten guy," said Ken Mastrole, his private coach from near his Weston, Fla., home. "He knows the teams ins and out. It's a great situation because he's going to fit that system. He's definitely a guy that's going to provide so much knowledge and the nuances of the game."
Rudock, 6-foot-3, 208 pounds, brings the two primary traits that U-M passing game coordinator Jedd Fisch pointed out March 10 as essential for his quarterbacks: the ability to complete passes and to avoid turnovers.
Add in coach Jim Harbaugh's most appealing trait – intelligence -- and Rudock should be able to handle whatever the Wolverines need in his lone season in Ann Arbor.
"I hope he fits well, from what I know of their offense, he fits," said George Smith, Rudock's high school coach at Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) St. Thomas Aquinas. "That's obviously why that whole union happened…. We'll see what their offense does and we'll go from there. But I don't think they would have pursued him unless they thought he could help them.
"If you watched him play at Iowa, a lot of times they didn't give him much help but I don't think you saw any facial expressions change. He's kind of an unflappable guy."
Part of Harbaugh's approach also is finding players who know how to win and Rudock did that in high school, with Aquinas ranked No. 1 nationally for much of the 2009 season before a loss in the state semifinals and then led them to a national championship in 2010.
After sitting for two years at Iowa, he finally got on the field and made an immediate impact, as one of three FBS players since 2008 who threw and rushed for at least four touchdowns in his first four career games. He was Iowa's primary quarterback until last year's TaxSlayer Bowl, when he was benched in favor of C.J. Beathard, whom Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz named the permanent starter in January.
"He has to fit into the right offense," said BTN analyst Gerry DiNardo, who felt Rudock benefited from Iowa bringing in coordinator Greg Davis before the 2013 season. "He is a pro formation style player and so he needs a strong offensive line, a strong running game to really flourish…. He's that type of quarterback and in that offense, I think he can be very good."
Rudock visited a few weeks ago and saw U-M's quarterbacks, none of whom have seized the job yet this spring. On Tuesday night, Michigan offensive coordinator Tim Drevno said there was no leader in the U-M quarterback race.
While his arrival appears to be a formality, as a graduate transfer, Rudock has to actually graduate before the move can be official. Iowa's current semester ends May 15.
The challenge was with the Big Ten rule stating that any intra-conference transfer must sit out a year and lose a year of eligibility. Rudock does not have such a year to spare, so that's where the waiver entered.
Michigan opens its season on the road at Utah, and Rudock's experience would be invaluable in a hostile setting.
"I definitely think Jake's a guy that brings veteran mindset," Mastrole said, pointing out he's "motivated" after leaving Iowa. "Like hiring a CEO from a major Fortune 500 company."
Fisch hinted at the competition when he spoke three weeks ago, as true freshman Zach Gentry and now Rudock, will battle the current trio of junior Shane Morris, redshirt freshman Wilton Speight and true freshman Alex Malzone.
Drevno said Tuesday that a quarterback could come in this summer and still win the job.
"Anybody could; you do it all the time. In pro football, you do," he said. "I experienced it last year; we started three true freshmen on the offensive line at USC. So that's why, every day, you come out and have to compete at a high level."