Devin Gardner's medical hardship huge news for Michigan
This will allow Gardner to play for the Wolverines for two more years, which is huge news for a program with little to no experience at the position throughout the roster.
"I feel great about it. I'm just happy to be able to help the team as long as I can," Gardner told GoBlue.com. "It's a great place to live and go to school, so I'm happy about that.”
Gardner was initially recruited by Rich Rodriguez in 2009 as a five-star quarterback prospect, but was converted into a wide receiver in order to give Denard Robinson more throwing options.
When Robinson went down with his elbow injury, Brady Hoke decided his best bet to salvage a season was to throw Gardner into the fire after weeks without seeing a snap under center.
Usually a decision like this would be completely out of the question, but Hoke never really had another choice. The only other quarterback with experience was freshman Russell Bellomy, who threw three interceptions the previous game to match his total number of completions.
Hoke obviously knew what Gardner was capable of – and it showed in his first start.
In a 35-13 win over Minnesota, Gardner completed 12-of-18 passes for 234 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. He also posted a rushing score.
Gardner then led Michigan to a tough overtime win against a good Northwestern team before beating Iowa and then falling to Ohio State and South Carolina in the Outback Bowl.
However, his performance under a lot of pressure shows that he has the potential to be a star at this position – and a much better passing threat than Robinson ever was.
Although he only started five games, Gardner’s 161.7 passer rating was good for the best in the Big Ten. If he can continue to develop and improve, he could end up being a top pick in his draft class.
"We've had a great winter," Gardner said. "I've led and done things I'm not ordinarily accustomed to doing. I feel like I'm stepping outside myself and being the leader I should be."
Michigan starts spring practice on March 16.
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