Earlier in the season, I compared Tate Forcier to a number of prominent true freshman starting QBs (after five games, and after eight games). Well, it wouldn’t make any sense to have done that and not take a look at how he compares after a full season. Without further ado, here are Tate’s full season stats, as well as those of the players I have compared him to and the average of the listed players’ stats.
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*Record only reflects games in which the quarterback participated
This may come as a surprise to anyone who watched the latter half of Michigan’s season, but Forcier’s numbers compare favorably with his true freshmen contemporaries. The only stat listed in which he finishes below the average is interceptions, and even then he is just below the cut. No, he didn’t match the outstanding numbers of Chad Henne, Robert Griffin III, Chris Leak, or (sigh) Terrelle Pryor, but, with the exception of Griffin, Forcier didn’t have the talented weapons (or offensive lines) that those players did.
What should we take from this? For one, Michigan fans expecting Devin Gardner to come in and take over the starting job are forgetting that the Wolverines already have one of the country’s most talented quarterbacks at their disposal, with a year of starting experience to boot. Look at the above list of names again — with the exception of Williams (and Pryor and Griffin, who are only sophomores themselves), every one of those quarterbacks matured into a very good collegiate quarterback. Chris Leak is arguably the worst of the “very good” players, and he won a national title at Florida.
Yes, there are factors that the numbers don’t show — Forcier’s penchant for fumbling, for instance, as well as rushing totals — but they still paint a pretty clear picture, and that picture is of a true freshman quarterback who had the type of year that usually leads to college stardom. Tomorrow I’ll take a look at what we can expect from Forcier next season, based on the development of the above players as true sophomores. Do we really want another true freshman starter next season? I don’t think so, and I expect the numbers to back me up on that.