Comparing Devin Gardner to Other Michigan QBs of the BCS Era

Randy ChambersAnalyst IMay 30, 2013

Nov 24, 2012; Columbus, OH, USA; Michigan Wolverines quarterback Devin Gardner (12) looks to pass in the first quarter against the Ohio State Buckeyes at Ohio Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports
Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

From Denard Robinson to Chad Henne to some guy named Tom Brady, Michigan hasn't pulled many punches at the quarterback position in the last 15 seasons.

Devin Gardner hopes to join that fraternity this season.

He started Michigan's last five games last season, throwing for 1,219 yards and 11 touchdowns and running for 101 yards and seven more scores.

So it appears that Gardner is clearly on the right track to becoming something special.

The problem is that he hasn't played enough games to judge how he truly stacks up against some of the top Michigan quarterbacks of the last decade. It seems like he just became a quarterback yesterday, as much of his playing time was at either running back or wide receiver before the Robinson injury.

So let's take Gardner's numbers and project what his final totals would have been had kept the same pace for an entire season.

After breaking out a handy calculator and punching in a few numbers, Gardner would have finished the 2012 season with 3,169 passing yards, 28 passing touchdowns and 13 interceptions.

He would have also rushed for 262 yards and 18 touchdowns. Remember, this is just a rough estimate by taking his numbers and projecting them over the 13-game season that Michigan played last year.

At that pace, he would have finished second in the Big Ten in passing yards, led the conference in passing touchdowns and had the second-most rushing touchdowns behind only Montee Ball of Wisconsin.

Not too shabby, eh?

Gardner was on pace to have one of the best seasons ever by a Michigan quarterback.

The passing yards would have topped that of any other Michigan quarterback besides John Navarro's season in 2003, when he threw for 3,331 yards. His 28 passing touchdowns would have been the most in school history and would have also been five more than Drew Henson tossed in his entire career.

Robinson would have trumped him in rushing yards, but 18 rushing touchdowns is a total "Shoelace" never attained. The rushing touchdowns would have tied Chris Perry and Anthony Thomas for the second-most in school history, just one behind the record set by Ron Johnson.

Now this isn't to say Gardner will be able to keep up that pace. Defenses are now aware of his playmaking ability and have had an entire offseason to game-plan for him.

It is also difficult to expect somebody to perform at the same level for an entire year without either regressing or improving in certain parts of his game.

However, if you were on the fence after Gardner's performance last year, you should now be the latest member of the Gardner bandwagon.

He has provided enough in limited games for us to believe he can become that next great Michigan quarterback.

All stats come from and unless otherwise noted.