This week Michigan received its first quarterback commitment since offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier replaced Al Borges. Quarterback Alex Malzone announced that he had committed to Michigan during a recent visit.
The commitment is the first sign that Nussmeier's experience as a former collegiate quarterback and recent success at Alabama is paying dividends on the recruiting trail for Michigan.
Malzone cited Nussmeier’s track record and his plans for the Michigan offense to Nick Baumgardner on MLIVE.COM:
He just wants to help bring Michigan back to the great football its used to. He's had great success at Alabama and at Washington and also at Michigan State. I know he'll have the same at Michigan.
I went to a spring practice and got to see him coach, he's upbeat, he never stops and he tries to get the most he can out of every single one of his players. ... I feel great about it, and coach Nussmeier thinks I'm a great fit as well. He's bringing Alabama's offense with a few tweaks, he wants a quarterback who can make all the throws. I feel like I'm that guy.
Besides a stellar collegiate playing career, Nussmeier carries with him the luster of Alabama’s recent national success. He helped Alabama set offensive records during the 2012 season for touchdowns (68), total points (542), total offense (6,237) and passing touchdowns (31) when the team went 13-1 and won the national championship. His most recent quarterback protege AJ McCarron was taken during the fifth round of last week’s NFL draft.
Contrast Nussmeier with Borges’ recent track record of declining offensive consistency at Michigan, his transformation of quarterback Denard Robinson from Heisman candidate to mediocre drop-back passer and that his greatest team success (Auburn, 2004) was when the current class of recruits was in grade school.
Nussmeier is a prime example of how an assistant coach can leverage recent accomplishments to impress recruits—something that Borges lacked.
Michigan players have been guarded in their comments about Borges but the enthusiasm for the new offense is palpable. Current players such as quarterback Devin Gardner, pass-catcher Devin Funchess and running back De’Veon Smith have all endorsed the new offense and Nussmeier’s drive for offensive precision.
“He demands perfection,” said Gardner. “Even when you have a big play he finds something that can be improved.”
There hasn’t been much perfection in Ann Arbor during the last two seasons but many forget that Borges was hailed as a genius after Hoke’s 11-2 first season.
For now, Nussmeier represents the best hope for Michigan fans that Brady Hoke will lead Michigan back to the top of the Big Ten.
Phil Callihan is a featured writer for Bleacher Report. Unless otherwise noted, all quotations in this article were obtained via Press Conferences or in person.