As a Michigan fan who sat through a miserable 3-9 season in 2008, I can tell you that Tate Forcier was a name I became quite familiar with very early on, even as of last Spring.
When Michigan played its first game against Utah, the fans (myself included) could easily see that Steven Threet and Nick Sheridan were struggling with the various reads and plays that required great savvy and athleticism from the quarterback.
After the loss, a commitment came across rivals.com from a high school dual-threat quarterback named Tate Forcier. Forcier was listed as a scrappy 6'1" 180 lb. kid from San Diego, and a four star recruit. Aside from those accolades, he also was rated as the most accurate quarterback in the country, a title that made Wolverine fans salivate.
Forcier completed over 70 percent of his passes in his high school career and we longed for that in every single one of our nine losses a year ago. Thankfully, Tate enrolled early in January and participated in spring practices where he had an impressive spring game, showing the flashes of mobility and sharp passing that have helped him excel thus far.
The rest is history. He has led three fourth quarter comebacks in his first five games as a true freshman, including two game-winning drives and a game tying drive that sent Michigan to overtime in East Lansing.
He is second in the Big Ten in QB rating and has a nine touchdown to three interception ratio. However, to understand his performances thus far let's compare him to another recent freshman signal caller at the same stage.
Player Name Pass Yards Comp. % Yds./Att TDS INTS QB Rating
Tate Forcier 894 59.7 7.51 9 3 142.69
*Terrelle Pryor (2008) 296 63.0 6.43 5 1 N/A
*Through five games
Through the first five games of their respective careers, Forcier is throwing the ball more and more efficiently than Pryor. For the entire season, Pryor only averaged 12 attempts per game for the entire season whereas Forcier is throwing the ball 24 times per game so far.
Also, if you compare Tate Forcier's deep passing with any recent freshman quarterback, you will see that he throws the ball downfield extremely well. He has completed six passes over 35 yards or more thus far, which is an extremely impressive feat for a true frosh.
Overall, if you look at Tate Forcier's numbers they are impressive enough, but it is his play in the clutch that has been the most impressive. He claims to never get nervous and appears to be telling the truth.
The final drive in regulation on the road at Sparty, Michigan had a 12 play, 93 yard drive in which Forcier had 78 of those yards (39 pass, 39 rush).
He has an innate ability to avoid pressure and come up with the big play. Forcier can take over the game with his feet, with his speed and scrambling ability, as well as his arm whether he is throwing on the run or throwing the ball downfield from the pocket.
Not only is he athletic and making all the throws, but he is a leader who commands the offense with a mental and physical toughness rare for his age. His stats are impressive, and the way he earns them are even more impressive.
However, the most impressive thing about this young man is actually watching him. If you haven't...do yourself a favor and watch him Saturday at Iowa (8PM ET).