The Michigan Wolverines signed an outstanding recruiting class in 2016 led by the nation’s top recruit, Rashan Gary. That recruiting class also brought in starters and contributors Ben Bredeson, David Long, Michael Onwenu, Dylan Crawford, Devin Bush, Eddie McDoom, Nick Eubanks, Lavert Hill, Josh Metellus, Khaleke Hudson, Sean McKeon and Chris Evans. There are others that will also contribute before they are gone.
That list does not include a quarterback from Avon, Indiana named Brandon Peters.
As a long, long time recruiting geek, I have seen a lot of high school prospects over the decades. I was able to view Brandon Peters in high school when his Avon High School took on Brownsburg, Indiana and their top ranked junior quarterback, Hunter Johnson, who was at the time committed to Tennessee. Johnson later switched to Clemson where he is backing up junior Kelly Bryant.
Peters was a senior and led his Avon team to a big win over Brownsburg. Brandon Peters looked the part of a young super star in this game. He had that confident leader look about him with the strong arm and the ability to run the ball for needed first downs.
In this recruiting class, Peters was behind Georgia signee Jacob Eason and Stanford’s KJ Costello.
After signing with Michigan, Brandon Peters redshirted his first season in 2016. This year, the Wolverines returned only 2 starters, but one of them was quarterback Wilton Speight. After Speight was injured against Purdue, senior John O’Korn took over.
Peters got to play in one game and that was against Purdue when he attempted one pass which he completed for 4 yards.
Michigan’s offense has not been good all season even with Speight at quarterback. In their opener against Florida, the Gators scored 2 touchdowns and both of those were interceptions that were returned for touchdowns.
After losing Speight, the Wolverines also lost their first two games of the season. They were beaten by in-state rival Michigan State and then badly by 2nd ranked Penn State in State College, Pennsylvania. In both games, Michigan had problems moving the football. Against Michigan State, O’Korn threw 3 interceptions.
In between the Michigan State and Penn State games, Michigan barely got by Indiana, 27-20.
Struggling again offensively against Rutgers, Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh finally decided to give Brandon Peters his shot. The claim had been all season that Peters just wasn’t ready, but something needed to be done differently.
Peters entered the game in the 2nd quarter with the score tied 7-7, to a standing ovation by the Michigan faithful in the Big House. The atmosphere in the stadium did an about face and changed completely as soon as he arrived. You could feel the energy.
The Michigan offense could feel it, too, and they responded with a couple of nice running plays. The crowd simply lost it’s mind when Peters threw and completed his first pass to tight end Tyrone
Wheatley Jr for a first down.
There was an older gentleman who I may never forget that had his arms raised in the air with clenched fists and a huge smile on his face. The excitement of the crowd could hardly be contained.
I am not the only one that thought Brandon Peters should have been playing all along.
With his second passing attempt, Peters hit 6-4, 245 Fullback Henry Poggi on a crossing route for another first down.
Junior running back Karan Higdon finished off the drive with a 10 yard run to give Michigan a 14-7 lead. It was one they would never relinquish.
The Michigan defense even felt the energy and got the ball back for the offense with little time left in the half. Even more impressively, the redshirt freshman quarterback led the team down the field and connected with running back Chris Evans on a 20 yard touchdown pass to give Michigan a 21-7 lead before the half.
In the 3rd quarter, Peters led the Wolverines down for another score to give them a commanding 28-7 lead.
Rutgers would score again, but it was too little, too late, and Michigan may have found their quarterback in Brandon Peters.
He only completed 10 passes out of 14 attempts for 124 yards and a touchdown, but the way he carries himself and the way his teammates and the fans respond is what’s most important.
Sure, he will make mistakes. He has yet to throw an interception, but that will come. He’s been named the starting quarterback, but what happens when Michigan travels to Madison, Wisconsin to take on the Badgers? What happens when Ohio State comes to town and they bring Nick Bosa and Sam Hubbard off the edges? Will he be able to take that heat? Can he handle his first pick? There’s a lot of pressure for a quarterback at a school like Michigan.
Brandon Peters will make mistakes. It’s what happens after his first mistake that will define him as a quarterback at Michigan. Wilton Speight and John O’Korn are seniors, so the job will definitely be Peters’ next season. His back up should be highly recruited Dylan McCaffrey that is redshirting this year. Yes, he’s that McCaffrey, the son of Ed and Lisa McCaffrey and the younger brother of Christian and Max. McCaffrey Family
People are down on Michigan right now and calling Jim Harbaugh overrated. But, the Wolverines have the players in place to make another run and the talent is there.
Brandon Peters looks like the quarterback of the future.