The 2017 season did not go according to plan for Michigan quarterback Wilton Speight. The senior from Richmond, Virginia was sidelined for the remainder of the season after suffering an apparent neck injury in the September 23 game at Purdue.
Speight nearly worked his way back from the injury and flirted with returning for the season finale at home against Ohio State on Saturday but opted to not dress. Following the end of the regular season. Speight has announced that he will be graduating and play his fifth year of college eligibility elsewhere.
Thank you, Michigan.
These past 4 years have been nothing short of spectacular. Enrolling in… https://t.co/16yye0p08D
— Wilton Speight (@WiltonSpeight) November 26, 2017
View this post on Instagram
Thank you, Michigan. These past 4 years have been nothing short of spectacular. Enrolling in January of 2014 as a kid from Virginia i didn’t know what to expect. Four years later i leave a Michigan Man. The amazing memories with my teammates, playing under the best coaches in America, and enjoying everything that this wonderful university and town have to offer- what a ride. To the fans that stuck with us through thick and thin— thank you. To Coach Hoke for giving a kid with no offers a chance— thank you. To Coach Harbaugh for coming in and making me a better man and a better quarterback. For understanding this decision of mine and always having my back no matter what— thank you. I don’t know where next will be, and I’ll use these next four weeks to figure that out. i’m excited to keep pursuing my dreams in a new jersey, but will forever root for the boys wearing the winged helmet. Go blue!
Speight was the Wolverines’ starter for the entire 2016 season and the first four games of this season before departing the Purdue game with multiple fractured vertebrae. He had a career year in 2016 as a junior when he threw for over 2,500 yards and 18 touchdowns, nearly leading Michigan to a Big Ten championship.
Speight before the season was named to the Davey O’Brien watch list for the nation’s top quarterback. He finished the year 44/81 for 581 yards, three touchdowns, and two interceptions in the 3+ games he played in before being forced out due to injury.
The fractured vertebrae Speight suffered at Purdue was a big topic of conversation earlier in the season, as both Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh and Wilton’s father were very critical of not only the hit he took in the contest but also how he was handled and cared for on-site in West Lafayette.
Speight finally returned to practice two weeks ago ahead of Michigan’s game against Wisconsin and again did this past week in preparation for Ohio State, but could never get cleared to play.
For his Michigan career, Speight finishes with close to 3,200 yards passing and 22 touchdown passes versus 10 picks. Now graduating, he will have the freedom to use his final year of eligibility and play elsewhere as early as next season as a graduate transfer.
For Michigan, it clears up any semblance of quarterback controversy there may have been moving forward beyond this season. Redshirt freshman Brandon Peters is expected to be “the guy” for the Wolverines moving forward, following the news of Speight transferring and this year being the final for former grad transfer John O’Korn.
In addition to Peters, the team has true freshman Dylan McCaffrey, who is expected the receive the redshirt treatment, and redshirt sophomore Alex Malzone heading into next season. Michigan also has a pair of incoming quarterbacks as part of their Class of 2018 commits: 4-star pro-style QB Joe Milton (Orlando, FL) and 3-star pro-style QB Kevin Doyle (Washington, D.C.).
Been awesome playing together the last few years. Love you bro https://t.co/DiM3mu8faq
— Alex Malzone (@AlexMalzone) November 26, 2017
Wilton Speight was one of the best interviews at Michigan over the past few years. Always open, honest and engaging. No matter the situation.
— Nick Baumgardner (@nickbaumgardner) November 26, 2017
#Michigan went 13-3 and averaged more than 39 ppg in games that Wilton Speight started
— Garrett Fishaw (@MGoFish) November 26, 2017
Michigan QB Wilton Speight announces he'll finish his college career somewhere else next fall. He'd be a great addition to many college locker rooms/offenses.
— Dan Murphy (@DanMurphyESPN) November 26, 2017
Wilton Speight – like John O’Korn – was an amazing face for the program. Killer interview, well-versed, etc. Most importantly: He went from the HBO special, 4th string QB, to the starting QB on a 10-2 team.
Wish him the absolute best, as should the entire fan base.
— Brandon Justice (@BrandonBJustice) November 26, 2017