Did any bettors out there place a 2021 Heisman Trophy wager on Michigan quarterback Joe Milton at the William Hill Sportsbook long-shot price of +10000? While it's very unlikely Milton does win the Heisman this coming season regardless, it 100 percent will not be with the Wolverines after the former starter announced he was entering the transfer portal. U-M opens spring practice on Monday with junior Cade McNamara and true freshman JJ McCarthy battling for the starting QB job.
The 6-foot-5, 245-pound Milton was ranked by sister site 247Sports as the No. 9 pro-style quarterback recruit in the Class of 2018 out of Orlando. The No. 1 pro-style QB recruit in that class? Guy by the name of Trevor Lawrence, who is a lock to go No. 1 overall in the 2021 NFL Draft.
Milton barely played his first two seasons at Michigan but started the 2020 season opener at Minnesota and led an upset of the ranked Gophers by throwing for 225 yards and one TD while rushing for 52 yards and a score.
However, the Wolverines lost their next three and with them struggling early vs. Rutgers in the fifth game, Milton was pulled for McNamara. He led a comeback victory vs. the Scarlet Knights and started the season-finale loss vs. Penn State. Because of COVID, Michigan played just six games and not against Ohio State.
Milton likely saw the writing on the wall that Coach Jim Harbaugh was going to pick between McNamara, a four-star recruit in the Class of 2019, and McCarthy as the 2021 starter. McCarthy was ranked as a five-star recruit and No. 2 pro-style QB in the Class of 2021 out of Illinois. Sam Huard, who committed to Washington, was ranked No. 1.
Harbaugh used to be considered a quarterback guru but hasn't found a true star at Michigan yet. Milton is the sixth scholarship QB to transfer under Harbaugh in Ann Arbor. No Harbaugh-recruited quarterback has made it to his fourth season at Michigan and this will be Year 7 there for Harbaugh, himself a former star Michigan QB. Milton will have three years of eligibility remaining because the NCAA has granted an extra year of eligibility and Milton has not used his redshirt season yet.
As noted, spring practice begins for Michigan on Monday, which is quite early. Typically under Harbaugh, the Wolverines begin spring practice in mid-March and finish in mid-to-late April. It's not yet clear if Michigan will have a spring game. U-M will be able to have 15 total spring practices.
Conference championship futures should be out soon at William Hill, while Michigan is +15000 to win the national title off its 2-4 season. The Wolverines are set to open the 2021 campaign at home vs. MAC school Western Michigan. The big non-conference test is Sept. 11 in Ann Arbor against Huard and the Huskies.
McCarthy was one of 11 members of the Wolverines' 2021 recruiting class to enroll early last month, but true freshman QBs simply don't start right away at Michigan. Harbaugh, who has taken over full control of coaching the quarterbacks this year, has been hesitant in his career about playing his young quarterbacks right away. For example, even Andrew Luck redshirted his first year at Stanford. Thus, McNamara is the early favorite to start Week 1 barring injury.
Via SportsLine oddsmakers: Who will be Michigan's season-opening starting QB?
- Cade McNamara -300
- JJ McCarthy +220
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