Wilton Speight is moving on from Jim Harbaugh and Michigan with no hard feelings.
In an interview with WXYZ’s Brad Galli Monday night, the redshirt junior explained his decision to transfer, which he announced Sunday afternoon.
Speight emphasized there was no particular reason behind his choice. He called it a “gut feeling” where he simply had to “leave home.”
“It’s not because Brandon Peters went in and established himself, or that the fans were calling for my job, or anything like that,” Speight said. “It really didn’t come to anything in particular. It’s just one of those gut feelings, feelings in my heart.”
In his four-year career at Michigan, Speight finished with a 13-3 record, 3,119 passing yards, 21 touchdowns and nine interceptions in 16 career starts.
After winning the starting quarterback competition for the second straight year, Speight led the Wolverines to a 3-0 start this season before leaving a Sep. 23 contest against Purdue with a back injury. Speight was cleared to practice for the final two weeks of the regular season, but never returned to the field for Michigan.
When asked why he decided to leave, Speight was quick to say that it wasn’t because of another quarterback competition.
“There’s certain things that are really hard to put into words,” Speight said. “I have always been in quarterback competitions. At the bust last year, Coach Harbaugh said that I’m going to be a top quarterback in all of college football this season. Then the first spring practice happened and I was splitting reps with the other quarterbacks, and it was a whole (other) competition all over again.
“So it wasn’t that I’m not coming back because of the competition thing, and I think that’s what a lot of people maybe think. Because I’ve done that. I’ve proven time and time again I love competition. I came out on top two years in a row. Been here for four years. It’s just one of these feelings where it’s just time, I think, to move on.”
According to Speight, there is “no bad blood” between him and his coach. He says Harbaugh was surprised when he learned of Speight’s intentions to transfer.
“Initially, he asked me, ‘Was this something that I did? Is this something between us that I can fix, or we can talk through?’ ” Speight recalled. “And I immediately was like, ‘That’s my biggest focus of this conversation right now. I don’t want you to think this has anything to do with you or about our relationship.’
“Obviously, you’re going to butt heads sometimes with your coach, and especially when he was so successful at this very position at Michigan and in the NFL. Yeah, we butted heads every once in awhile. But every player (and) coach does. That always made our relationship stronger. He had my back through literally everything.”
As a graduate transfer, Speight will be eligible to play immediately at the school of his choosing. He says that “multiple teams and programs” have already reached out to him.
Neither Harbaugh nor the athletic department have yet to publicly comment on Speight’s impending transfer.