Wilton Speight announced Sunday afternoon that he will be transferring from Michigan.
Speight, currently a redshirt junior, will have one year of eligibility remaining. He will also be able to play immediately at whichever school he chooses as a graduate transfer.
The move will leave the Wolverines with three scholarship quarterbacks on next year’s roster: redshirt freshman Brandon Peters, freshman Dylan McCaffrey and redshirt sophomore Alex Malzone. Michigan currently has two quarterbacks committed in the 2018 recruiting class in four-star Joe Milton and three-star Kevin Doyle. Both would be true freshmen next year if they follow through with their verbal commitments.
As for Speight, he’s currently unaware of where he’ll finish his career.
“I don’t know where next will be, and I’ll use these next four weeks to figure that out,” Speight wrote on Instagram. “I’m excited to keep pursuing my dreams in a new jersey, but will forever root for the boys wearing the winged helmet.”
In 16 starts over his four-year career at Michigan, Speight tallied a 13-3 record, 3,119 passing yards, 21 touchdowns and nine interceptions.
It was a career that began rather inconspicuously. Speight, recruited by former head coach Brady Hoke, redshirted his first year. After a year of anonymity, he featured in an HBO special covering a newly-hired Jim Harbaugh.
And in that moment, it didn’t seem like Speight had earned Harbaugh’s favor.
“I'm just telling you the right way to do it,” Harbaugh said in that episode. “If you want to look at me with that look, go (expletive) look it somewhere else.”
But Speight would stick things out and find his way back into his head coach’s good graces.
First he beat out John O’Korn and Shane Morris in a heated competition for the starting job. Then he led last year’s team to a 9-0 start, at one point during which Harbaugh said Speight deserved consideration for the Heisman Trophy.
“It’s time to throw his hat into the ring,” Harbaugh said after Speight threw for a career-high 362 yards in a 59-3 win over Maryland on Nov. 5, 2016.
Things fell apart late for Michigan — and Speight — that year, though. In a 14-13 loss to Iowa, Speight was dealt a heavy blow. He missed the next week’s game with an injury. He returned for the final two games of the year, both of which the Wolverines lost late.
It was a rough ending to a season that began with so much promise.
Despite challenges from Brandon Peters and O’Korn, Speight held onto his job this offseason with relative ease. And as one of the lone holdovers from last year’s veteran-laden team, Speight was looked upon to help Michigan transition to this year’s more youthful squad.
But that transition would prove difficult.
In 2017, Speight struggled to replicate the success he had his first year as a starter. Through four games, he completed just 54.3 percent of his passes for 7.17 yards per attempt with a 121.9 quarterback rating — numbers that were all down from his first season as a starter.
Then, against Purdue, Speight took a big hit that broke three of his vertebrae. That injury would knock him out for the rest of the regular season. And with Sunday’s news, that will the last time Speight puts on a Michigan jersey.