Michigan football coach Rich Rodriguez’s first foray into the uncertain world of introducing mobile, spread-option quarterbacks to Ann Arbor ended Saturday, when sophomore Justin Feagin was dismissed from the team.
“Justin Feagin was dismissed from the team for a violation of team rules Thursday evening,” Rodriguez said in a prepared statement released by the Athletic Department on Saturday.
No information about the nature of the dismissal — or of the violation severe enough for expulsion from the team — is available at this time.
Feagin played sparingly last season and was best known as the only quarterback in Rodriguez’s first recruiting class at Michigan, after the highly sought-after Terrelle Pryor picked Ohio State over the Wolverines.
A relatively unheralded recruit, Feagin garnered three stars from Rivals.com and scholarship offers from the likes of Rutgers and Southern Miss. Feagin never really developed the arm strength or accuracy to seriously compete with the team’s other quarterbacks — Steven Threet and Nick Sheridan — for the starting job in 2008.
In fact, the coaching staff had originally planned to redshirt the Deerfield, Fla. native, but the staff decided against it in time for Michigan’s 29-6 victory at Minnesota on Sat. Nov. 8.
Although he never attempted a pass in the game, Feagin excelled at what he was recruited to do — running from the quarterback position. He collected 49 yards on seven attempts, including a 34-yard scamper midway through the second quarter.
The game was Feagin’s best — and only even slightly memorable — game at Michigan. After burning his redshirt, Feagin racked up just seven more rushing yards in very limited action.
And Feagin’s chances at playing time only diminished post-2008.
Although Threet transferred to Arizona State earlier this season, Tate Forcier — the team’s likely starter going into summer practice — and Denard Robinson were brought in with this year’s recruiting class.
Now loaded with quarterbacks who could run and throw in the style that suits Rodriguez’s spread-option attack, Feagin’s days at the quarterback position were numbered.
And after Forcier impressed coaches and fans alike at the annual Spring Game, his spot above Feagin was seemingly cemented in the depth chart. Feagin spent much of his time in the spring practicing with the receiving corps.
In all likelihood, that’s where he was going to end up on the 2009 roster, where he figured to play slot receiver.
Looking forward, Feagin’s dismissal from the team should have only a minimal effect on the Wolverines. With Forcier, Robinson and Sheridan at quarterback, Feagin would have likely not had much of a presence at quarterback, and Michigan has quite a bit of talent at slot receiver.
The Wolverines’ leading pass catcher from 2008 — sophomore Martavious Odoms — is back at the slot, and redshirt freshmen Terrance Robinson and Roy Roundtree and incoming freshman Jeremy Gallon all have the abilities to excel at the position.