Script by Inside The Huddle
Wilton Speight was named the Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week on Monday after completing 67.6 percent of his 37 pass attempts for 312 yards and four touchdowns in a 51-14 win over Central Florida.
On Saturday, Speight became only the second quarterback in Michigan football history to throw for seven touchdowns in his first two career starts, joining John Navarre, who accomplished the feat as a redshirt freshman in 2000.
Speight also hit the 300-yard mark faster than any other U-M signal-caller but one – Scott Dreisbach, who threw for 372 yards in his career debut, an 18-17 comeback win over Virginia in the 1995 season opener.
The 6-6, 243-pound Speight has drawn early comparisons to current Pittsburgh Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger – who stands in at 6-5, 240 pounds. Though neither will be mistaken for a dual-threat like Cam Newton, Roethlisberger has always been slippery under duress and Speight is showing a similar ability to feel pressure in the pocket, elude the heat and still make an accurate throw, even with defenders making contact.
On our radio show, Inside The Huddle, Monday morning a few fans pointed out that Speight hasn’t beaten anyone yet.
That he’s beaten up on a pair of bad teams in Hawaii and Central Florida, and that’s fair, but one can only ask a quarterback to take care of business like he should against the competition, and on a Michigan roster that features Jabrill Peppers, Chris Wormley, Amara Darboh, Jehu Chesson and De’Veon Smith, Speight has been the Maize and Blue’s best player.
He earned an A+ from Inside The Huddle for his effort against UCF, the lone Wolverine to garner such a high grade, echoed by esteemed Web site ProFootballFocus.com, that noted all four of Speight’s TD passes over the weekend came when the redshirt sophomore quarterback faced a Central Florida blitz.
In two games, Speight has completed 70% of his 50 pass attempts for 457 yards, seven TDs and one interception, and boasts a pass efficiency rating of 189.00 that ranks him seventh nationally.
On the surface, Speight seems like an unassuming guy, and perhaps that is why he still has his share of critics, but spend some time one-on-one with him and there is an intense passion burning deep within his soul.
Speight knows what was being said about him – that he was too lumbering, wasn’t talented enough, has a funky delivery, and that he would never be capable of leading Michigan to a championship.
Go ahead and doubt him. But do it at your own peril because he’s progressing so quickly there may just come a day in the not so distant future where he’s consistently taking home conference accolades and maybe even all-league honors.