Michigan fans often clamored for a change while Shea Patterson was under center in Ann Arbor. Every week you'd read about, see and hear people calling for either Dylan McCaffrey or Joe Milton to get a shot.
This offseason, Milton won the job, which resulted in McCaffrey opting out and deciding to transfer. After week one, people were ready to put Milton on the Heisman watch list. Now, Michigan is 1-3, so naturally, people want to see Milton benched, McCaffrey return to the program and Cade McNamara take over.
Fanbases seem to flip on quarterbacks faster than any other position on the team. The back up quarterback is always the most popular player on the roster, as they say. Milton was benched last week against Wisconsin and is now battling for the right to start against Rutgers. He has been bad at times but you can't help but be intrigued by how good he could be because of his natural gifts.
Because of those natural gifts, but also because he's been pretty bad at times, Pro Football Focus puts Milton at No. 40 out of 127 starting quarterbacks in the country.
Below, you will find every single FBS starting quarterback situation ranked from 1 to 127 (three FBS schools are not playing this fall due to COVID-19 concerns). Please note that these rankings have nothing to do with the NFL potential of these quarterbacks and that these are not solely based on 2020 PFF grade — several factors went into these rankings.
No. 40 - Joe Milton, Michigan
Volatile is the best word to describe Milton’s first four games as the Wolverines’ starter. He has made some incredible throws with his cannon of an arm, but he has also made several flat-out bad ones. Among the 87 qualifying FBS quarterbacks in the last three weeks, in particular, Milton ranks 12th in big-time throw rate and 78th in turnover-worthy play rate.
The tools are there, but Milton still has a lot of refining to do before entering the top tier of college quarterbacks.
I'm not writing this to pile on to Milton, but coming in at No. 40 is unacceptable for a third-year Michigan quarterback with the abilities that Milton has.
Jim Harbaugh has been described as a quarterback whisperer, but has done no whispering with Milton. Coming it at No. 40 is compounded by the fact that Ohio State's Justin Fields is at No. 2. Fields is what everyone in maize and blue wishes Milton was. Ability wise, the comparison is fair, but that's where it ends. Milton is bigger, stronger, has a stronger arm and is on par with Fields as a runner. So why are the results and performances so vastly different? That's the million dollar question.
To make matters worse, five other Big Ten quarterbacks are listed ahead of Milton, including transfer and first-year starter Taulia Tagovailoa of Maryland at No. 34 and two "Indiana" quarterbacks in Michael Penix Jr. at No. 9 and former Hoosier Peyton Ramsey, who is now starting for undefeated Northwestern at No. 18. Redshirt freshman Graham Mertz of Wisconsin is also on the list at No. 14 and Minnesota's Tanner Morgan comes in at No. 36.
Obviously Milton is still ahead of a lot of quarterbacks, but 40 is just too low for a signal caller at Michigan, in year three under Harbaugh's tutelage. Teams like Marshall, Liberty, Buffalo, Arkansas, Nevada and North Texas just should not have a quarterback higher on the list than Michigan. No offense to those programs, but if that's what Harbaugh is accomplishing, he's failing. Quarterback is the most important position in the game and he should be doing a better job. Period.