Jake Rudock has a very solid chance of starting this fall for Michigan and head coach Jim Harbaugh.
CHICAGO — When Jake Rudock arrived in Michigan shortly after finishing his microbiology/pre-med studies at Iowa in May, things changed. The former Hawkeye was set to begin the last year of his NCAA eligibility as a graduate student, prep for classes, and compete for a job under first-year head coach Jim Harbaugh.
That competition to be under center wasn’t his only form of employment. According to wide receiver Jehu Chesson, one of the first things Rudock did on campus was find himself a job — one with a paycheck.
“I’ve been working since a really young age, and that meant something to me,” Chesson said Friday. “If you’re able to get a job, that says something about your character … people who are willing to have that drive and sense of responsibility without necessarily being pushed to do it, those are leaders.
“… I want that for my quarterback; I want that trait for my quarterback.”
Chesson’s wish has a high chance of coming true this fall, even if his coach won’t say so. Once camp starts, Rudock, who is employed as a facilities worker at Schembechler Hall, the home of the team’s football office, will be in what Harbaugh described as a wide-open battle.
“We’re going to roll the balls out there and let them all compete,” Harbaugh said. “Whoever is playing better will be our quarterback.”
Looking past the surface, however, shows Rudock won’t have to go through too much of a gauntlet in that wide-open battle.
Shane Morris, who has 43 career completions on 87 attempts for 389 yards, 5 picks and 0 touchdowns, is the only quarterback on Michigan’s roster with legitimate game experience. Morris’ biggest claim to fame at Michigan came when his coaches left him in a game last season despite an injury that was clear as day to everyone not standing on the Wolverine sideline.
In two seasons at Iowa, Rudock threw for 4,819 yards, 34 touchdowns, and 18 interceptions. As Iowa fans know, he’s not going to blow your socks off, but he did show he could be an effective quarterback at the Big Ten level, there’s no arguing that.
“He’s older, obviously; he has a lot of experience; I think it’s a great addition,” Chesson said. “He’s slinging it, man, he’s a passer. I like catching from him.”
Granted, Chesson later said he likes hauling in passes from his other quarterbacks, too, making sure to stick to his team’s “play things close-to-the-vest situation” about quarterback. A starter likely won’t be chosen for at least two weeks, but Rudock seems like the correct choice.
After all, there are other schools around the country that would love to have Rudock, even if he left Iowa fans with a sour taste in their mouths. It’s hard to imagine a smart guy like him transferring to a school at which he wouldn’t play, even if his future lies in the medical field, not the gridiron.
“He’s got some bounce in his step, he’s got some real pizzazz. Shane Morris, Jake, they’re really serious but very loose and confident at the same time,” Harbaugh said. “Both have a lot at stake.”
Harbaugh’s right; Rudock has the chance to finish his career on a positive note after some turbulence in Iowa City, but once camp starts, winning a job on the field won’t be much tougher than changing a light bulb in Schembechler Hall.
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