Aside from a rough second half Saturday at The Shoe, Michigan fans have to love what they've seen from quarterback Devin Gardner this season.
Wolverines backers definitely will see more of Gardner in the 2013 campaign. And perhaps also in 2014.
Head coach Brady Hoke confirmed Monday that the school has applied for a medical redshirt for Gardner, who missed most of his freshman season in 2010 with a back injury. Hoke expects the Big Ten to approve the application.
Gardner appeared in just three September games at quarterback as a freshman in 2010.
From colleague Michael Rothstein:
Michigan did not immediately apply for the redshirt because of what appeared to be a miscommunication over when the redshirt could be applied. Now, with that cleared up, the Wolverines have filed the paperwork with the Big Ten office. The league has a committee that meets once every two weeks to evaluate the validity and status of medical redshirts.
After starting the 2012 season as a featured wide receiver, Gardner began playing primarily at quarterback following Denard Robinson's elbow injury at Nebraska. In the past four games he has completed 57 of 90 passes for 1,005 yards, eight touchdowns and four interceptions, and has rushed for seven touchdowns.
Having Gardner for two full seasons as a likely starting quarterback would be huge for Michigan, which is recruiting at an extremely high level and will have many of its elite prospects in featured roles by 2014. Although some of the depth issues Michigan had this season should still be there next fall, the Wolverines should be very, very strong in 2014.
Rather than breaking in a new starting quarterback -- likely Shane Morris -- Michigan would have a veteran in Gardner. That could make a big difference in Michigan's quest for championships.