Devin Gardner granted fifth year

Updated: March 6, 2013, 1:17 PM ET
By Michael Rothstein | WolverineNation

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Michigan quarterback Devin Gardner was granted a fifth year of eligibility by the Big Ten on Tuesday.

"I feel great about it," Gardner said on the school's website. "I'm happy to be able to help the team as long as I can."

Gardner, now a redshirt junior, became Michigan's starting quarterback the last third of the 2012 season after incumbent starter Denard Robinson was injured against Nebraska on Oct. 27. Gardner took over as Michigan's starter the next week at Minnesota. He completed 75 of 126 passes last season for 1,219 yards, 11 touchdowns and five interceptions over the final five games.

Gardner, who also rushed for seven touchdowns, began last season as one of Michigan's wide receivers, catching 16 passes for 266 yards.

"It was very different; that's the best word to describe it," Gardner said of playing wide receiver. "I never played another position in my life and my first catch was a touchdown."

The reason for the delay of Gardner's redshirt came from what appeared to be a miscommunication at Michigan. The school initially thought it could not apply for a redshirt for Gardner, who was injured during his freshman season after playing in three of the first four games, until after his college career had ended.

WolverineNation reported this was not the case, and the Big Ten decides these cases on a rolling basis. The school then submitted paperwork to officially apply for an extra year for its quarterback, moving up the timeline Michigan thought it had on whether or not Gardner would receive the redshirt.

Gardner has less than two weeks before Michigan starts its spring practice on March 16.

Michael Rothstein | email

ESPN Detroit Lions reporter