The University of Michigan has long been known as a haven for top-flight signal callers, churning out a high number of consistently good college and professional quarterbacks in the 1990s and 2000s after shifting to a pro style offense from their traditional triple option sets under Bo Schembechler.

Current head coach Jim Harbaugh was among those who helped aid in the transition, turning out a successful career both as a Wolverine in Schembechler’s run heavy offense and in the NFL as a member of the Indianapolis Colts and Chicago Bears among others.

Now, things have come full circle as Harbaugh is the head coach, and one of the team’s most uniquely talented former dual threat quarterbacks, Devin Gardner, has spent his off-days tutoring the next potential great at the position for the Wolverines — Junior Joe Milton, who could redefine the position in Ann Arbor.

While Gardner didn’t quite live up to his billing in Ann Arbor, he did show many flashes of brilliance including a historic, 451-yard, 4 TD performance against Ohio State in 2013, a game he completed while playing on a broken foot suffered in the third quarter of a close loss.

Gardner recently posted video of Milton on his professional coaching page, Young Go Getters on Facebook, and then broke down the film segment for

While there is some concern about how Milton could do considering the Wolverines’ schedule, which is easily one of the toughest if not the toughest in the Big Ten, the Pahokee, Florida native certainly has the talent, and the credentials, to lead the Wolverines to places they’ve never been under Harbaugh.

Milton beat out celebrated legacy recruit Dylan McCaffery for the starting job based in large part because he’s been able to improve on his biggest weaknesses dating back to his high school days: touch and accuracy.

“People talk about his arm strength, but he’s developed touch. A passer’s touch. He’s throwing the appropriate throws,” head coach Jim Harbaugh said according to

“I’m most excited just to watch him compete.”

Gardner Breaks Down Film on Joe Milton

The Milton training video, posted to Gardner’s Twitter page, can be seen below with original commentary.

In it, Gardner and his coaches run Milton through a series of drills, hammering home the concept that repeated reps without breaks is the best way to build the muscle memory needed for a big-time Division I quarterback.

The first set of reps was designed as a warm-up drill, Gardner told, for the quarterback to “quickly find the laces and set (their) hips outside.”

Gardner said to SI that Milton delivers a “perfect outside throw” on this series of drills.

Milton can also be seen working against pressure, and throwing a picture perfect sideline route that many QBs with lesser arm strength simply cannot make. This type of “frozen rope” sideline throw could be an attribute the Wolverines offense hasn’t seen in years, and was a favorite during the Lloyd Carr era.

“Joe does a great job of keeping his shoulders level, keeping his base nice and narrow, so he can drive the throw on the outside shoulder,” Gardner says in the SI analysis.

Later, Milton delivers “perfect placement” on a curl flat route that is taken away by immediate pressure, a scenario he must be prepared for as Michigan’s starter.

“Joe does a great job of staying on balance so he can make a perfect outside throw that his guy can run with,” Gardner says.

Is Joe Milton Ready to Play, and Ready to Win?

If Gardner’s comments, including his early prediction last year that Milton would be the starter when all eyes were on McCaffery, are any consideration, it would appear as if the 6’5, 243-pound Milton is ready for the limelight after all.

On Monday, Detroit Free Press writer Orion Sang released the following tweet, suggesting that Milton may be ahead of the learning curve, a positive sign heading into a week one showdown against Minnesota.

Michigan coaches and players are notorious for overhyping their own, but few have seen a hype train like this in Ann Arbor for a QB prospect in recent years, that much is for sure.