Michigan Football: Devin Gardner's Fifth Year Will Give Wolverines Huge Boost

Alex KayCorrespondent IMarch 7, 2013

TAMPA, FL - JANUARY 1:  Quarterback Devin Gardner #12 of the Michigan Wolverines passes in the fourth quarter against the South Carolina Gamecocks in the Outback Bowl January 1, 2013 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida.  South Carolina won 33 - 28. (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)
Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images

The Michigan Wolverines received a bit of great news on Tuesday, as the Big Ten informed them that quarterback Devin Gardner was granted the fifth year of eligibility that he petitioned for.

According to ESPN’s Michael Rothstein, the school initially thought it would not be able to apply for the medical redshirt until after his fourth year ran up, but it was mistaken and submitted the proper paperwork to the conference.

Now that the details are ironed out and things are finally squared away, Wolverines fans can start looking forward to a bright future with the redshirt junior under center.

Gardner took over the starting QB position on a regular basis in early November, leading the Wolverines to a much-needed road victory against the Minnesota Golden Gophers.

He finished the 2012 campaign having completed 75-of-126 passes for 1,219 yards, 11 touchdowns and five interceptions, plus 47 rushes for 101 yards and seven scores.

At 6’4”, 203 pounds, Gardner has the size and arm strength that Michigan coach Brady Hoke would prefer to use for a pro-style offense, a stark contrast to diminutive former signal-caller Denard Robinson’s run-often mentality.

While 2013 looks to be a promising year for the Wolverines with the inexperienced but talented QB slated to start, Gardner’s option to remain in school for 2014 could make a world of difference.

By that point, the team will likely be playing its fourth season under coach Hoke and defensive coordinator Greg Mattison. Considering the “D” in Ann Arbor is already one of the better units in the nation, it could be one of the best and good enough to contend for a national championship.

On offense, Gardner and the rest of the unit should be clicking under Al Borges. The O-line scored some major blue-chip recruits over the past few years, and those prospects should start blossoming into on-field stars over the next two seasons.

Their wide receiving corps is oozing with potential, with a number of tall, athletic players who have committed to play for the Wolverines starting to factor into the game plan.

Add in Derrick Green, a 5-star running back ranked near the top of the Class of 2013, and you have the makeup of one of the best offenses in the country on paper.

While Michigan could be extremely special this coming season, we’re almost positive they’d be in the running for a national championship in 2014—assuming Gardner pans out and the rest of the recruits follow suit.