Tuscola's Wienke runs reverse, chooses Iowa
TUSCOLA – Ever since Lloyd Carr stepped down as Michigan's coach nearly a month ago, Tuscola quarterback John Wienke has been fielding questions about whether he would honor his commitment to the Wolverines.
An official visit to Iowa last weekend only increased speculation. On Saturday, Wienke made the move, giving Kirk Ferentz and the Hawkeyes an oral commitment.
The News-Gazette All-Stater, rated by rivals.com as the No. 11 quarterback in the Class of 2008, first announced for Michigan on July 1.
The Wolverines still are searching for a replacement for Carr, who resigned Nov. 19.
"It was just the uncertainty about what was going on (at Michigan)," said Wienke, who can sign a letter of intent Feb. 6. "I felt real comfortable about the coaches and just the people at Iowa after my visit. Just being around the players and seeing all the support they have was cool."
Wienke, who led Tuscola to a second consecutive state championship game appearance, is at peace with his decision and is looking forward to the opportunity to play for the Hawkeyes. While he's happy about where he's headed, Wienke feels badly about spurning the Wolverines.
"The one person I was really worried about telling was the quarterback coach (Scott) Loeffler," Wienke said. "I didn't want to have to do that to him. We built up a pretty good friendship.
"I called them first and let them know what I was doing. They were really good about everything and understood what I was thinking. It was really tough."
Iowa's starting quarterback, former News-Gazette Player of the Year Jake Christensen from Lockport, will be a junior when Wienke arrives in Iowa City. If Wienke redshirts – which he intends to do – he will have a shot at the starting job in his sophomore season.
As a senior, the left-handed Wienke threw for 2,859 yards and 32 touchdowns.
"Iowa was one of my top choices early on before Michigan came along," Wienke said. "Everyone's real happy. We talked a lot about it and we think that maybe in the end it could be a better place for me.
"But right now, I'm happy about everything."