While Brady has certainly been the star of Michigan's quarterback cache, he alone is not the reason the Maize and Blue were ranked second, Fischer told TheWolverine.com today.
"If you look at any of those lists, he's one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time, and certainly to send him to the League counts a lot in Michigan's favor, but it wasn't the only criteria for me coming up with my ranking," Fischer said. "Certainly volume was a huge factor, and that is one of the biggest reasons USC came out on top for their success in the last 25 years.
"Michigan has had a lot of other successful guys as well - Brian Griese, Elvis Grbac, and Chad Henne, who should end up being a starter for someone this year. They've had some very solid quarterbacks play in the NFL over the years but no question Tom Brady was a huge factor in them ending up at No. 2 ahead of Florida State."
One of the interesting dynamics of Fischer's list is the general void of great players. Though USC, Florida State, Stanford and others have produced multiple NFL quarterbacks, the success rate for a long, sustained, Hall of Fame-worthy career is relatively low.
"You look at the NFL and how many quarterbacks they cycle through on a yearly basis and it's really almost rare nowadays to be a franchise that has the same quarterback for 5-8 years in a row," he said. "There is the reason the Bradys and Mannings are so impressive, and more so going forward as we embrace more of the dual-threat quarterbacks.
"The careers of these QBs, like Michael Vick, you expect he will be the exception and that a lot of these guys will only play a few years because of the beating they will take.
"I think Michigan sticking with their pro-style offense, as ingrained in their culture, bodes well going forward in terms of attracting recruits and putting quarterbacks in the NFL."
That next U-M signal-caller could be fifth-year senior Devin Gardner. Fischer covers college football and does some NFL Draft scouting for the NFL.com and he thinks Gardner has a chance, but is far from a guaranteed sure thing.
"It all kind of depends on his development this year under [offensive coordinator] Doug Nussmeier, who I think is a great addition to that staff," Fisher said. "He really did a nice job with that Alabama offense and got [QB] AJ McCarron to play up to his potential.
"It all comes down to how Gardner develops this year as a passer. Does he make better decisions? Is he accurate? Can he make every throw consistently? Does he prove to be a good leader in the huddle? He has all the measurable, the right height and size going back to when I saw him out on the West Coast in the Elite 11, and we've seen some really great performances, but not the consistency."
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