Not sure how many make the first ballot but here's my top 5:
MGoHall of Fame: Football Nominees
Good lord, this was brutal. Hockey had a pretty clear cutoff that sat nicely at five, and getting to five in basketball was a stretch. I left Steve Breaston, Leon Hall, Allan Branch, and Zoltan Mesko out here. Jebus.
PROS: Tough-talking no-neck was a four year starter at center perfectly suited for Michigan's zone running game; won the Rimington as a senior. Hilarious interview with absolutely no regard for cliché. High fantangibles rating. At times seemed to be the difference between doom and success in the Michigan ground game. Broke something serious in his foot in the Sugar Bowl, watched Rocko Khoury make some panic snaps on Michigan's first series, and played the rest of the game seriously damaged.
Experienced both coaching changes and was one of the seniors Who Stayed™. A huge factor in the locker room uniting behind Hoke.
CONS: Had some injury problems. Inexplicably had his snap count jumped against MSU and only MSU for like three straight years.
PROS: Four-year contributor and three-year starter who always teetered on the edge of being great. Finally accelerated down the senior-year stretch into a dominant nose tackle. During this period forced a pitch on a Nebraska speed option.
This is about all you need to know. You could not block him. Michigan's insanely good third/fourth and short defense started with him (and ended with Kovacs).
But wait, there's more: with Michigan's already-thin defensive line depth shattered by injury before the Sugar Bowl, Martin and Van Bergen faced off with future first-round pick David Wilson in a game where getting a stop meant you got four snaps before you were back on the field. They singlehandedly kept Michigan in the game despite dying halfway through the second quarter. A performance that should pass into legend the same way Hunwick's North Dakota game will.
Also a member of Those Who Stayed™. Along with Molk and Van Bergen, Martin got the Full Andy Dufresne from his time at Michigan.
CONS: Seemingly endorses "In The Big House." Not as highly regarded by the NFL as a few other guys on this list.
Ryan Van Bergen
PROS: Third and final member of Those Who Stayed™ on the list. Also a four-year contributor and longtime starter, underrated because of his lack of playmaking but still the TFL leader on last year's team. The other guy holding Michigan's defensive line together through sheer force of will in the Sugar Bowl. Virtually impossible to knock down. Screwed up a check in the 2009 Indiana game, leading to an 85-yard touchdown, then singlehandedly annihilated the next IU drive, giving Michigan a chance to pull it out.
CONS: Probably the least-great player on this list. Here as a tribute to Michigan's phoenix act in 2011. Not enticing to NFL. Still… look at that. This is not a list of the best players ever, so…
PROS: The best player on an awful Michigan defense and awful Michigan teams. Did not get the Full Andy Dufresne since his career ended halfway through the sewage tube. Still bore all of this with a Denard-like beatific smile. Just killed people, all the time.
NFL did really like him, drafting him in the top half of the first round.
CONS: Unfortunately his impact was limited because the team around him was terrible.
PROS: Sideline-to-sideline missile was cerebral to the point of near-genius. Always there. Always. Made a habit out of juking(!) offensive linemen in zone schemes, making them think the play was going one way, then exploding into the ballcarrier when this was not the case. Junior year was tremendously underrated thanks to chaos around him; was major lynchpin and possibly the best player on Michigan's monster 2006 defense. Yes, I mean that seriously.
Early and still prime example of the usefulness of UFRing makes him near to my heart; not sure if you care. Validated all praise from Michigan fans by instantly becoming NFL tackling machine upon entry to the league.
Kind of looks like Worf.
CONS: Lacks iconic wow play. Others started longer than he did.
PROS: Emphatically does not have David Harris's problem since he was the target on two of the most iconic plays of the aughts: Oh, Wide Open and Lloyd Carr's Last Second. An electric playmaker the rest of the time, a guy who wasn't the biggest but was the fastest and hardest to keep track of. Had that brilliant slow-up-to-stall-the-DB-then-extend-for-the-TD move down pat. More of a technician than given credit for. Whenever I think of Manningham, I think of that Citrus Bowl when DeBord said "screw it, spread time" and Holly Rowe reporting that Florida deathbacker Brandon Spikes was chasing Manningham all over the field on his incessant end-arounds, saying "damn, boy, you good."
Did the worm after the 2007 Penn State win.
CONS: Got suspended for the weed, something that took some doing in the mid-aughts. Widely regarded as kind of maybe not the nicest guy to ever make it through the program.
PROS: Amongst the nicest guys to ever make it through the program. Skillet-sized hands are made of industrial-strength adhesive. An elite-level possession receiver who was everyone's safety blanket. Targeted all the time and made all the catches. Probably the most common ex-player to be referenced in "You May Remember Me From Such Players As," to the point where I actively try to avoid it now.
That about sums it up.
CONS: Did drop that one pass once, you know, that one. Never a huge deep threat.
PROS: Four year starter with great backstory and running style burned into your brain. No speed at all but capable of juking in a phone booth and grinding out two, three, four yards after contact. Got a standing ovation for a particular eight yard run against Penn State once. Came out of a tiny school in upstate New York with outlandish rushing stats and a youtube clip in which he jukes every player on the opposing team twice.
Never, ever fumbled except twice inside the five against Florida in his last game. Pretty much the only thing standing between Michigan and a yards per carry under three during his time at Michigan.
CONS: Injury prone. Started this incredibly annoying "little brother" business. Spice added by mouth often backfired; went 0-fer against OSU.
PROS: Kills people. Brandon Graham was Woodley 2.0, a devastating defensive end who could not be blocked one-on-one. Has enormous Wolverine tattoo on arm. Finished off the Oh Wide Open game with the Yakety-sax-capping scoop and score. Fighting with David Harris and Allan Branch for title of best player on 2006 defense.
CONS: OSU 0-fer does not quite apply but really kind of does since he did not contribute much in 2003. That's about it. Kind of think maybe Graham was better since he had way less help and still produced.
PROS: Is he a man or a block-long wall? Only his mother knows, and these days she's not even sure. Four-year starter who rolled off the NFL left tackle prototype line and let exactly zero guys not roid-raging get to the quarterback when he was on the field. The first overall pick his draft year, all-American everywhere, etc, etc, etc, you get the idea.
CONS: Fantangibles low. Another Michigan great who had to suffer through the indignity of 0-fer OSU. Hurt most of the 2005 season. Not sure what I'd write about him.
Technically Graham left early too, no?
No even if it might have been in his best interest to (well since he was drafted at 13 it ended up fine), he stayed for his senior year.
Tough, tough list.
I may be biased for the Sugar Bowl team bringing us back. I guess I'll have to go with the following:
4. Graham - Sitting in MSU season-ticket holder seats at Spartan Stadium, that hit was unbelievable. It would be a much better memory if we had gone for 2 at the end of regulation LIKE I WAS SCREAMING but honestly, that's my favorite play of the 2000s independent of the game's outcome.
5. Long - Without a doubt (in my mind) the best player of the 2000s. Gets dropped for the fantangibles Brian mentions, although I'd like to point out he's a super nice guy for not beating the crap out of my tough-guy buddy with Adam Kraus outside Backroom.
Can't believe some of the guys I am leaving out . . . this is a very competitive field.
This is an example of where I think we're slightly misconceiving what the MGoHOF should be. If it's just a straight up duplication of other awards, then it's kinda... superfluous. No disrespect to our beloved blog (and its propeitors), but something tells me that "MGoHall of Famer" is a bit down on the list of, e.g., Jake Long's awards after, y'know, all-American, #1 draft pick, etc. IMO, we should focus especially on honoring people (and memes, etc.) that have been of particular significance to this Blog. Is Zoltan one of the 5 most important players during the time the Blog has existed? No. Is he one of the most iconic MGoPlayers? Clearly, he is. Enshrine the Space Emperor!
Exactly what I think it should be. Not as much on the field accomplishments.
Hard to pick just 5, but here is my Top 5:
1) Mike Hart - Loved his attitude, All about Michigan, Love the little brother comment, All-Time Leader in Rushing yards, Never really fumbled until his last game (which we still won), and his dream job is to be head coach for Michigan one day.
2) Jake Long - One of the best Lineman ever at Michigan, could have left early for NFL but decided to stay, A two time co-captain, bonus points for being the first overall pick in the NFL draft and pro bowler.
3) David Molk - Best Center in the Nation, 4 year starter, Played the sugar bowl even though he was injured bad, stayed and always supported the new systems/coaching changes, Great interviews, one of the hardest workers around, bonus points for being a monster in the weight room.
4) Lamar Woodly - Was almost unblockable in his later years, Lombardi Award Winner, Big Ten Defensive Player of the year, Big M tattoo, Stayed 4 years, Bonus points for being a NFL Pro Bowler and also winning a super bowl.
5) Mike Martin - His senior year he was almost unblockable by 1 lineman, stayed and supported the new coaching changes, 3 year starter (4 year contributor), hard worker, beast in the weight room, Great leader had 10 tackles against Virginia Tech
Would not have voted for Long until I saw MillerTime's story. Will vote for Molk next year
Woodley, Long, Molk. Loved watching all three of those guys. Wish it was four so I could add Graham. I understand the love for Hart, but there are a bunch of UM RBs that I enjoyed watching more over the years so I can't add him, even though I know he'll be the first in.
This is BRUTAL.
I quit. I just.. I just quit.
Hart, Woolley, Graham, Zoltan. Zoltan was just a punter, but what other punter has given you such a calming feeling every time he steps on the field? Or was an emperor of space. Or was missed so dearly when he was gone? Or was a 5th round pick? This isn't just about skill, but impact on this blog as well...Zoltan was, and will always be, legendary.
sealed the deal for me. 1 Hart, 2 Graham, 3 Long.
My apologies to Team 132. You guys will get in. Just not this year.
Also, no Chad Henne mention is an oversight, I hope.
You really need to think about how many teams you are trying to sift through. That said:
1: Long -- beyond great
2: Hart -- Tough humble unyeilding the definition of a champion
3: Henne - played hurt and won games that no one had a right to expect. Brian how can you leave him out?
4: Woodley -- Great
5: Avant - as much as I would like to put Manningham here he left early. I understand why but that knocks him down a bit.
My hero. Seriously. I can't think of a athelte from the college ranks who ever inspired me like that, doing more with less God given talent that a lot of the kids he faced against. Picking up Ryan Mallet fumbles, 3 200+ yard games in a row as a freshman, running onto the field to be 11th man for PAT team, stopping PSU linebackers cold when they outweight him by 40 pounds.
I'll always remember his heroic, furious effort against Ohio State on that night in 2006, when every time he got the ball, he carried the hopes of Ann Arbor. That was just one moment in many many friggin moments I couldnt count.
Beast doesn't describe him. Animal is too little. Freak athlete who bonded with Barwis to turn into 200+ pounds of blue steel. A true warrior. Maybe 5% better than Woodley, tops, but he played so damn hard on every down that he was inspiring too, in a diferent way. I shudder to think what if he had lined up opposite Woodley in 2006 D-Line.
Willpower of a fish swimming upstream in a monsoon. Did not care about pain. Did. Not. Care. Closest thing to a gladiator at Michigan in his four years here.
wow that was tough to leave all those other guys out.
I twitch when I hear someone say they don't really remember Lamarr Woodley or Mike Hart. Shoot I'm only 25 years old but I remember Charles Woodson and Brian Griese.
My votes are....
1. Jake Long-Not only one of the most talented and consistently excellent players ever at Michigan but he is one of the classiest and most professional and mature beyond his years. Gets huge points for coming back for his senior year and representing exactly what a Michigan man should be.
2. Brandon Graham-in his senior season overcame a coach who looked at defense as an afterthought, an inept defensive coordinator, and not much talent around him and became a star with tons of highlight reel plays. Kept a good attitude when it could have been easy not to and stayed out of trouble.
3. Chad Henne-cmon he at least deserves consideration even if he isn't a first balloter necessarily. He was an excellent leader and a really good quarterback even though of course there is the knock on him for never beating OSU and some injuries. But still there are those moments for me where he's on the sideline begging Lloyd Carr to let the offense go for it on fourth down and trying to play despite being hurt and coming in as a freshman!....and the bowl game against Florida.
Molk was so vital to the team and I love Hart's tenacity but both talk too much for me to vote them in first time despite deserving it on the field. Manningham could be a jerk and left early. Mike Martin I almost picked but I need to see how I feel about him after more time passes. RVB I don't think is quite up to par with some of the others this time. Jason Avant and David Harris are guys who may have never seemed like the standouts but were great upon further review but they don't hold a special place for me. And Lamarr Woodley....well he kills people but I just picked Graham over him because Woodley had more help.
1. Hart - for his consistency
2. Long - For his complete dominance of opponents
3. Molk - For being ornery - just because he liked it.
My good friend who was the last QB to play both ways.
Am I to assume that Jaimie Morris, Anthony Carter, Rick Leach, Leroy Hoard, Derrick Alexander, Mark Messner, Greg Skrepenak, Dean Dingman, Charles Woodson, John Kolesar, Jumbo Elliott make it?
Jake, Mike, Jason
Hart, Long, Breaston.
Also, there's a guy that's not been mentioned anywhere here but deserves a shoutout: all time leading kicker in at least a few categories, Garrett Rivas.
Like many others have posted, odd that Henne is not a candidate. He would make my top 5 for sure.
How can Zoltan not be on this list? Probably our best player when we went 3-9...except Brandon Graham. If I had to stick to the list...Hart, Long, Graham. But the Space Emperor of Space will bend the laws of space-time to become the 4th football inductee.
Seriously...will I ever do this again?
Well...I do every time my Pats punt. BUT YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN!
I like Zoltan as a person and how he plays with the Pats but I remember facepalming at so many of his punts in college.
At the opposing team's 45 yard line and punting he'd kick it ten yards deep into the end zone gaining us 25 yards of field position. Ugh.
Molk & RVB -
I think that Ryan Van Bergen and, to a much lesser extent, Molk, benefit from recency bias. I was never enamored with Molk despite all his accolades and the love showered upon him in the UFRs. Maybe it was his abrasive personality. RVB doesn't deserve an honorable mention, much less a first flight ballot shot. A good to very good D-lineman, but not one who was historically great, or even recently so for that matter. Molk definitely deserves a place based on accomplishments though.
Hopefully it was just an oversight leaving him off the ballot, seeing as he's not even mentioned up top. If not... WTF
Leading passer in Michigan history. It's pretty poor if lack of personality is the defining characteristic for his absence. Robo Henne was more concerned with connecting with Rabbit Hunting Mormon Tyler Ecker and executing the script for nailcoeds.exe out of the memory chip soldered on to his Soviet-era motherboard in his chest than displaying that human condition, emotion. Seeing the white-hot competitive nature of Forcier was fun but it also made me miss the automaton-like efficiency of Chad Henne.
Memorable for a couple of defining quotes. Who can not hear an enthusiastic shout of "Touchdown MANNINGham!" or a shocked "Oh wide open" and not think to that smooth speedster. There are few players I enjoyed watching more if only for his athleticism. He and Antonio Bass were supposedly the best receiving duo Lloyd brought in, and watching Bass run was pretty incredible as well. The Capital One Bowl end-arounds were a strong reminder of what could have been and that double move was a thing of absolute beauty, as Brian so often mentioned. Indeed, there was that argument for specialized intelligence where the fearless leader challenged anyone to convince him Manningham's ability to set up opposing cornerbacks with a jab step only to throw in the second move and torch them deep was not a specialized intelligence limited to a select few.
I don't think leaving early should count against anyone if they had a legitimate shot at the pros. Manningham was ready to go. Arrington gets a sterner glance. In this situation, I'd probably only rip on someone like Trey Burke if he had actually decided to leave this year and had a shot in the hall down the road.
I'd like to know why everyone considers Manningham such a jerk. I don't doubt it, but never heard any anecdotes of the Ryan Mallett variety, besides that he smoked a lot.
Always loved watching him, and thought him severly underrated living the the shadow of #1. Thought him a humble winner and a very solid player with a decent shot in the NFL (he far exceeded my expectations). This said, feel Breaston deserves this slot, as I think he contributed a lot more to the team in terms of his return game. Think all purpose yards Vince Young Rose Bowl...
My list would read:
Of the proposed candidates:
1. Mike Hart
2. Jake Long
3. Brandon Graham
Can't go wrong with other choices through.
I saw the first 3 guys and thought "Damn, this is a tough choice." Then I saw the other 7 and started to panic because I don't know who to choose. I imagine it would be a lot tougher if I really got to see half of those guys play.
So looking at this list and it strikes me that the old man's committee should convene now and both Desmond and Woodson should get in now. They are program-defining type players, and continue to have an influence on the image of the program (reason why Harmon doesn't get in here in my opinion)...
Aside from that, Long needs to be in. He's phenomenal, and sometimes the best thing you can say about a pass-blocker is, well, there's nothing to say. He's also in my view by far the best player amongst that group. Then to me it goes Harris, then Molk/Martin (due as much to intangibles, those who stayed, etc etc as they are not quite as talented as some of the others).
Hart, Graham, Long
Guys, unlike basketball, I think every nominee here makes it in.
Molk, Martin, Manningham, Avant, Hart, Woodley, Long
Is it the low Fantangibles? Is that really what it's all about? Because Henne deserves being mentioned in the "this was brutal, can't believe I had to leave these people out" section, if not in the MGo HoF outright.
Co sign as to Henne, RBV, and Breaston.
is Hart, Martin, Molk. But I'll probably come back to this thread in a day or two, or by the time the voting happens, and I'll think up a different group of 3 as there are so many good choices.
It's really tough to rank Hart because I love him so much, but when it comes down to it the only thing about him that was truely elite was his mouth... And I don't say that to disrespect him but people like long, graham, and woodley were men amongst boys...
All these guys deserve to be in.
I can't leave any of these guys off the list. List for football needs to be much, much longer.
Too hard. But if forced to choose:
And if I could choose more:
And if I left anyone off the list, it would be:
Manningham Harris & VanBergen
Having said that, these kinds of things are largely subjective. I remember most of these guys very fondly.
You just can't leave Breaston off of the list of first ballot hall of famers. He was the most electric player at Michigan since Desmond.
So many iconic moments. Very much like Denard's debut, Mustburger's call of is first touch in the ND game of his freshmen year, when he nearly took the PR back to the house is so awesome. The Rose Bowl record setting performance. The smile, the slam poetry the can do attitude.
Carr's Last Second moment wouldn't have happened but for Stevie's big return to set it up.
Breaston must be in the Hall on the first ballot!
1). Mike Hart.
2). Jake Long
3). Mike Martin. (Anyone who causes me to yell "[EXPLETIVE DELETED}, get the car, it's Mike Martin!" anytime he did something is worthy of this honor.)
I do concur that Henne needed a mention, and I do agree with the idea that if this is the MGoHall is about the Blog, then Zoltan has to be in.
2) Brandon Graham
3) David Molk
To MGoBlog, I think the most important football players have been Mike Hart, Brandon Graham, and Mike Martin. I'll join the argument that Zoltan has been a big part of this blog, too. Manningham provided big moments and Long was overall their best player, but I'm not sure they resonate with the Blog like the first three I mentioned. Denard will be a lock when eligible, obviously.
are going to get in. I suspect that it is Brian's intentions that we will have a few 3-player classes over the next few years. That way a each of these players can have a little more attention on their profile when inducted. On average, there will probably be only 1 or 2 HOF type players per graduating class, so in time we will catch up. I am not worried about any of these guys being left out (with the possible exception of Avant).
The first class to a HOF is obviously extra-special, though. So, which of these players, all evental HOFers, are that extra-special?
For me, as good as they were, that clearly excludes Hart, Avant and Van Bergen. All will probably be deserving, but not in the initial class.
Jake Long is probaly one of the top 3 or 4 offensive linemen I've ever seen play at Michigan, and that says a lot. Every bit as dominating as Jumbo Elliott, Bubba Paris, and Skrepnak (I know I am forgetting a few that belong on this short list). He would have my first vote.
Brandon Graham was also one of the best defensive linemen I've seen, and that was with little help, particularly at linebacker.
David Molk was one of the best centers Michigan's had and one of its only Rimington award winners. The offense (particularly the run game) always seemed to struggle when he was not in the game.
I hate leaving out Manningham, Martin, and Woodley, but they will constitute my second class (unless I drop one for Denard, which probably depends on the coming season).
Steve Everitt was another favorite of mine, can't believe I forgot him. Few tougher, and he had a really good pro career. I think there are a few more that should still be on that list, though.