EDIT: I edited the title. I wanted to give Heininger his 15 minutes of fame on our humble blog. Everyone obviously loves Woodson, Carter, and Hart. So do I.
Will Heininger is my favorite player of all-time. Yes, of ALL TIME – Even more than __________ (Insert Michigan Football Legend Here.) Obviously he doesn’t have the accolades of LaMarr Woodley, but you gotta love what this kid represents. A defense is only as strong as its weakest link, and this kid has been steady as a rock next to Mike Martin. Additionally, this kid is absolutely representative of what Michigan football is about – Toughness, determination, pride, tenacity and dedication.
He is an Ann Arbor kid that grew up living and dying for the Maize and Blue, just like every one of us who reads and contributes to this blog. He went to Michigan with the intention of walking on to the team, which was then coached by Lloyd Carr. He was there for the Horror, the Freep Jihad, and the RichRod years.
He was part of a Michigan program that was booed at its own house by its own fans, a team that was the subject of massive amounts of criticism and ridicule from all angles, saw its bowl streak snapped, and lost to Toledo, yet he still went out there and dedicated 5 years of his life to represent Michigan. He was part of a program that went through 2 coaching changes, suffered 4 losses to Michigan State and 4 to Ohio State…..yet he still went out there with his teammates day in and day out and worked his tail off.
He sacrificed his body for the program – he sat out almost a season with a torn ACL and gained over 80 lbs last year to play on a beefed up defensive line. Additionally, he is a high academic kid – he is 4 time All Academic Big Ten and a recipient of the Robinson Award, which is no small feat when you are dedicating 100 percent of your free time to getting ready to compete on Saturdays for the Maize and Blue.
Will’s efforts were not in vain, because I like to think that everything he (and the rest of 132) went through was rewarded by with a victory over OSU and a Sugar Bowl Berth.
Team 132 is one of my favorites of all time, so you better be sure that when I talk about Denard, Mike Martin, RVB and the rest of the squad, Will Heininger’s name will be right up there.
Consider this the official Will Heininger Appreciation Thread…GO BLUE & BEAT VATECH.