But which position he? [Patrick Barron]
Here’s some very important #content for #content week as our focus remains on pushing out two very important projects. MGoBlog photographer Eric Upchurch last night tweeted one of those “make your all-time” lists that generate the same answers (our board is up to that now). I thought I’d up the difficulty/interest by theming them, sort of like how Ace made his all-Beilein teams last year. First: the 5-stars.
Rule: Has to be over 4.5 stars on my database and a five-star to someone.
Cut-off: Had to commit (or transfer) to Michigan after 1989. If you want all-Bo teams talk to Dr. Sap, and anything earlier go to MVictors, because I’m not old enough to have strong opinions on anyone before the mid-1990s. Also my recruiting database only goes back to 1990 (yes, millennials, crootin existed before the Rivals database).
Quarterback: Chad Henne
No this entire post won’t be me posting gifs and slapping some words on it; I just wanted to try it once.
Four-year starter, his healthy junior season was the best by a Michigan quarterback under Lloyd Carr despite being up against a parade of NFL draft picks. Drew Henson at his best was the best, but as the owner of a Henson jersey I can vouch it was Henne who really rescued the value of that purchase.
Speaking of that parade, partly because the position gets ranked higher, Michigan has brought in a LOT of five-star quarterbacks. Brandon Peters didn’t get anyone’s 5th star but was a 4.60 for reference.
Other candidates: Shea Patterson, Shane Morris, Devin Gardner, Ryan Mallett, Clayton Richard, Matt Gutierrez, Drew Henson, Jason Kapsner
Running Back: Tyrone Wheatley, Anthony Thomas
The first time I learned that Michigan had to convince high-schoolers to play for them—rather than, I dunno, springing from midfield or something—was a Free Press article about Wheatley being the most perfect human-football specimen ever produced in the state. Wheatley is the but… response to “are our 5-star running backs cursed?” You youngsters probably don’t know what it feels like to have this massive pair of shoulder pads gliding away from smurfs (and Nits). To this day his signature shoulder-dip is my go-to move when trying to dodge a person in an enclosed space.
If you do have a frame of reference, it’s probably because A-Train was a near carbon copy of #6. Thomas didn’t have much of a pro career but he was a great college player, fast enough to return kicks and one of the best pass blocking RBs of the modern era. And he always. Fell. Forward.
Other candidates: Kareem Walker, Ty Isaac, Derrick Green, Kevin Grady, Kelly Baraka, Justin Fargas, (okay okay we’re cursed!), Ricky Powers.
[After the JUMP: This all could have been (was) a Tweet. Happy June]
Fullback: Chris Floyd
Yes back in the day fullbacks got five stars.
Other candidates: Demetrius Smith, J.J. Brown
Tight End: Jerame Tuman, Devin Asiasi :(
Sorry. Maybe you’ll understand if I show you what the pool was?
Other candidate: Tim Massaquoi (was a WR)
Wide Receiver: Amani Toomer, David Terrell, Marquise Walker
No YOU pick just two of them (Mario barely missed a 5th star else it’s four). Toomer was the possession receiver-plus we don’t use enough for YMRMFSPA comparisons because Avant and Hemingway are more our era. Also Toomer could also just blow by a guy. Please note in the video above how the Michigan fans would get really loud when the usual handoff suddenly became a play-action and our eyes shifted downfield to find 18 going deep. THROW THE BALL MORE!
Then there’s my classmates, Terrell and Walker. Terrell blossomed first, abusing the tiny corners of Alabama once Michigan realized they’re allowed to exploit that. Walker hung around after the party and was basically Michigan’s offense in 2001.
Other candidates: DPJ, Drake Harris, Darryl Stonum, Antonio Bass :(, Tyrone Butterfield, Seth Smith, Mercury Hayes
Offensive Line: Jeff Backus, Damon Denson, Rod Payne, Maurice Williams, Trezelle Jenkins
Two more All-Americas to go, Cesar. [UM Bentley Library]
Weighted towards OTs (for good reason) so you can choose which right tackle slides inside. While Michigan’s hit rate on straight 4-stars is pretty low on the OL, the five-stars usually floored at “decent” and most were longtime starters. Denson and Maurice Williams both came in as defensive linemen (so did Hutchinson but he wasn’t as highly recruited). Trezelle (Superprep #1 offensive lineman of 1991) is the 77 everyone forgets (even if they include Tony Pape) for some reason even though he started 28 games. Payne will make it tough for Ruiz to eventually crack this lineup.
Others: Cesar Ruiz, Patrick Kugler, Justin Boren, Jason Brooks, Ben Bredeson, Kyle Bosch, Kyle Kalis, Stephen Schilling, Todd Mossa, Dann O'Neill, Tony Pape
Defensive Tackle: Will Carr, Jason Horn
remember when two five-stars shut down the double-Heisman walk-on?
You guys all underrate Gabe Watson but I thought it was close because Watson was really good. Horn maybe gets knocked down in the Michigan memory banks because he was starting as an underclassman on teams with better players around him, and was a very good upperclassman on teams with severe linebacker problems behind him. I remember him from when I was first starting to pay attention to more than quarterbacks and running backs, and #94 was this neck roll with legs constantly jumping on the back of some poor penned in soul (or spooking Stanley Jackson into another interception).
Will Carr was Greg Mattison’s other DT of that era, and was an All-American his senior year in part thanks to Horn requiring a lot of attention, and in part thanks to that massive ass. Watch the other side of the Biakabutuka game sometime. That’s good enough for a surprisingly short list given how well Michigan’s developed DTs over the decades. Aubrey could supplant him. Others: Aubrey Solomon, Ondre Pipkins, Marques Slocum, Walter Reggans
Defensive End: Brandon Graham, Rashan Gary
We could argue about including Rashan Gary over LaMarr Woodley here, or we can punt Woodley to the next section and watch BG highlights outside of the context we originally had to.
Others: Vilain, Roh, Jamison, Pat Massey, Juaquin Feazell, Rasheed Simmons, David Bowens
Linebacker: LaMarr Woodley, Victor Hobson, Prescott Burgess
I lobbied on the Daily to make the caption for this “Alijah Bradley up here like ‘us sixes really won this thing!’” which my editor now lets me do as I please SUCK IT SCHWARTZ
FIVE SIX SIX SIX. All OLBs and I was tempted to use Peppers for a spot here too, but I was already cheating by shoehorning in Woodley as 3-4 OLB when Hobson is already here as an EDGE-ish player.
But look at the options at DE above versus the choices at LB below. So I went with the plain best three; if you’re making a lineup you probably swap in Bolden for Hobson? But I’m a Bolden non-plusser while Victor Hobson was a four-year starter, holds the Michigan record for TFLs, and sat next to me at graduation before going on to a decent NFL career. Burgess was Jonas Mouton better coached, but had an annoying habit of coming up too fast on running quarterbacks. When I looked back for highlights of this I realized part of that was who the running quarterbacks were.
Others: Crable, Pierre Woods, Trevor Pryce, and Shawn Collins at SAM, Singleton at MIKE, Bolden, Mouton, and Bobby Powers at WLB.
Safety: Jabrill Peppers, Tommy Hendricks
Good enough, not enough.
Safety is going to be slim pickings in any all-Michigan list of the last few decades. If you want to call Peppers a hybrid space player and put Dymonte Thomas in here I’m game. Shazor is overrated and Cato wasn’t good until he became an outside linebacker in the NFL don’t @ me.
Others: Ernest Shazor, Cato June, Clarence Thompson, Brian Cole, Dymonte Thomas, Ryan Mundy
Cornerback: Charles Woodson, Marlin Jackson, David Long
Everyone since is merely the next. [UM Bentley]
Nobody’s arguing the greatest defensive player of his era. Nobody’s arguing that among the next-Woodsons (every cornerback who was going to be hot shit was called a next-Woodson) Marlin Jackson, two-time All-American, was the best. And only one person at Michigan can argue for leaving off David Long, but since Michigan graduated Jourdan Lewis and got the same level of production in 2017, and that one guy is just Long’s position coach who said the same crap last year, QED.
Big gap, then: JT Turner, Donovan Warren, Doug Dutch, James Whitley, Deollo Anderson