If you were to sort everything in the world by a factor of how much I pay attention to it vs. actual importance, what jersey numbers Michigan players wear is probably just below and to the left of Alan Trammell's snub.
His career was merely "average" for a Hall of Fame shortstop
If you don't care, I respect that; here's a report from BBC news on the rising nuclear tensions in South Asia that probably matters a lot to the long-term stability of the region and the horrifying possibility that our species might some day wipe out the better portion of the lifeforms we know of. If you do care who wears the numeral we associate with Woodson, maybe read up enough on the arms deal first so people will know you've got your priorities straight. All set? Alright here's what I think we should do with the Legends numbers.
The Legends Question
Earn it, Keith
I don't think anybody knows what they'll do with the program now. Hackett seems earnest in this evaluation period. I also have an idea where some of the pushback is coming from, since former players—in email groups, in private, and some publically—are a key demographic against them. Part of that's a get-off-my-lawn attitude among older guys regarding the over-attention paid to jersey numbers by kids these days. Part of it's the same jarring fan sensation of having long associations undone—the Kovacs Principle—and part of it's a new guy wearing sacrosanct numbers every year. I saw more complaints about Funchess wearing 87 while not blocking than Moore wearing it while not playing.
I wish they would keep this program, but only for underclassmen. The Seth Plan:
- Establish a set of attainable criteria for each number. Past Legends have input but this shouldn't be the Braylon gauntlet—that worked for Braylon because Carr tailored it specifically to Braylon.
- Establish a set of higher criteria for getting added to the patch.
- Underclassmen interested in wearing a Legends number apply to their coaches
- Number must be earned before a player either starts his 15th game, or reaches the end of his sophomore season of eligibility, whichever comes first.
- Back-elevate past Michigan greats based on Legends criteria.
- Add 2 (for Woodson, defensive backs), 77 (for OTs: Lewan, Long, Jansen, Jenkins), 46 (Harry Newman, for special teams players), and 27 (Benny Friedman, for quarterbacks) to the program. Make 98 for running backs.
- Establish a set of criteria for having a new number Legendsized (so future HSPs can hope to wear #5)
I imagine if more than one young player wants the same number Harbaugh won't mind competition.
Projecting the Fall Arrivals
I used to try this every year: attempt to predict numbers for the new guys to wear. Before MGoBlog it was an annual rite of rostering the new NCAA game. Last year I missed it; in 2013 I went 12 for 22 with the scholarship guys, but that was in June when some guys already knew their numbers. This year I'm gonna try to do it early and honestly.
[My methodology and sure-to-be-incorrect predictions, after the jump]
The numbers I'm avoiding:
Residual Legends: I'm guessing for now they will re-retire. Let's just figure that 1, 11, 21, 47, 87, and 98 are out of circulation for incoming players, and 48 will be once Morgan moves on.
Walk-On Rules: Typically a walk-on doesn't get to hold onto his number if a scholarship guy comes along, but upperclassmen who've worked their way into the two-deep and preferred walk-ons are usually exempt from this. Other than the Holy Order of St. Kovacs, this includes running back Antonio Whitfield, receiver Bo Dever, fullbacks Joe Kerridge and Bobby Henderson, offensive lineman Greg Froelich, linebacker Dan Liesman, cornerback AJ Pearson, and kickers/punters Kenny Allen, Kyle Seychel, and Ryan Tice.
Already Filled: These numbers have a guy on both units already. Hoke didn't like this very much so there's not very many of them anymore. They are 7 (Morris and Poggi), 12 (Malzone and Gant), 18 (Whitfield and Pearson), 19 (Speight and Jared Wangler), 33 (Shallman and Taco), 44 (Winovich and Delano Hill), 52 (Mason Cole and RJS), and 73 (Fox and Hurst). Also I've counted 29 and 23 out because Ross Taylor-Douglas and Dennis Norfleet may play either unit.
Available to Offensive Players Only: I've noted (in maize) the numbers of defensive players who are likely to be on special teams. Receivers, fullbacks, and other guys planning to try out for kickoff and punt coverage/return duties should avoid these.
2, 5, 8, 9, 13, 15, 22, 25, 26, 28, 30, 31, 34, 35, 41, 42, 43, 50, 53, 56, 59, 66, 69, 90, 91, 93, 96, 99
Available to Defensive Players Only: 3, 4, 10, 14, 17, 20, 27, 32, 36, 37, 39, 45, 51, 55, 57, 61, 62, 67, 71, 72, 74, 76, 78, 80, 81, 82, 83, 84, 85, 86, 88, 94
Open Numbers: 6, 16, 24, 38, 40, 46, 49, 54, 58, 60, 63, 64, 65, 68, 70, 75, 77, 79, 89, 92, 95, 97
|Jake Rudock||QB||15||Grbac||Wore it at Iowa and was his high school number. Apologies to Garrett Moores|
|John O'Korn||QB||5||Tate, Wangler||Wore it at Houston and Aquinas before that (WR Ken Sloss is a sr.)|
|Zach Gentry||QB||16||Navarre, Denard, Reimersma||Was 11 in high school, but said that was just assigned.|
|Karan Higdon||RB||22||Gerald White||His varsity jacket reads "deuce-deuce."|
|Tyrone Wheatley Jr.||TE||99||Lots of DE/OLB types||Dad's 6 is open, but he wears 9. Our TEs wear 90s now.|
|Grant Perry||WR||13||Greg Mathews||Puts his locker next to fmr Rice teammate Malzone.|
|Grant Newsome||OT||77||Also Tony Pape||LTT has 72, but the Mich OT number is open|
|Nolan Ulizio||OG||70||Doherty, Erhardt||It's open.|
|Jon Runyan Jr.||OC||69||Jon Runyan Sr.||His 75 is open but doesn't seem to shy away from Dad.|
|Shelton Johnson||SDE||97||Beyer||Poggi is wearing his #7. This works.|
|Reuben Jones||WDE||55||B.Graham||Unless Delano Hill gives up 44.|
|Tyree Kinnel||S||24||Bobby Abrams||Wears 2 for Woodson now so...|
|Wayne Lyons||CB||3||Marlin, TH, Tripp||Countess is sittin on his # too.|
|Keith Washington||CB||6||Taylor, Warren||Lowest digit available. Wore 2 in HS|
|Andrew David||K||38||Rivas||Is a kicker|
|Blake O'Neill||P||39||DeLong, Finley||Houma isn't on punt coverage so okay to keep his #|