Best Michigan Football Player from Each State

Submitted by Maize.Blue Wagner on July 9th, 2012 at 12:41 AM


As a slow offseason continues, I thought a discussion of the best University of Michigan football player from each state might be of interest.  First, a few notes of explanation:

Inspiration: A while ago, I discovered Seth's post from February of 2009 discussing the best player by jersey number.  I found it a very interesting read, and perhaps it's more interesting now because we can already look back and see what number might have a new "best" (see, number 16).  Also, Magnus' post at TTB that analyzes 2012 recruiting by state is an interesting continuation of this idea.

For what it's worth, I was just browsing through Rivals 2012 Michigan football preview magazine at Barnes and Noble.  Apparently, they did a story that is somewhat similar to this, though they didn't mention who they considered best from each state.  They did list how many had come from each state, and my numbers may be different from theirs because counting every player was not easy.  However, I am positive that there were two players from Hawaii, though they list zero. Maybe they didn't realize that Bentley has Hawaii listed under HA, as opposed to its normal postal abbreviation of HI?

Disclaimer: I acknowledge that my choice of "best" for each state is extremely subjective. In some cases I thought the choice was clear-cut; in others, there was very little information available for any of the players from the state, and my choice wasn't much more than a guess. As with any exercise of this type, it is difficult to compare eras because of differences in scoring, scheme, equipment, schedule, etc.

Sources: My primary source was Bentley's searchable roster.  I also used Bentley's team history index extensively, as well as the Statistics Archives at The latter's current roster, and Rivals listing of the incoming class of 2012 were also helpful. Finally, I used generic internet searches to find out what Google had to say about a particular player.


  • Total: 6
  • First: Theodore Fortson - Line - Montgomery - 1924
  • Most recent: Max Martin - RB - Madison (Bob Jones) - 2004
  • Best: Marcus Knight - WR - Sylacauga (Comer) - 1996-99

Knight isn't the toughest choice as best from Alabama.  He had just over 1,500 yards receiving and 8 touchdowns along with almost 200 yards in punt returns.


  • Total: 1
  • First: Jermace Jackson - DB - Anchorage (Bartlett) - 2007
  • Most recent: Jermace Jackson - DB - Anchorage (Bartlett) - 2007
  • Best: Jermace Jackson - DB - Anchorage (Bartlett) - 2007

Easy choice for Alaska as well. I have no memory of Jackson, and the internet turned up zero information on him.  He was a junior in '07 and listed at 5'11" 210 lbs.


  • Total: 9
  • First: Herschel Smith - LB - Phoenix - 1911
  • Most recent:  (Tie) Craig Roh - DE - Scottsdale (Chaparral) - 2009-present                                             Taylor Lewan - OL - Scottsdale (Chaparral) - 2009-present
  • Best: Taylor Lewan - OL - Scottsdale (Chaparral) - 2009-present

I picked Lewan over Roh and Norman Heuer/Boebert.  I still believe Roh has great potential, but the many, well-document transitions have taken their toll on him. I remember Heuer as being a decent player (Hoke coached, so obviously), but not necessarily a key player on his teams.  The pick of Lewan is based partly on potential, but he has already established himself as a two-year starter at arguably the most important position on the offensive line.  


  • Total: 5
  • First: Albert Moore - HB - Fayetteville - 1883
  • Most recent: Ryan Mallet - QB - Texarkana (Texarkana) - 2007
  • Best: Zach Adami - OG - Maumelle (Little Rock Catholic) - 1993-97

Mallet certainly had the talent and produced after he transferred to Arkansas, but as far as best 'M' player, I have to go with Adami.  He was a three year starter, playing a different position each year.  In '95 he played LG, in '96 he played RG, and finally he stepped in as Center on the '97 National Championship team.  That's impressive flexibility and an important leadership role on a championship team.


  • Total: 69
  • First: Norman Sterry - LE - Los Angeles - 1900-02
  • Most recent: (Tie) Joey Burzynski - OL - Carlsbad (Carlsbad) - 2011-present

Matt Wile - PK - San Diego (Francis Parker) - 2011-present

Erik Magnuson - OT - Carlsbad (La Costa) - 2012

  • Best: Jim Harbaugh - QB - Palo Alto (Palo Alto) - 1982-86

Despite the larger number of players from California, I feel that the choice of Harbaugh is fairly obvious.  Most of Tom Brady's fame has come from the NFL, and Amani Toomer was a good receiver but not in an elite group. Harbaugh threw for 5,449 yards and 31 touchdowns, and he was an All-American (the most recent 'M' QB to earn that honor), team MVP, and team captain for his senior year in '86.


  • Total: 24
  • First: (Tie) William Caley - G - Boulder (U of Colorado) - 1896-98

  Norwood Ayers - E - Colorado Springs - 1896-97

  • Most recent: Steve Watson - TE (and OLB, DE, and TE) - Cherry Hills Village (Mullen) - 2007-11
  • Best: Burnie Legette - FB - Colorado Springs - 1989-92

Frankly, I was at a loss for this one.  The two most recent players, Watson and Greg Banks were role players, and the only other players who had careers longer than 2 years were Legette, Caley, a FB from the early '50s named Robert Hurley, and a QB from the late teens named Harold Zieger. I don't remember Legette, but he rushed for 653 yards and scored 4 times. He also caught one touchdown.


  • Total: 13
  • First:  (Tie) George Herr - QB - Waterbury - 1899

  John Francis McDonough - HB - Nangatack - 1899

  • Most recent: Todd Mossa - OL - Darien (Darien) - 1997-2000
  • Best: John (Fritz) Seyferth - FB - Darien (Darien) - 1968-1971

I can't say I knew of Seyferth before this, but he started 7 games in his junior year and every game in his senior year ('71).  He had 529 yards rushing, and 14 total touchdowns (12 rushing/2 receiving).


  • Total: 1
  • First: Tony Kelsie - MG - Dover (Ceasar Rodney) - 1978-80
  • Most recent: Tony Kelsie - MG - Dover (Ceasar Rodney) - 1978-80
  • Best: Tony Kelsie - MG - Dover (Ceasar Rodney) - 1978-80

Again, I'd never heard of Kelsie before I researched this, but he is the only player to hail from Delaware.  Interestingly, he is listed as beginning his career as a DB at 6' 200 lbs. and then as a Middle Guard his last years, but he lost an inch and only gained 8 pounds.  He started 3 games his last year.

District of Columbia

  • Total: 13
  • First: Paul Magoffin - HB - Washington D.C. - 1904-07
  • Most recent: Cato June- FS - Washington D. C. (Anacostia) - 1998-2002
  • Best: Paul Magoffin - HB - Washington D.C. - 1904-07

Magoffin was a regular starter for all of his four years, and he served as team captain his senior year.  June had a solid career and was also a regular starter, but he was never selected for any individual honors, such as All-Big 10 or team captain.


  • Total: 69
  • First: Purl Woodruff - Forward - Westville - 1881
  • Most recent: (Tie) Richard Ash - DT - Pahokee (Pahokee) - 2010-present

Ricky Barnum - OL - Lakeland (Lake Gibson) - 2008-present

Jeremy Gallon - WR - Apopka (Apopka) - 2009-present

Brendan Gibbons - PK - West Palm Beach (Cardinal Newman) - 2009-present

Brandin Hawthorne - LB - Pahokee (Pahokee) - 2009-present

Mike Jones - LB - Orlando (Edgewater) - 2009-present

Ricardo Miller - WR - Orlando (Dr. Phillips) - 2010-present

Denard Robinson - QB - Deerfield Beach (Deerfield Beach) - 2009-present

Marvin Robinson - S - Winter Haven (Lake Region) - 2010-present

Vincent Smith - RB - Pahokee (Pahokee) - 2009-present

  • Best: Anthony Carter - WR - Riviera Beach (Riviera Beach) - 1979-82

Denard or AC? Probably the answer will depend on what generation you're from, but despite being born three years after Carter played, I still went with him.  Ultimately, this could be Denard, but I think that depends on what happens this season. Carter is one of the legendary figures in 'M' history, and at this point, I believe he should get the nod as best from Florida.  Honorable mention: Steve Everitt, Brian Griese, Stefan Humphries, and Steve Hutchinson.

Oddly, Steve King is listed 5 times in Bentley. In 4 of them (SO, JR, SR, SR), he is "Stephen L.", and in one (FR) is "Steven R." I presume it is the same person because both are from the same high school (Palm Beach Gardens), play the same position (DB), and are roughly the same size.  Bentley error? Something more interesting? Any story behind this?


  • Total: 13
  • First: Eugene Edward - NA - Atlanta - 1922
  • Most recent:  (Tie) Carlos Brown - RB - Franklin (Heard County) - 2006-09

David Cone - QB - Statesboro (Statesboro) - 2006-09

Jordan Owens - SR - Alpharetta (Alpharetta) - 2009

  • Best: Jeff Backus - OL - Norcross (Norcross) - 1996-2000

I'm sure some will be upset that the nod didn't go to Cone, but Backus started every game at LT for 4 years, earned All-Big 10 honors twice, and was a 1st round NFL pick.


  • Total: 2
  • First: William Crockett - NA - Wailuku Maui - 1945
  • Most recent - John Althouse - LB - Honolulu (Arthur Radford) - 1985
  • Best: John Althouse - LB - Honolulu (Arthur Radford) - 1985

Althouse wins based on the fact that he actually has a listed position. Both players were listed as freshman in their only year.


  • Total: 4
  • First: Gilmore Price - E - Fort Sheridan - 1894
  • Most recent: Rex Wells - G - Twin Falls - 1943 (his classification is listed as "M" - married? mature?)
  • Best: Edward Dickey - NA - Weiser - 1901, 1903

I don't know a thing about Dickey, but he's the only player to come from Idaho to play for more than one season, and he played on the "Point-a-Minute" teams.


  • Total: 491
  • First: Frank Allen - Forward - Aurora - 1879-80
  • Most Recent: Chris Bryant - OL - Chicago (Simeon) - 2011-present

      Graham Glasgow - OL - Aurora (Marmion Academy) - 2011-present

      Michael Schofield - OL - Orland Park (Carl Sandberg) - 2009-Present

  • Best: Erick Anderson - LB - Glenview (Glenbrook South) - 1987-91

It's amazing the number of offensive linemen that come out of Illinois.  David Molk, Michael Scholfield, Tony Pape, Mark Donahue, Perry Dorrestein, Thomas Guynes, Trezelle Jenkins, George Lilja, not to mention a few more coming in the class of 2013. That said, I went with the linebacker Anderson as the best from the state.  Of all the great defense players that have gone through this program, Anderson is second third in career tackles.  He started 3 and a half of his four eligible years, led the team in tackles all four years, and in his senior year he won the Butkus award and was named team captain and All-American.

I wasn't sure what exactly to do with the Wistert brothers.  Obviously they deserve a mention, but I certainly do not have enough knowledge of that era to know if one deserves recognition more than another  or if any would be considered the best ever in the state.  Honorable mention also to Bump Elliott, Mike Mallory, and Dave Molk. 

Incidentally, Illinois is also a great state for brothers: Andersons, Elliotts, Mallory (but not Curt), and Wisterts.            


  • Total: 181
  • First: Edmund Barmore - QB - Jeffersonville - 1879-80
  • Most recent: Kris Pauloski - PK - Indianapolis (Pike) - 2009-11
  • Best: Tom Harmon - HB - Gary (Horace Mann) - 1937-40

Harmon is a pretty easy choice for the state of Indiana and I don't think much more needs to be said about his exploits; however, I would be remiss to not mention Germany Schulz, center from 1904-08 with a year hiatus (during which he put on nearly 35 pounds).  Also special mention to Jason Horn and Glen Steele, two childhood favorites.


  • Total: 47
  • First: David DeTar - Rusher - Boone - 1879
  • Most recent: Amara Darboh - WR - West Des Moines (Dowling) - 2012
  • Best: Adrian Arrington - WR - Cedar Rapids (Washington) - 2004-07

I hope I'm not slighting anyone from the olden days by choosing Arrington, but Iowa is odd because of the 46 players from there, only three played more recently than 1935 and only Arrington is more recent than 1965 (and now Darboh).  I had already forgotten that Arrington put up some pretty good numbers; he finished with nearly 1,500 yards receiving and 16 touchdowns.


  • Total: 13
  • First: (Tie) George Davison - NA - Wichita - 1901

 Moses Johnson - NA - Wichita - 1901-02

  • Most recent:  Austin Panter - LB - Athol (Kensington/Butler CC) - 2007-08
  • Best: Jerame Tuman - TE - Liberal (Liberal) - 1994-98

Honestly, Tuman has to be in the top two best Tight Ends in 'M' history, along with Jim Mandich.  Tuman caught more TDs (13 to 6) and had better average yards receiving (13.1 to 12.6), but Mandich had more yards receiving (1489 to 1279) and of course, the iconic photo from after the '69 victory over OSU. Tuman was also a three time All-Big 10 and an All-American in '97.

An honorable mention goes to Monte Robbins who continues to hold the record for the longest punt in school history (82 yards).  Other interesting notes about Kansas: I never knew President Eisenhower's brother Edgar played on the football team in 1912, and there was a player named Sherry E. Martin on the team in 1929 -- the only football player to have the name Sherry in school history.


  • Total: 26
  • First: Louis Curran - E - Louisville - 1921-23
  • Most recent: Jeremy Clark - DB - Madisonville (North Hopkins) - 2012
  • Best: Bubba Paris - OT - Louisville (DeSales) - 1978-81

Ok, I picked Paris partly because I've had a football card of him most of my life. However, he was an All-American, a two year starter at LT, and the 29th overall pick in the 1982 draft. 


  • Total: 18
  • First: Earnest Ratliff - Line - Lake Charles - 1923-24
  • Most recent: Drew Dileo - WR - Greenwell Springs (Parkview Baptist) - 2010-present
  • Best: Anthony Thomas - RB - Winnfield (Winnfield) - 1997-2000

A high percentage of "good players" from Louisiana - James Hall, Leroy Hoard, Chris Howard - but the A-Train is the undeniable best.  Number two in all-time yards rushing, Thomas also rushed for the most touchdowns of anyone with 55.


  • Total: 2
  • First: Charles Bliss - G - Durham - 1899-1900
  • Most recent: Charles Carter - RG - Lewiston (Brown U.) - 1902, 1904
  • Best: Charles Carter - RG - Lewiston (Brown U.) - 1902, 1904

Carter gets the nod because he was on the Point-a-Minute teams, and he is listed at 236 lbs. in 1904 which, as I understand, is pretty massive for his time. Though it could have been bad weight, and it's hard to say if he had good pad level…or pads at all.


  • Total: 16
  • First: Robert Knode - QB - Baltimore - 1921-22
  • Most recent: (Tie) Blake Countess - DB - Owings Mills (Good Counsel) - 2011-present

              Josh Furman - S - Annapolis (Old Mill Senior) - 2010-present

  • Best: Dhani Jones - ILB - Potomac (Winston Churchill) - 1996-1999

Jones finished his career with 247 tackles, 33 tackles for loss, and 12 sacks. He is the clear-cut best, but I hope that Countess and Poggi give him a run for his money in the coming years.  Also, I suppose we could speculate on whether or not LS Turner Booth should have been offered a scholarship coming out of high school.


  • Total: 46
  • First: George Steadman Holden - QB/HB - Palmer - 1890-91
  • Most recent: Michael Cox - RB - Dorchester (Avon Old Farms) - 2008-11
  • Best: Jamie Morris - RB - Ayer (Ayer) - 1984-87

I never realized that Morris was actually listed as a WR when he started his career.  He finished with nearly 4,400 yards and was the all-time leading rusher until Anthony Thomas broke his record.  Honorable mention goes to Todd Collins and Greg McMurtry. 


  • Total: 2,601 (Can't guarantee this number is completely accurate, counting every name was a tedious task.)
  • First: (Tie) William Calvert - Sub - Ann Arbor - 1879-80

     Charles Campbell - HB - Detroit - 1879

     John Chase - Rusher - Ann Arbor - 1879-80

     Thomas Edwards - Rusher - Ann Arbor - 1879

     William Hannan - Rusher - Dowagiac - 1879

     Collins Johnston - HB - Grand Rapids - 1879-80

     Albert Pettit - NA - Ann Arbor - 1879

     Irving Pond - Rusher - Ann Arbor - 1879

     Frank Reed - Rusher - Ann Arbor - 1879

  • Most recent: (Tie) Nate Allspach - TE - Grand Rapids (Grandville) - 2010-present

Al Backey - CB - Ypsilanti (Yspilanti) - 2009-present

Brennan Byer - DE - Canton (Plymouth) - 2011-present

Nathan Brink - DT - Holland (Holland Christian) - 2009-present

Seth Broekhuizen - PK - Holland (Holland Christian) - 2009-present

William Campbell - DT - Detroit (Cass Technical) - 2009-present

Kenny Demens - LB - Oak Park (Detroit Country Day) - 2009-present

Chris Eddins - TE - Detroit (Detroit Country Day) - 2010-present

Dylan Esterline - TE - Blissfield (Blissfield) - 2010-present

Devin Gardner - QB - Detroit (Inkster) - 2010-present

Jareth Glanda - LS - Rochester Hills (Brother Rice) - 2009-present

Cameron Gordon - LB - Detroit (Inkster) - 2009-present

Thomas Gordon - S - Detroit (Cass Technical) - 2009-present

Erik Gunderson - OL - Milan (Milan) - 2009-present

Paul Gyarmati - FB - Birmingham (Brother Rice) - 2008-present

Justice Hayes - RB - Grand Blanc (Grand Blanc) - 2011-present

Delonte Hollowell - DB - Detroit (Cass Technical) - 2011-present

Jeremy Jackson - WR - Ann Arbor (Huron) - 2010-present

Jack Kennedy - QB - Walled Lake (Walled Lake Central) - 2009-present

Joe Kerridge - FB - Traverse City (St. Francis) - 2011-present

Mike Kwiatkowski - TE - Macomb (Dakota) - 2011-present

Kristian Mateus - OL - Ada (Forest Hills Central) - 2010-present

Desmond Morgan - LB Holland (West Ottawa) - 2011-present

Thomas Rawls - RB - Flint (Flint Northern) - 2011-present

Joe Reynolds - WR - Rochester (Rochester Adams) - 2009-present

Baquer Sayed - WR - Dearborn (Fordson) - 2010-present

Floyd Simmons - S - Detroit (Crockett Technical) - 2008-present

Raymon Taylor - DB - Detroit (Highland Park) - 2011-present

Steve Wilson - QB - White Lake (Lakeland) - 2011-present

Ben Braden - OL - Rockford (Rockford) - 2012

Devin Funchess - TE - Farmington Hills (Harrison) - 2012

Matthew Godin - DT - Novi (Detroit Catholic Central) - 2012

Royce Jenkins-Stone - LB - Detroit (Cass Technical) - 2012

Drake Johnson - RB - Ann Arbor (Pioneer) - 2012

Dennis Norfleet - RB - Detroit (Martin Luther King) - 2012

Mario Ojemudia - DE - Farmington Hills (Harrison) - 2012

Terry Richardson - DB - Detroit (Cass Technical) - 2012

James Ross - LB - Orchard Lake (St. Mary's) - 2012  

  • Best: Braylon Edwards - WR - Detroit (Bishop Gallagher) - 2001-04

It's a tough decision to pick one out of around 2,600 players, but the numbers that Edwards compiled are undeniable.  He finished his career with 252 catches, 3,541 yards and 39 touchdowns, all school records.  He also came up with a number of important catches in big moments that have become iconic moments in 'M' history. 

I chose Edwards over Rick Leach (Flint/Southwestern) and Bennie Oosterbaan (Muskegon), and I believe a good case can be made for each.  I also considered Ron Kramer (East Detroit), Gerald Ford (Grand Rapids/South), and Jake Long (Lapeer/Lapeer East). Other players that deserve to be mentioned are Derrick Alexander (Detroit/Benedictine), Forest Evashevski (Detroit/Northwestern), the real RoJo - Ron Johnson (Detroit/Northwestern), Harry Kipke (Lansing/Lansing High), Harry Newman (Detroit/Northern), Neil Snow (Detroit), and Tyrone Wheatley (Inkster/Robichaud).

Finally, I was interested to learn that Dave Brandon (Plymouth/South Lyon) began his career as a QB, but then switched to DE after two years.  However, he didn't have the size increase that you would think would come with this odd position switch; he remained the same size at 6'3" 202 lbs.


  • Total: 34
  • First: Charles Mitchell - goalkeeper - Alexandria - 1879
  • Most recent: Sam Buckman - PK - Tonka Bay (Minnetonka) - 2006-08
  • Best: Bennie Joppru - TE - Wayzata (Minnetonka) - 1998-2002

Joppru had 800 yards receiving and 8 touchdowns over his career at Michigan.  He was also team captain along with Victor Hobson in 2002.  I chose him over Jeff Perlinger a DT who played from 1971-75.  He had 133 tackles in his career and was All-Big 10 in 1974.


  • Total: 1
  • First: Jeremy LeSueur - CB - Holly Springs (Holly Springs) - 1999-2003
  • Most recent: Jeremy LeSueur - CB - Holly Springs (Holly Springs) - 1999-2003
  • Best: Jeremy LeSueur - CB - Holly Springs (Holly Springs) - 1999-2003

So, apparently 'M' has never recruited Mississippi that hard (although wasn't this supposed to be Jay Hopson's best area of recruiting?).  Not that there is any debate on this one, but LeSueur had 167 tackles, 2 sacks, 4 interceptions, and a 60 yard interception return for touchdown against Indiana in 2003.  He was also extremely versatile, starting two games as a RS freshman in 2000 - one at cornerback and one at free safety, five games at cornerback in 2001, seven games at free safety in 2002, and twelve games at cornerback in 2003.


  • Total: 37
  • First: Charles Kellogg Hart - T - St. Louis - 1891
  • Most recent: Jehu Chesson - WR - St. Louis (Ladue Horton Watkins) - 2012

     Ondre Pipkins - DT - Kansas City (Park Hill) - 2012

  • Best: Jon Vaughn - TB - Florissant (McCluer North) - 1988-90

Vaughn had an interesting, but short career at Michigan.  He came to school as a DB, redshirted, and had a relatively quiet RS Freshman year. However, he seemed to burst on to the scene in 1990 with back to back 200+ yard games, including three touchdowns against UCLA.  By the end of the season though Ricky Powers was getting more carries.  Vaughn's success was enough to earn co-Big 10 Offensive Player of the Year award and encourage him to enter the NFL draft early. 


  • Total: 18
  • First: Thomas McNeil - QB - Burdette - 1883-85
  • Most recent: Edward Hickey - HB - Anaconda - 1951-55
  • Best: Thomas McNeil - QB - Burdette - 1883-85

Not going to lie, I'd never heard of McNeil before, and I still don't know much about him.  However, I think him being considered best speaks more to the other players from Montana than about McNeil's abilities.  However, he was the starting QB for three years from 1883-85, and the team was undefeated for the last two of those years (granted that only covered five games).  He also played alongside of Horace Prettyman, so he must have been good.


  • Total: 13
  • First: Luther Gottschalk - Sub - Columbus - 1885
  • Most recent: Brandon Williams - CB - Omaha (Central) - 1999-2002
  • Best: Brandon Williams - CB - Omaha (Central) - 1999-2002

Williams started one game his freshman year, two his sophomore year, one his junior year, and none his senior year.  He had 74 tackles, 8 PBUs, and 2 INTs.  Not out-standing numbers, but Williams is the only player to come from Nebraska since 1940, and the only player to play for more than two years.


  • Total: 2
  • First: Manus Edwards - TB - Henderson (Green Valley) - 1997-98
  • Most recent: George Morales - LS - North Las Vegas (Moajve) - 2008-2011
  • Best: George Morales - LS - North Las Vegas (Moajve) - 2008-2011

I could have gone with Edwards here; after all, he was a part of the '97 National Championship team.  However, Morales was a member of the team for two years longer than Edwards, and he probably saw the field a bit more as a Long Snapper.

New Hampshire

  • Total: 4
  • First: Frank Crawford - Sub - Colebrook - 1891
  • Most recent: Eric Phelps - DE - Salem (Salem) - 1973-76
  • Best: Frank Crawford - Sub - Colebrook - 1891

Despite being listed as a "sub", Crawford was one of the first two coaches for 'M', along with Mike Murphy.  Crawford played in two games and scored a touchdown.  Phelps was the only competition for the title of "best." However, in his four year career, he only played in two games as well and recorded four tackles.

New Jersey

  • Total: 50
  • First: R. D. Law - E - Lawrenceville - 1898
  • Most recent: J. B. Fitzgerald - LB - Princeton Junction (West Windsor Plainsboro) - 2008-11
  • Best: Butch Woolfolk - RB - Westfield - 1978-81

Woolfolk is the easy choice for this state.  He accumulated just under 4,000 yards and scored 29 touchdowns.  He had the longest run from scrimmage: 92 yards against Wisconsin in 1979.  He also rendered useless the tongues of announcers everywhere.  Also of note from New Jersey are Victor Hopson and Dwight Hicks.

New Mexico

  • Total: 2
  • First: William Morley - QB - Socorro Datil - 1895
  • Most recent: Alan Branch - DT - Rio Rancho (Cibola) - 2004-06
  • Best: Alan Branch - DT - Rio Rancho (Cibola) - 2004-06

Branch only played three years but had 61 tackles, 11 TFL, six and a half sacks, and three forced fumbles. He also intercepted a pass against OSU in '06, and provided us with this glorious picture:

New York

  • Total: 133
  • First: (Tie) William Duff - HB - Oswego - 1882, 1884

 William Mace - Rusher - Syracuse - 1882

  • Most recent: John Ferrara - OL - Staten Island (Monsignor Farrell) - 2006-10
  • Best: Mike Hart - RB - Syracuse (Onondaga Central) - 2004-2007

The all-time leading rusher in Michigan history will certainly be chosen as best from their state. Hart gained 5,040 yards, averaging 5 yards a carry, and scored 41 touchdowns.  The interesting thing is that Hart's stellar credentials don't even seem to be necessary.  New York has a severe lack of other top-flight talent, with the exceptions of John Elliott and Marquise Walker.

North Carolina

  • Total: 7
  • First: William Colburn - C - Ashville - 1919
  • Most recent: Jamar Adams - S - Charlotte (Butler) - 2004-07
  • Best: Chris Perry - RB - Advance (Fork Union Military Academy) - 2000-03

Perry comes in at 6th on the all-time rushers list.  In his four year career, he rushed for 3,696 yards and 39 touchdowns. He had 572 yards receiving, averaging 8.7 yards a catch, and caught two touchdowns.  He was also an All-American and the team MVP in 2003.

North Dakota

  • Total: 9
  • First: Richard DePuy - HB - Jamestown - 1879-82
  • Most recent: Robert Wiese - FB - Jamestown - 1941-46
  • Best: Robert Wiese - FB - Jamestown - 1941-46

I couldn't find any stats on Wiese, but he won the Meyer Morton Award in 1942, team MVP and All-Big 10 in 1943, and team captain (until he left for military service on November 1) and All-Big 10 in 1944. He came back to start another 6 games in 1946.


  • Total: 683
  • First: Horace Prettyman - Forward - Bryan - 1882-90 (yes, an astounding 8 years)
  • Most recent: (Tie) Courtney Avery - CB - Mansfield (Lexington) - 2010-present

                 Jibreel Black - DT - Cincinnati (Wyoming) - 2010-present

                 Tamani Carter - DB - Pickerington (Central) - 2011-present

                 Frank Clark - DE - Cleveland (Glenville) - 2011-present

                 Curt Graman - LS - Cincinnati (Elder) -2009-present

                 Keith Heitzman - DE - Hilliard (Hilliard Davidson) - 2011-present

                 Jordan Kovacs - S - Curtice (Clay) - 2009-present

                 Elliott Mealer - OL - Wauseon (Wauseon) - 2008-present

                 Jack Miller - OL - Perrysburg (St. John's Jesuit) - 2011-present

                 Brandon Moore - TE - Trotwood (Trotwood-Madison) - 2009-present

                 Patrick Omameh - OL - Columbus (St. Francis DeSales) - 2008-present

                 Antonio Poole - LB - Cincinnati (Winton Woods) - 2011-present

                 Jerald Robinson - WR - Canton (South) - 2010-present

                 Roy Roundtree - WR - Trotwood (Trotwood-Madison) - 2008-present

                 Jake Ryan - LB - Westlake (St. Ignatius) - 2010-present

                 Terrence Talbott - CB - Huber Heights (Wayne) - 2010-present

                 Fitzgerald Toussaint - RB - Youngstown (Liberty) - 2009-present

                  Joe Bolden - LB - Cincinnati (Colerain) - 2012

                  Allen Gant - DB - Sylvania (Sylvania Southview) - 2012

                  Willie Henry - DT - Cleveland (Glenville) - 2012

                  Kyle Kalis - OL - Lakewood (St. Edward) - 2012

                  Kaleb Ringer - LB - Clayton (Northmont) - 2012

                  Tom Strobel - DE - Mentor (Mentor) -2012

                  A. J. Williams - TE - Cincinnati (Sycamore) - 2012

                  Jarrod Wilson - DB - Akron (Buchtel) - 2012

                  Chris Wormley - DE - Toledo (Whitmer) - 2012

  • Best: Charles Woodson - CB - Fremont (Ross) - 1995-97

Woodson or Desmond Howard? Howard or Woodson? Is there a wrong answer to that question? Or I suppose conversely, is there a right answer? Ultimately, I went with Woodson for a number of reasons.  He excelled in so many areas of the game.  Woodson was 100% passing the ball (2 for 2), he had 173 rushing yards and two rushing touchdowns, 402 receiving yards and three receiving touchdowns, 78 kickoff return yards, and 407 punt return yards and the one infamous touchdown in '97 against OSU - all of this outside of his natural position of CB.  Woodson finished 162 tackles, one sack, and 25 pass break ups.  He intercepted 18 passes including the amazing pick at MSU in '97. I never realized, or perhaps forgot, that lost in Tim Biakabutuka's performance against OSU in '95, Woodson had two picks in that game. 

Howard finished his career with 2,146 yards receiving and 32 touchdowns.  Of course he also had an impressive performance outside of his normal position with 249 yards and two touchdowns rushing, 1,211 yards and two touchdowns from kickoff returns, and 337 yards and one touchdown from punt returns. 

What stood out about Woodson was that he started from the second game of his freshman year. Howard only played six games of his freshman year.  Woodson was three time All-Big 10, two time All-American, and MVP on the '97 National Championship team. Howard was a two time All-Big 10, and in '91 he was an All-American and team MVP.

The career arcs of Woodson and Howard are remarkably similar.  Both are from Ohio, both played three years before leaving early for the NFL, both were 4th overall picks in the NFL draft, both won Heisman Trophies  highlighted by punt return TDs against OSU, and both left 'M' fans with many iconic moments. Again, I think this choice could go either way, but I'm giving the slight edge to Woodson for the reasons stated above.  

As with the state of Michigan, there are a number of other players from Ohio that deserve special mention.  In another state, they would probably be best, but not in a state that produced two Heisman Trophy winners.  In no particular order: Gordon Bell (Troy/Troy), Bob Chappuis (Toledo/DeVilbiss), Tom Curtis (Aurora), Dan Dierdorf (Canton/Glenwood), Dennis Franklin (Massillon/Washington), Bennie Friedman (Cleveland), Elvis Grbac (Willoughby Hills/St. Joseph), Mike Hammerstein (Wapakoneta/Wapakoneta), Rob Lytle (Fremont/Ross), Jim Mandich (Solon/Solon), Zoltan Mesko (Twinsburg/Twinsburg), Horace Prettyman (Bryan), Michael Taylor (Lincoln Heights/Princeton), and Bob Timberlake (Franklin/Franklin).


  • Total: 11
  • First: Jesse Langley - NA - Alva - 1904-07
  • Most recent: Woodrow Hankins - CB - Owasso (Owasso) - 1992-96
  • Best: Clay Miller - OT - Norman (Norman) - 1981-85

Miller started every game at LT his sophomore season, and then was a full-time starter at RT his junior and senior years.  For his senior year, he earned All-Big 10 honors and won the Meyer Morton, Arthur Robinson Scholarship, and shared the Hugh Rader Jr. awards. 


  • Total: 4
  • First: Willie Heston - HB - Grants Pass - 1901-04
  • Most recent: James Wiley - T - Portland (Lincoln) - 1960-62
  • Best: Willie Heston - HB - Grants Pass - 1901-04

Despite only having four players come out of Oregon, they get the honor of producing one of the best ever (ok actually he was from Illinois for the first 16 years of his life, but for the purpose of this exercise, and for the sake of Oregon, we will go with the state where the player was from as they entered college).  To me, Heston is the face of the Point-a-Minute era.  After following Fielding Yost to Michigan, he was a full-time starter all four years of his career and on four teams that never lost a game.  He was a two time All-American and team captain in 1904, and he held Rose Bowl record for most rushing yards (170) in a game for 59 years.


  • Total: 141
  • First: John Couch - Rusher - Pittsburgh - 1882, 1884
  • Most recent: Jordan Paskorz - TE - Gibsonia (Hampton) - 2010-present

     Kenny Wilkins - DT - Washington (Trinity) - 2010-present

  • Best: Chad Henne - QB - Wyomissing (Wilson) - 2004-07

Can't deny the QB who leads the winningest college football program in history in attempts, completions, yards, and touchdowns.  Henne threw for 9,715 yards and 87 touchdowns.  He also holds the distinction of being a QB who started as a true freshman, held with Rick Leach and Tate Forcier (off the top of my head, others?). I was surprised that the only year that Henne earned All-Big 10 honors was his senior year; ironically, the only year he didn't start every game. 

Honorable mention goes to William Cunningham and Steve Breaston.  Also, the first 'M' Hoke came from PA: Hugh Hoke Jr. a Guard who played in 1955 and 1957.  He hailed from Schuykill Haven.  Finally, I never realized that Bob Ufer also played for the football team. He played in 1939, and no position is listed.

Rhode Island

  • Total: 3
  • First: Frank Zendzian - HB - Providence (Greenbrier Military) - 1931-32
  • Most recent: Donald ZanFagna - QB - Providence - 1948, 1950-52
  • Best: Donald ZanFagna - QB - Providence - 1948, 1950-52

So I never heard of ZanFagna before, but I chose him over the other two, because well, he played four years, two years more than Zendzian.  ZanFagna never started a game, and Google failed to turn up any stats for him.  However, incredibly it did turn up the fact that he is a relatively famous artist. This article claims he was a "star quarterback" and he was drafted by the San Francisco 49ers and St. Louis Cardinals (football).  However, Bentley doesn't list him ever starting a game. Amazing what the interwebs turn up.

South Carolina

  • Total: 7
  • First: Harold Goodwin - NA - Hopkins  (Lower Richland) - 1937
  • Most recent: (Tie) J.T. Floyd - CB - Greenville (J.L. Mann) - 2008-present

     Quinton Washington - DT - St. Stephen (Timberland) - 2009-present

  • Best: Junior Hemingway - WR - Conway (Conway) - 2007-2011

A few years ago, no one would have pegged the oft-injured Hemingway for this spot.  However, he finished his career strong with 1,638 yards receiving and 11 touchdowns.  Chosen over Jonathan Goodwin, I basically picked him for his heroics over Illinois in '10, Notre Dame in '11, and Virginia Tech in the '12 Sugar Bowl.  Hemingway has to have one of the more interesting career paths in 'M' history.  He played in parts of five seasons under Carr, Rodriguez, and Hoke.  Quite a lot transpired from when he caught his first passes from Henne in '07 until his Sugar Bowl MVP performance in January of '12.

South Dakota

  • Total: 13
  • First: Timon John Spangler - C - Mitchell - 1892
  • Most recent: David Lawrence - C - Perronville - 1958
  • Best: Daniel Dworsky - C - Sioux Falls - 1945-48

Dworsky began his career as a FB and started five games as a freshman.  Later, he transitioned to Center, and by his junior year (the '47 team that finished 10-0) he started a game at both positions.  Ever see David Molk do that? Didn't think so…


  • Total: 13
  • First: Horace VanDeventer - Sub - Knoxville - 1889
  • Most recent: Blake Bars - OL - Nashville (Montgomery Bell Academy) - 2012
  • Best: Eric Brackins - ILB - Pigeon Forge (Gatlinburg-Pittman) - 1997-2001

Tom Goss anyone? He was All-Big 10 in '68, but I think the halo outweighs anything else he will ever be remembered for.  Brackins was a two-year started at linebacker, and he was named team captain in '01.


  • Total: 53
  • First: Jack Green - Rusher - Austin - 1879
  • Most recent: (Tie) Russell Bellomy - QB - Arlington (Martin) - 2011-present

Stephen Hopkins - RB - Double Oak (Marcus) - 2010-present

  • Best: Jarrett Irons - ILB - The Woodlands (McCullough) - 1992-96

For a school that has long prided itself on defense, you have to go with Michigan's all-time second leading tackler here. Irons had 429 tackles, four forced fumbles, four fumble recoveries, 19 pass break ups, and two interceptions.  Interestingly, he never recorded a sack.  Irons was also an All-American in '96, a two-time team captain, and two-time All-Big 10.  I chose Irons over Chris Hutchinson.  It's interesting that 'M' got most of their players from Texas in the late '80s through early to mid-90's; not sure why that was such a good time for recruiting Texas.


  • Total: 6
  • First: Robert Gemmel - HB - Salt Lake City - 1882-83
  • Most recent: Sione Houma - RB - Salt Lake City (Highland) - 2012
  • Best: Jeff Holtry - OLB - Salt Lake City (West) - 1994, 1997-98

No offense to any of the players from Utah, but Houma won't have to do much to be considered the best played from the state.  Holtry managed seven tackles, one sack, and one pass break up in his career - better stats than anyone else that came out of Utah.


  • Total: 3
  • First: (Tie) George Athanasion - T - Cuttingsville - 1946-47

 Robert Ballou - T - Chester - 1946-47

  • Most recent: Robert Freeman - E - Brattleboro - 1947-48
  • Best: Robert Ballou - T - Chester - 1946-47

Apparently Fritz Crisler went all out to recruit Vermont in the mid '40s, but it hasn't been touched since. Ballou won the Meyer Morton award in '46. That's all I've got, on any of them.


  • Total: 17
  • First: William Cole - LT - Charlottesville - 1902, 1904
  • Most recent: (Tie) Marell Evans - LB - Richmond (Varina) - 2007-09, 2011

Alex Schwab - DT - Manassas (Osburn Park) - 2010-11

  • Best: David Terrell - WR - Richmond (Huguenot) - 1998-2000

Terrell gets the nod with an impressive overall career. He had 2,317 receiving yards and 23 touchdowns.  Outside of his natural position, Terrell ran for 108 yards and one touchdown; had a total 38 return yards; and recorded eight tackles, two pass breakups, and an interception on defense.  He capped-off the '99 season with an impressive outing of three touchdown and 150 yards receiving against Alabama in the Orange Bowl.  Terrell was All-Big 10 twice and an All-American in '00.

I chose Terrell over Russell Davis who turned in an impressive career in the late '70s.  A Fullback, he rushed for 2,550 yards and 18 touchdowns.  He was team captain and All-Big 10 in '78.


  • Total: 16
  • First: Giovanni Villa - T - Walla Walla - 1893-96
  • Most recent: Stephen Schilling - OL - Bellevue (Bellevue) - 2006-10
  • Best: George Gregory - C - Seattle - 1901-03

I wanted to go with Schilling here, but in evaluating two offensive linemen whose main accomplishment was starting a lot, I had to go with the one who played on three national championship teams. Gregory, like Willie Heston, followed Yost to Michigan from the west coast.  There he anchored the 'M' line from 1901-1903, starting 32 times, and never lost a game.  Schilling's career - with the position changes, coaching changes, and scheme changes - deserves to be mentioned.  Molk, Martin, Hemingway, and Van Bergen got a lot of mention after the '11 season for sticking with the program through a great deal of turmoil.  Despite, not playing under Hoke, I think Schilling should be included in this same group.

West Virginia

  • Total: 11
  • First: Joseph Robins - NA - Charleston - 1914
  • Most recent: Donald Dugger - G - Charleston - 1949-53
  • Best: Howard Yerges - QB - Pt. Pleasant - 1944-47

Yerges holds an interesting distinction of having played for both 'M' and OSU.  He played for the Buckeyes in '43, and then transferred "up north." He started two games in '45 before becoming the full-time starter for his final two years.  In 1947, he was one fourth of the Mad Magicians backfield that led the team to a 10-0 record and a 49-0 beating of USC in the Rose Bowl.  Yerges holds the honor of being called "Crisler's second brain."


  • Total: 70
  • First: Henry Killilea - C - Milwaukee - 1883-84
  • Most recent: Will Hagerup - P - Whitefish Bay (Whitefish Bay) - 2011-present
  • Best: John Navarre - QB - Cudahy (Cudahy) - 1999-2003

When people think of Navarre, inevitably you think of a 6' 6" QB who repeatedly had his passes batted down at the line.  This is probably harsh for a guy who is statistically the second best QB in 'M' history.  Navarre is second behind Henne in attempts, completions, yards thrown, and touchdowns.  Impressively, he is tied for fourth in interceptions thrown, behind several guys who only had half as many attempts.  Navarre was team captain and All-Big 10 in his senior year.


  • Total: 5
  • First: Ernest Dillman - NA - Cheyenne - 1912
  • Most recent: Don Bracken - P - Thermopolis ( Hot Springs) - 1980-83
  • Best: Don Bracken - P - Thermopolis ( Hot Springs) - 1980-83

Of the five players from Wyoming, only Bracken played more than one year.  However, punting records don't seem to have been kept before 1984, so I can't say how much of an impact he had on the field.  However, he did have an eight year NFL career, so he must have had some talent.


And for good measure, the Canadian provinces…



  • Total: 1
  • First: Hugh Wright - C - Winnipeg - 1949
  • Most recent: Hugh Wright - C - Winnipeg - 1949
  • Best: Hugh Wright - C - Winnipeg - 1949

Wright wins by default.


  • Total: 17
  • First: Calvin Wetzel - E - Windsor - 1917
  • Most recent: Chris Roth - FB - Windsor (Belle River) - 1997-98
  • Best: Roy Pella - T - Sudbury - 1950-52

I struggled to find information on any of the players who came out of Ontario.  I gave the nod to Pella simply because he went on to be an Olympian.


  • Total: 7
  • First: Eduardo Azcona - P - Montreal (Vanier College) - 1988-92
  • Most recent: Renaldo Sagesse - DT - Montreal (Vieux Montreal) - 2007-10
  • Best: Tshimanga Biakabutuka - TB - Longueuil (Vanier College) - 1993-95

I realize Biakabutuka was born in Zaire, but again, I'm going with the state/providence that is listed as their hometown in Bentley's records.  He had an excellent career at 'M', rushing for 2,810 yards and 24 touchdowns in just three seasons.  Of course he also had the magical day in November of '95 when he ran for 313 yards against OSU.

An interesting note about Quebec: when a player comes from there, they come to stay. Of their seven players, all were on the team for at least three years, and five of them played at least four years.  Of the two that didn't, Biakabutuka left early for the NFL, and Emmanuel Casseus is listed as a senior in his third and final year of '02.


  • Total: 1
  • First: Lorne MacDonald - HB - Saskatoon - 1957
  • Most recent: Lorne MacDonald - HB - Saskatoon - 1957
  • Best: Lorne MacDonald - HB - Saskatoon - 1957

Again, a winner by default.  If you can find out any more about Lorne MacDonald, please share.


…And all other parts of the world:


England: George Northcroft - LT - London - 1888

Peru: Burton McKenzie - NA - Lima - 1964

Puerto Rico: Frank Harding -C - San Juan - 1892

Poland: Leo Keena - FB - Warsaw - 1897-99


A Final Note:Bentley's records really need to be cleaned up.  It's amazing how many simple typos there are.  Some are obvious; some can lead to great confusion, such as the discrepancy between "Stephen" and "Steven" King. This could lead to some errors in this diary, especially in regards to the number from each state.

In Bentley's searchable roster, there are also a number of players for whom no state is listed.  I suppose this is from error or because there is simply no information available about that player.  However, I don't believe there is anyone of note in that list.







July 9th, 2012 at 2:51 AM ^

Great job, I look forward to doing more than skipping down to the Michigan/Ohio sections.

Edit: I agree with MichGoBlue858, this could be front paged, or at least have excerpts front paged.

Edit two: Would you mind if I used your raw numbers to make a post along different lines? Not any of your analysis, just the numbers.


July 9th, 2012 at 1:27 AM ^

Wow. Thank you for posting this. The totals by state were interesting. Who would have thought more players would have come from Indiana than Pennsylvania? Also, I would have thought there would have been more form Ohio.

Evelkniebler Elf

July 9th, 2012 at 2:22 AM ^

I can't tell you how happy I am that I could just read all of your hard work and not look it up myself, well done.  I'm also surprised that there haven't been more Pennsylvania commits ovet the years considering all of the talent there and the proximity to Michigan.  Thanks again for all of your work.


July 9th, 2012 at 2:26 AM ^

congrats on your impending diarist of the week award. how long did this take you?

i'm not sure i agree about the best player awards for michigan and ohio. i like derrick alexander and tyrone wheatley better than braylon (although that probably has to do with having been 10-12 when they played), and in any case i think long deserves the nod ahead of him. also, i think the ohio deliberation should've been: "Woodson or Desmond Howard? Howard or Woodson? ZOLTÁN!"


July 9th, 2012 at 6:22 AM ^

This was a great, very informative read.  Thanks for putting this together!

I was not aware that we once had a player from a neighbor of Bolivia - that was pretty amusing. It would actually be interesting as well to see the state-by-state totals in some form of density map just for the visualization of recruiting patterns.


July 9th, 2012 at 6:29 AM ^

I think it's interesting that many of the really obscure states had their only representatives many years ago.

Along those lines, how did someone from Montana wind up at UMich way back in the 1880s?

Maize.Blue Wagner

July 9th, 2012 at 9:30 AM ^

Yeah, I kept having the same thought as I put this together.  What circumstances brought some guy across the country to Michigan? Obviously, the prestige wasn't there yet (pre-Yost), and I'm sure it wasn't on a football scholarship. I imagine there are many fascinating stories about these guys that have been forgotten or were never known. 


July 9th, 2012 at 7:32 AM ^

Michigan ... Total: 2,601

It's like the that extra"1" seat (109,901) in Michigan Stadium. :-)

Tremendous job compiling all this.  I salute you.

Maize.Blue Wagner

July 9th, 2012 at 9:50 PM ^

Yeah I think you're right.  Which, if true is the only situation I ran across like that.  Here is his roster entry from Bentley's: 


15 Mallett, Ryan QB 2007 _ Fr. 6-7 252 Texarkana AR Texarkana [Texas]

Now that I think about it, I guess the name of the city should make it obvious that it's half in Texas and half in Arkansas. 


July 9th, 2012 at 8:32 AM ^

...diary. Great concept that was well executed.

More on Don ZanFanga:

“I’m an artist in spite of myself,” says ZanFagna, who began to hone his artistic inclinations after a football teammate at the University of Michigan (where he transferred from West Point) suggested he try an art class. ZanFagna had always had creative aptitude—at age 14 he worked for government contractors sketching parts for airplanes—but ZanFagna was also an aeronautical engineering major, star quarterback, and standout third baseman for the Wolverines. Nonetheless, he changed majors and graduated with a degree in art, architecture, and design. And then, to the head-shaking dismay of many, he turned down a $30,000-a-year major league baseball contract (that’s in 1950s dollars) to pursue his artistic passion. Following a tour of duty in the Korean War, ZanFagna’s first stop as a working artist was Italy, where he studied European masterworks on a two-year Fulbright scholarship. Accompanying him was Oberlin-trained artist Joyce Peck, his muse and bride-to-be.

I don't know about star QB, but ZanFanga assuredly has had an incredibly accomplished life.


July 9th, 2012 at 9:35 AM ^

Very, very interesting! There were more North Dakota players than I thought(which is where I love)! I always dreamt of going to Michigan, but settled for a 4 month internship at the UM Hospital and Domino Farms during 2008. AA is a GREAT city and Michigan Stadium us truly a special, special place.


July 9th, 2012 at 9:47 AM ^

This is a pretty cool post.  I wonder what the split would be on Desmond/Woodson.  Also, this might just be me being a spelling nazi, but I know of no player names Zolton Mesko.  Edit his name, please?


July 9th, 2012 at 9:47 AM ^

This is a pretty cool post.  I wonder what the split would be on Desmond/Woodson.  Also, this might just be me being a spelling nazi, but I know of no player names Zolton Mesko.  Edit his name, please?

Yale Van Dyne Fan

July 9th, 2012 at 10:35 AM ^

...Yale Van Dyne is the best player to come out of Missouri.

One other thought: I didn't know anyone lived in New Mexico in 1895, let alone played football or somehow wound up at Michigan to play football.

Great work on putting this together.


July 9th, 2012 at 10:37 AM ^

I think you did a great job picking the "best of" as well

Michigan's best is pretty tough.  It may be Braylon, but I just don't know.  I'd probably vote for Leach or Weatley.  (I was a student from 95-99 for historical frame of reference.)  I'd be interested in what an older-timer would say about Michigan's best.

To those wondering about old-school western players, I would chalk it up to Michigan being "the West" back in the day (as referenced in The Victors . . . .) 


July 9th, 2012 at 11:27 AM ^

This is tremendous.

Small suggestion: Just to clarify the topic of your diary and to aid it being found via search, you might want to add "Football" to the title, making it: "Best Michigan Football Player from Each State"

Space Coyote

July 9th, 2012 at 12:26 PM ^

That's a lot of words and a lot of work.  I'm fairly exhausted after half-reading/half-skimming it, so writing it had to be fun.  Enjoyed the read and looking back at some great players though. 


July 9th, 2012 at 1:02 PM ^

true picture. I didn't notice any mention of Messner from MI and that's a huge oversight. One of three players in conference history at that time to be All American three years in a row. That is probably a greater accomplishment than is Braylon's stats, that don't mention all his dropped passes either.  But Oosterbaan, no matter what era, just like Tom Harmon should be the choice. Remember he lined up at DE as well and he was considered the best OE and DE simultaneously. And Jake Long giving up one sack his entire careeer - that is questionable inasmuch as Gholston came from opposite side of field in loop action and was probably someone else's assignment.  Almost impossible task you undertook.

You did a great job here and it must have been fun but I think when you're choosing greatest players unless it's a Harmon or Woodson it's almost impossible to not be mislead by the stats that in cases like Long and Messner you just won't see, but were probably actually better at their positions than Braylon was at his.  For example, would Hart have become our all-time leading rusher w/o Long? Would Terrel have gain the same honor w/o same man? Would Henne have w/o him?  Too much to consider, but I know it was done for fun and to maybe give the board something to discuss and on that I have to say you did remarkable job. Very interesting read and it will get people thinking. That much I guarantee. Good Job my man.


Maize.Blue Wagner

July 9th, 2012 at 9:33 PM ^

Yeah exactly, I thought this would be a fun discussion for the board as we all wait for September 1 to get here.  As far as All-Americans, I used Bentley's list, and they do not include Messner as a three-time recipient. Which is an area that can lead to confusion because there are different organizations/people who are choosing All-Americans and different levels of the award (1st team, 2nd team, etc.). You're right though, I should have included Messner in the list of others deserving mention from Michigan. 

According to that list, there are only two three-time All-Americans: Carter and Oosterbaan.  The eras issue is very hard, and Oosterbaan certainly could be considered the best from Michigan. Stats only go so far, but nothing can take away what Edwards did at Michigan to become the statistically best receiver ever. Other good receivers played on very good teams; Edwards set the records. But coming full circle, this is why discussions like this are great. 

snarling wolverine

July 9th, 2012 at 2:13 PM ^

Interesting that we filled our Idaho, Maine and New Hampshire quotas so early. Only one player ever from Mississippi?  Wow.  

BTW, Bernie Legette was a pretty good FB.  He's a worthy choice.  And Biakabutuka counts as being from Quebec - he lived there most of his childhood.

In regards to this question:


It's interesting that 'M' got most of their players from Texas in the late '80s through early to mid-90's; not sure why that was such a good time for recruiting Texas.

Two big factors:

1) the demise of the SWC/relative mediocrity of UT at this time 

2) Greg Mattison (he has ties to the state)


July 9th, 2012 at 2:03 PM ^

I think Bennie Friedman is right up there with Howard and Woodson.  Yes, he didn't win a Heisman, but there's a good reason why:  it didn't exist yet.  If it had, he almost certainly would have won at least one and possibly two Heisman's.  He also was a pioneer; basically the first real forward passing qb in the country.  There's a reason why an entire NFL team was essentially traded for his rights. 


July 9th, 2012 at 5:15 PM ^

You said that Jim Harbaugh was the most recent M QB to be an All American, but Denard was an All American by the Football Writers Association of America at the end of 2010. You could say that he doesn't count because they only listed him as a "back," but he was an M QB All American.


July 9th, 2012 at 8:56 PM ^

Fantastic post, this is the first one that's prompted me to log-in in a few weeks now.  Although I can appreciate why you may have missed a few players in such an all encompassing list, I think Marlin Jackson certainly deserves honorable mention if not "best" consideration for PA. Consensus first team All-American, Freshman All-American, Team Captain, first round NFL draft choice, and 2nd all-time in pass break-ups.  All of this in spite of a couple position switches that all but wasted about a year and a half of his career.