September 17th, 2012 at 10:07 PM ^

That might be one of the coolest things I've seen somebody post.  Did you do that?  If so thank you very, very much!

If ever something called for a massive amount of Mod bonus points this is it IMO.


September 17th, 2012 at 10:10 PM ^

which we think is better?  Or just showing them side by side so we can see how awesome both were?  

If the former, I personally have a better connection in my heart to the Denard one as the Wheatley one was just before my time.

If the latter, thanks! they were awesome!


September 18th, 2012 at 7:05 AM ^

He was something else. I like to think of him as the Jim Brown of early '90s college football. At the college level, he had more than enough speed and strength to dominate. Reasonable shiftiness, too. At the NFL level, his skills (speed, notably) didn't stand out as much, but he still had some good years and a long career:

snarling wolverine

September 18th, 2012 at 12:47 PM ^

Wheatley was amazing.  He weighed about 230 pounds and had sprinter's speed.  He received some Heisman consideration, but couldn't stay completely healthy his last two years.  He still was a three-time 1,000-yard rusher.  

In '94 we had Wheatley as our first-string RB and Biakabutuka as our 2nd-string, which is pretty amazing to think about.  We also had a senior QB (Todd Collins), good OL, excellent WR corps (Amani Toomer, Mercury Hayes), great talent all over the defense (Will Carr, Jerrett Irons, Ty Law) . . .that team was loaded.  From 1 through 85 that might have been the most talented Michigan team of the past 20 years.  Unfortunately, Colorado beat us on that Hail Mary and it ripped the team's heart out.  I don't think the team emotionally recovered from that game and finished 8-4. 



September 18th, 2012 at 1:39 PM ^

The '94 team also played an extremely difficult schedule.  They lost nail-biters to a PSU team that finished 12-0, a Colorado team that finished 11-1, and I think there was a 10-win team in there as well.  Almost every opponent went to a bowl - our nonconference slate was Boston College, ND, and Colorado.  Tough schedules can mean a lot of thrilling games, but they can catch up to a team.  It's hard to bring your A game every week.


September 18th, 2012 at 1:57 PM ^

He didn't get the touches that Denard does because of injuries and UM's ridiculous depth at RB during his time in Ann Arbor. (Powers, Jesse Johnson, Ed Davis)


Speed-wise he is right there with Robinson. That he is 4-5 inches taller and 30 lbs heavier makes it all the more amazing.


It is because of this that  put DRob  4th behind Wheatley, Woodson, and AC as the most athletically gifted players UM has had since Harmon.


September 17th, 2012 at 11:06 PM ^

wheatley beat denard to the 30 easily, but then denard starts catching up over the next 70 yards. the camera angles make it hard to see if he actually catches him or not.

edit: UFR, i think they're even at the second 30 they cross. so wheatley starts faster upfield but denard pulls even. i spent more time on that than it was worth, didn't i?


September 17th, 2012 at 11:55 PM ^

From the Syracuse website:

  • Three-time All-Big Ten track & field honoree as a sprinter ( 1993-95)
  • Named Track and Field All American

From Wikipedia:


  • Big Ten 110 metre hurdles champion (1994)
  • All-Big Ten track & field (1994)
  • Big Ten team indoor champions (1994)
  • All-American (college outdoor) (1995)

High school:

  • All-American (high school)
  • Michigan High School Runner of the Year (1991)
  • 8-time MHSAA state champion (1990–91)
  • Record-holder in the long jump in MHSAA (1991–)

EDIT: From the MHSAA website, Tyrone Wheatley holds high school records in:

  • 110 m hurdles, LP Class B: 13.7, Tyrone Wheatley, Dearborn Hts. Robichaud, 1991
  • Long jump, LP Class B: 23-10.75, Tyrone Wheatley, Dearborn Heights Robichaud,1989
  • Four-time individual winners, single meet: Tyrone Wheatley, Dearborn Heights Robichaud: 1990 Class B (long jump, 100, 200, 110 hurdles)


September 17th, 2012 at 10:36 PM ^

wheatley was absurdly fast.  He might have had more straight line speed than denard by just a hair.  But denard's quickness and acceleration are much better.  And, you know, he throws passes and stuff. 


September 17th, 2012 at 11:02 PM ^

I think Denard is probably a teeny bit faster than Wheatley.  But remember that Wheatley played in an era with much less defensive speed overall--so he probably seemed much faster in comparison to the guys chasing him.  

Where Wheatley's speed always impressed me the most was in his ability to always get to the corner on basic runs from scrimmage.  Defenses would have a play well-defended and appear to have a play strung-out, and Wheatley would just hit that extra gear and go around them.  


September 17th, 2012 at 11:03 PM ^

I really think Wheatley was faster in pads. Angles didn't matter. I remember watching Wheatley in high school crush my sister's school in the playoffs. Funny thing was, we saw him on tv the week before they played on that show Scholastic Sports America (or something like that). I remember telling my sister, "You guys are dead." It was pretty obvious that he wasn't just another kid. His explosiveness was on a level with any RB I've ever seen, except Bo.


September 17th, 2012 at 11:08 PM ^

We have not had another back since him that was as much of a threat as he was anytime he touched the ball. A true gamebreaker. I had the honor of playing with him in high school and he is still a friend of mine today.

Jack Daniels

September 17th, 2012 at 11:10 PM ^

Kinda OT regarding the original post, but Wheatley is currently the RB coach at Syracuse and recruits the state of Michigan for them. He would probably be one of the leading candidates to take over when Jackson retires.


September 18th, 2012 at 11:14 AM ^

He's what, 62 years old now?  (based on college graduation of 1972 per profile).  How many more years do you think he'll stick around as coach?  I'd like to see us snag Wheatley as our RB coach before a higher profile school picks him up as he's only in his 3rd season at 'Cuse.


September 17th, 2012 at 11:15 PM ^

For you youngsters, you missed one of the all-time greats in Wheatley. I covered a couple of his high school games for the Dearborn Press and Guide. He was a man amongst boys. Robichaud won the state football title because of him. He also led them to a state track title.

He was big, fast, and tough. He'll forever be one of my favorite players.


September 17th, 2012 at 11:34 PM ^

Wheatley's run was in the Rose Bowl. Denard's run was great, but it's pretty clear which was bigger.

I was 13 years old when I watched that game. Our family always got together with the Prays to watch the Rose Bowl. Joe (the other dad) and my dad are both gone now, too soon for both. But we have memories like this. Everyone in the room was going absolutely bonkers before he even crossed the 50.

All-time great Michigan memory.


September 18th, 2012 at 12:24 AM ^

with well over 40 yrs of Michigan football watching . . .Wheatley by a step. . . maybe.  
Speed isn't everything though; as mentioned above, his size & toughness were often overlooked.  
He wasn't a bruising back by any means but unlike a lot of track star-football players he could really break takles, stiff arm and lower his shoulder when he had too.  
I love Denard, but put them in the backfield & give each 30+ carries and Wheatley would have far greater numbers.  
Apart from speed it's an Apples to Oranges comparison.


September 18th, 2012 at 1:25 AM ^

I miss having big running backs that not only have speed but just plow over defenders with their size.  Biakabutuka, A-Train and especially Wheatley.  The number of 50+ yard runs he had seemed endless.



September 18th, 2012 at 9:40 AM ^

was the first of two long TD runs by Ty Wheatley that got us back into that game, it was an awesome display and we were going up against an undefeated Penn State team that featured Ki-Jana Carter at tailback. Wheatley kicked his ass.

It was too bad that we came out on the short end of the scoreboard that day. After Tyrone scored his second TD in the third quarter, he took off his helmet and did the Superman pose in our endzone.

I thought for sure he was going to lead us single handedly to victory that day. But alas it was not to be, he reinjured his shoulder and the freshman version Tshumanga Biakabutuka was not yet up to that task.


I have seen many great backs play in Michigan Stadium, Tony Boles, Leroy Hoard, Ricky Powers, Tshumanga Biakabutuka  , A-Train, Chris Perry, Harlan Huckleby, Butch Woolfolk, Mike Hart and the oppositions players, IMHO Tryone Wheatley had it all, speed, power ball security, pass catching ability, and he is the gold standard by which I judge Michigan running backs.


Thanks for the Video WH, it brought back some great memories.


September 18th, 2012 at 12:45 PM ^

This video, especially the run against Washington (about the :35 mark), not only fondly reminds me of Wheatley's awesome talents but also the wonderfulness of Keith Jackson announcing.

He had the perfect voice for college football on TV and his word choice was great with the proper amount of enthusiasm for a nat'l announcer.

I mean, on TV, I can see what's going on, so I don't need a lot of verbiage during the play.  
Jackson's "Wheatley...he can HAUL's a TOUCHDOWN....Tyrone Wheatley, showing you his buh-LAY-zing speed."  was perfect.