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The 25 best players in Michigan football history

Michigan soccer seems to have regained its prominence — at the very least in the meanwhile. Possibly that is a superb factor for faculty soccer purists, who worth custom and legendary gamers.

The Wolverines definitely have their fair proportion of each. By way of the latter, listed below are our decisions for the 25 best school soccer gamers in Michigan historical past. (Spoiler alert: Tom Brady will not be on this listing.)

Listed in chronological order.


1 of 25

Willie Heston, Halfback (1901-’04)


The nice Heston started his school profession at what’s now often called San Jose State, when joined legendary coach Fielding Yost. He was a serious a part of these dominant offensive Michigan groups from the early 1900s, that in his 4 seasons on the faculty went 43-0-1 and outscored opponents 2,326-40. In line with the college’s official information, Heston is Michigan’s all-time chief with 72 profession touchdowns, although it is also believed he totaled extra.


2 of 25

John Maulbetsch, Halfback (1914-’16)

John Maulbetsch, Halfback (1914-'16)

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Nicknamed the “Human Bullet” for his low-running fashion, the 155-pound Maulbetsch is one other nice amongst Michigan halfbacks. Regardless of a severe ordeal with appendicitis throughout his run at Michigan, Maulbetsch was one of many sport’s finest in 1914. Following appendix surgical procedure, he regained his kind in 1916. After his taking part in profession, Maulbetsch spent eight years as head soccer coach at what’s now often called Oklahoma State College.


3 of 25

Bennie Oosterbaan, Finish (1925-’27)

Bennie Oosterbaan, End (1925-'27)


Within the early Nineteen Nineties, there weren’t many who loved constant school soccer success than Oosterbaan. A proficient two-way finish for the Wolverines within the mid-Twenties, Oosterbaan was a three-time All-American. In 1925, Oosterbaan led the Huge Ten with eight touchdowns. Along with his stellar soccer success, Oosterbaan, who coached the Michigan soccer crew from 1948-’58, was additionally a standout basketball and baseball participant for the Wolverines.


4 of 25

Tom Harmon, Halfback (1938-’40)

Tom Harmon, Halfback (1938-'40)


The primary of three Michigan gamers to win the Heisman Trophy, and one of many best school soccer gamers of all time. His title remains to be synonymous with the college’s athletic program and an icon within the realm of Huge Ten sports activities. Throughout his three seasons at Michigan, Harmon rushed for two,151 yards and likewise threw for practically 1,400 yards with 16 touchdowns. His 33 profession touchdowns broke Pink Grange’s file on the time. Harmon additionally led the nation in scoring in each 1939 and ’40 — the latter his Heisman-winning marketing campaign. Harmon’s No. 98 was retired by the college. He is the daddy of former UCLA soccer participant and long-time Hollywood star Mark Harmon.


5 of 25

Bob Chappuis, Halfback/Quarterback (1942, ’46-’47)

Bob Chappuis, Halfback/Quarterback (1942, '46-'47)

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Not solely was Chappuis among the many nice school soccer gamers of the Forties, however he is additionally a war hero, who served as a gunner on B-25 planes throughout World Struggle II. On the soccer area, Chappuis was a flexible pressure, as effectively. He was the star of Michigan’s undefeated 1947 squad that beat USC within the Rose Bowl and completed second within the Heisman Trophy race. A multi-school-record holder for complete offense throughout his time at Michigan, Chappuis amassed 1,187 dashing yards and a pair of,068 passing for his profession


6 of 25

Ron Kramer, Finish (1954-’56)

Ron Kramer, End (1954-'56)


Earlier than Kramer starred for Vince Lombardi’s Inexperienced Bay Packers, he was a two-way standout on the Michigan soccer crew who additionally occurred to be fairly profitable in basketball and observe and area on the collegiate stage. On the gridiron, Kramer was a consensus first-team All-American in 1956 and his No. 87 was retired by the college. For his profession with the Wolverines, Kramer totaled 53 receptions for half of 1 mile with six touchdowns and remains to be thought-about among the best blocking ends of his time. 


7 of 25

Tom Curtis, Defensive Again (1967-’69)

Tom Curtis, Defensive Back (1967-'69)

College of Michigan Athletics

To the informal Michigan soccer fan, Curtis’ title may not stand out. Maybe it is time for a historical past lesson. In his three seasons roaming the secondary for the Wolverines, Curtis recorded 25 interceptions. A complete that also stands as a college file. Ten of these picks got here throughout the 1968 season, which additionally stays a college single-season mark. He additionally posted 431 return yards off these interceptions. Not dangerous for a man who started his collegiate profession as a quarterback.


8 of 25

Dan Dierdorf, Offensive Lineman (1967-’70)

Dan Dierdorf, Offensive Lineman (1967-'70)

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Earlier than Dierdorf loved a Corridor-of-Fame profession with the St. Louis “soccer” Cardinals and change into a blowhard analyst, he was certainly one of legendary coach Bo Schembechler’s favourite gamers at Michigan. Dierdorf has been praised for each his collegiate expertise and management, which blossomed each season with the Wolverines. He was a consensus All-American for the 1970 Michigan crew that completed 9-1.


9 of 25

Mark Donahue, Offensive Lineman (1975-’77)

Mark Donahue, Offensive Lineman (1975-'77)


Dan Dierdorf will get loads of pub as certainly one of school soccer’s all-time nice offensive linemen, however Donahue ought to earn related recognition inside Michigan soccer lore. Donahue additionally earned loads of love from Bo Schembechler. The Chicago-area native began in 1975 and was then named a consensus, first-team All-American guard in each 1976 and ’77. In 2016, Donahue was added to Michigan’s Corridor of Honor.


10 of 25

Rick Leach, Quarterback (1975-’78)

Rick Leach, Quarterback (1975-'78)

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The delight of Flint’s famed Southwestern Excessive Faculty, Leach earned the beginning nod as a freshman for the Wolverines. By the point his profession at Ann Arbor ended, he was probably the most versatile quarterbacks within the historical past of this storied program. Leach threw for 4,045 profession yards with 46 touchdowns (fifth in class historical past). He additionally ran for two,171 yards and his 34 dashing touchdowns rank third all-time at Michigan. Leach completed third within the Heisman Trophy balloting in 1978.


11 of 25

Anthony Carter, Vast Receiver (1979-’82)

Anthony Carter, Wide Receiver (1979-'82)


In the course of the late Seventies and into the ’80s, there weren’t many pass-catchers within the nation higher than Carter. At 5-feet-11, Carter did not let his general lack of measurement deter him from being a big-time school soccer star. The Huge Ten’s Most Helpful Participant as a senior in 1982, “AC” completed his profession as Michigan’s all-time main receiver with 3,076 yards — which at the moment are second in class historical past. His 161 receptions and 37 touchdowns additionally rank throughout the prime 5 all-time for the Wolverines.   


12 of 25

Jim Harbaugh, Quarterback (1983-’86)

Jim Harbaugh, Quarterback (1983-'86)

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Harbaugh is a kind of gamers who once we consider Michigan soccer, his title is among the many first to return to thoughts. Youthful school soccer followers doubtless know Harbaugh principally for teaching the Wolverines, however when he left Michigan as a participant, was the college’s all-time file holder with 5,449 passing yards. He accomplished 62.4-percent of his passes and threw 31 touchdowns. Harbaugh completed third within the Heisman race for the 1986 season when he led Michigan to the Rose Bowl.


13 of 25

Mark Messner, Defensive Lineman (1985-’88)

Mark Messner, Defensive Lineman (1985-'88)


Michigan has clearly produced a few of school soccer’s elite defenders, however Messner simply could be the perfect of the bunch. He is the primary place participant to be named a first-team All-Huge Ten performer for every of his 4 years at Michigan. Messner’s 36 profession sacks are nonetheless probably the most in class historical past and his 5 versus Northwestern throughout the 1987 season stay a Michigan file. He completed his profession as a consensus All-American in 1988.


14 of 25

Desmond Howard, Vast Receiver (1989-’91)

Desmond Howard, Wide Receiver (1989-'91)


Maybe extra intoxicating than Howard’s entertaining play is his persona. So, it is no surprise he is change into a preferred pundit for ESPN. He was the second Michigan soccer participant to win the Heisman Trophy, doing so after his stellar 1991 season, wherein he set a college file with 19 receiving touchdowns. Howard, one of many extra charismatic gamers in school soccer historical past, is third all-time in Michigan historical past with 32 profession touchdowns whereas totaling 134 receptions for two,146 yards. And, who can forget his infamous Heisman pose?


15 of 25

Charles Woodson, Defensive Again (1995-’97)

Charles Woodson, Defensive Back (1995-'97)

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Michigan’s third and most-recent Heisman winner (1997). Woodson additionally stays the one participant whose main place was on protection to win the celebrated award. His 18 interceptions rank second all-time in class historical past. Eight of these picks got here in 1997, that are tied for third-most within the annals of Michigan soccer by way of single-season accomplishments. Following his time with the Wolverines, Woodson loved a Corridor-of-Fame profession within the NFL with the Oakland Raiders and Inexperienced Bay.


16 of 25

Jon Jansen, Offensive Lineman (1995-’98)

Jon Jansen, Offensive Lineman (1995-'98)

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Whether or not defending his quarterback or serving to pave the best way for Michigan operating backs to eat up yards, there weren’t many higher upfront in class historical past than Jansen. A two-time All-Huge Ten first-team choice at proper deal with, Jansen, like Charles Woodson, helped the Wolverines win a nationwide championship for the 1997 season. He made 50 profession begins throughout his collegiate profession and recorded 106 “knockdowns” whereas at Michigan.


17 of 25

Steve Hutchinson, Offensive Lineman (1996-2000)

Steve Hutchinson, Offensive Lineman (1996-2000)

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Hutchinson started his Michigan profession on the line of defense however moved to the offensive aspect of the ball. Not solely was it the proper transfer for the Wolverines, but it surely additionally helped Hutchinson take pleasure in a storied collegiate profession and an NFL run that featured seven Professional Bowl nods. Throughout his time at Michigan, Hutchinson helped this system win a nationwide championship (1997), didn’t enable a sack throughout his closing two seasons, and was named Huge Ten Offensive Lineman of the 12 months and a unanimous All-American — each in 2000.


18 of 25

Anthony Thomas, Working Again (1997-2000)

Anthony Thomas, Running Back (1997-2000)

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Also referred to as the “A-Practice.” Thomas burst onto the scene throughout Michigan’s 1997 nationwide championship run when he was named Huge Ten Freshman of the 12 months. Thomas topped 100 dashing yards twice that season and completed with 4,472 for his four-year profession with the Wolverines — rating third all-time. The 1,733 yards he gained in 2000 rank second for single season at Michigan. Thomas’ 55 profession dashing touchdowns are additionally second-most in class historical past.


19 of 25

John Navarre, Quarterback (2000-’03)

John Navarre, Quarterback (2000-'03)

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A 3-year starter for Michigan, Navarre could be finest recognized for throwing 4 touchdowns towards Bowling Inexperienced in his first profession school sport. When his time at Michigan had completed, Navarre definitely left his mark throughout the storied program. He ranks second in profession completions (765), passing yards (9,254), and touchdowns (72). Navarre additionally holds faculty single-season information with 270 completions and three,331 yards — each set in 2003. 


20 of 25

Braylon Edwards, Vast Receiver (2001-’04)

Braylon Edwards, Wide Receiver (2001-'04)

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As we have already famous, Michigan has produced a few of the nice school receivers of all time. Nevertheless, in terms of statistical dominance, Edwards is arguably the perfect of the bunch. And, that is saying lots. Edwards stays Michigan’s all-time chief with 252 receptions, 3,541 yards, and 39 touchdowns. His 97 catches in 2004 are additionally a college file. Edwards, the No 3 general decide within the 2005 NFL Draft, received the Biletnikoff Award because the nation’s finest extensive receiver in 2004.


21 of 25

LaMarr Woodley, Defensive Finish/Linebacker (2003-’06)

LaMarr Woodley, Defensive End/Linebacker (2003-'06)

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Woodley loved a stellar profession at Michigan, rating among the many prime 5 in class historical past with 24 sacks. However, his 2006 was really one for the ages — and never simply in comparison with different outstanding Wolverines defenders. Half of Woodley’s career-sack complete got here in ’06, tying him for probably the most by any Michigan participant for a single season. A primary-team All-American that season, Woodley was named Huge Ten Defensive Participant of the 12 months and received the Ted Hendricks Award because the nation’s prime defensive finish.


22 of 25

Jake Lengthy, Offensive Lineman (2003-’07)

Jake Long, Offensive Lineman (2003-'07)

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Lengthy had fairly the eventful profession at Michigan. He overcame numerous accidents and even survived a home fireplace throughout his time on campus. On the soccer area, Lengthy earned a beginning spot throughout his redshirt freshman season. He was a two-time consensus first-team All-American for the Wolverines, and likewise earned Huge Ten Offensive Lineman of the 12 months honors in each 2006 and ’07 earlier than turning into the general No. 1 decide within the 2008 NFL Draft.


23 of 25

Mike Hart, Working Again (2004-’07)

Mike Hart, Running Back (2004-'07)

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With 5,040 yards for his profession, Hart is the all-time dashing chief in Michigan historical past. Fairly the accomplishment contemplating a few of the nice runners the college has produced. Hart additionally ranks among the many prime 10 in Wolverines historical past for many single-season yards (1,562 in 2006) and profession touchdowns (41). Hart was the Huge Ten Freshman of the 12 months in 2004, a two-time All-Huge Ten first-teamer, and completed fifth within the 2006 Heisman Trophy race.


24 of 25

Chad Henne, Quarterback (2004-’07)

Chad Henne, Quarterback (2004-'07)

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Solely two quarterbacks in Michigan historical past have began a university sport as a real freshman. Henne was certainly one of them (the aforementioned Rick Leach was the opposite). By the point his profession in Ann Arbor concluded, Henne completed as Michigan’s all-time chief with 828 completions, 9,715 passing yards, and 87 landing passes. It wasn’t at all times a simple experience for Henne, however his numbers are spectacular nonetheless. Henne earned first-team All-Huge Ten honors for his 2007 senior season.


25 of 25

Denard Robinson, Quarterback (2009-’12)

Denard Robinson, Quarterback (2009-'12)

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Robinson may very effectively be the greatest offensive player in Michigan history. For his collegiate profession, Robinson recorded 6,250 yards passing (fifth in class historical past) and 4,495 dashing yards (second in class historical past). These 10,745 complete yards are probably the most in class historical past and his 4,272 yards from 2010 are probably the most for a single season by a Wolverine. Robinson’s 90 complete touchdowns are tied with Chad Henne for probably the most in program historical past, whereas his 36 in 2011 and 32 in 2010 are first and second, respectively, all-time at Michigan. Robinson was each Huge Ten Offensive Participant of the 12 months and first-team All-American in 2010.

Jeff Mezydlo has written about sports activities and leisure on-line and for print for greater than 25 years. He grew up within the far south suburbs of Chicago, 20 minutes from the Mascot Corridor of Fame in Whiting, Ind. He’s additionally the proud father of 11-year-old Matthew, aka “Bobby Bruin,” mascot of St. Robert Bellarmine Faculty in Chicago. You’ll be able to comply with Jeff at @jeffm401.

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