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Monthly Archives: April 2009

The choice for top defensive player provides little suspense...

Over the course of the next few weeks I will be revealing my choices for the 15 best Michigan football players on offense and defense, as well as the five best special teams players, from 1994-2008? Why the last 15 years? Well, for one, it’s a nice round number. Also, 1994 was the first season I had season tickets to Michigan Stadium, so that (otherwise relatively unremarkable) year has special meaning to this life-long Wolverine.

I will reveal one offensive and one defensive pick each day (in reverse order, because, you know, suspense), as well as my reasoning for the placement of each player. Tomorrow I will unveil my list of the five best special teamers to help satisfy your football appetite. At the end of the entire process, I will also post the lists of staff members from The Wolverine, who undoubtedly have much more legitimate opinions than yours truly.

I am also inviting you, the reader, to submit your own list to me. Email me (ace@thewolverineblog.com) with your 15 best offensive and defensive players (as well as your five special teamers) who played any time from 1994-2008. After my list is complete, I will put up the fan’s chioces for the best Wolverines of the last decade-and-a-half.

I’m looking forward to receiving your submissions, as well as embarassing myself with a woefully idiotic list that will surely be picked apart by my much smarter audience (Reuben Riley was All-Big Ten, right?).

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Brandon Harrison will join ex-Wolverine teammates Terrence Taylor and Mike Hart in Indianapolis

Brandon Harrison will join ex-Wolverine teammates Terrence Taylor and Mike Hart in Indianapolis

Football:

  • Seven Players Sign NFL Free-Agent Contracts — MGoBlue — In alphabetical order: TE Carson Butler (Green Bay), CB Doug Dutch (Washington), LS Sean Griffin (Seattle), DB Brandon Harrison (Indianapolis), DE Tim Jamison (Houston), DT Will Johnson (Baltimore) and TE Mike Massey (Cleveland).
  • U-M: Game vs. UMass would not be opener — Detroit News — Angelique Chengelis dispels the rumors that Michigan will schedule UMass for the opening game of 2010. UMass is still a prospective opponent, but according to assistant AD for football Scott Draper, Michigan is trying to do “something special” for that day. Sorry UMass: you’re not special.
  • Former U-M QB Steven Threet transfers to Arizona State — Detroit Free Press — “It’s a pro-style offense where they’re in the shotgun and under center, the things you would expect and they throw downfield,” Threet said of Arizona State. “It’s definitely a situation where you’ve got to be comfortable throwing the ball.”
  • Ex-Steeler Larry Foote wants to join Lions — Detroit News — Foote was recently cut by Pittsburgh to make room for 2007 first-round pick Lawrence Timmons. The Lions have a huge hole at middle linebacker. Foote loves Detroit. Someone please make this happen. (UPDATE: Turns out he hasn’t been released yet, despite reports to the contrary. Still, keep an eye on this one, since Foote has consistently pushed for a release or trade since the end of last season.)

Basketball:

  • That’s right — a revised top 25 already — ESPN.com — Andy Katz puts out his updated 2009-10 preseason top 25 and moves Michigan up to No. 9. Jay Bilas clearly had no say in the proceedings, as Duke comes in one spot below the Wolverines in the wake of Gerald Henderson’s departure.

Other:

  • The Great Lakes Classic — M Flow Blue — Injured Michigan lacrosse player Nick Standiford has started a blog following, you guessed it, the U-M lacrosse team. Here he posts highlights from the Wolverines’ 21-9 victory over Michigan State on Saturday.

I was going to throw up another links post, but this deserves special mention. Former Wolverine Eric Nystrom had a spectacular game last night for the Calgary Flames, scoring the game-winning goal late in the third and adding two assists in a 6-4 playoff victory over the Chicago Blackhawks. He wasn’t the only former U-M icer to have an impact for the Flames: Mike Cammalleri assisted on Jarome Iginla’s first period tally and David Moss added a highlight-worthy hit (check out the 1:00 mark of the above video).

The Blog That Yost Built has already noted just how great of an impact Michigan players have in the NHL compared to other college hockey programs, and last night just added to the evidence that U-M is the premier college hockey program when it comes to producing pro talent.

A side note: posting may be light over the next week, as I am in the midst of finals. I’ll do my best to throw up some link posts and a little bit of actual content, but I can’t make any promises. As always, check out TheWolverine.com for all the Michigan sports news you’ll ever need.

Punter Zoltan Mesko was named to NationalChamps.nets preseason All-America first team

Punter Zoltan Mesko was named to NationalChamps.net's preseason All-America first team

Football:

  • 2009 Preseason All-Americans — NationalChamps.net — Zoltan Mesko is your preseason first team punter, although I hope we see far less of him this year than in 2008. Brandon Graham was named honorable mention. (HT: The Daily)
  • Same Questions as Rodriguez Looks for Answers at Michigan — New York Times — Big props to The Daily’s Nate Sandals, who penned this article for the New York Times.
  • Michigan football season-ticket sales are down, but by how much? — Detroit Free Press — Bad economy + 3-9 season + broke students = less student ticket sales. Don’t expect the stadium to be any less full though: 10,000 people are on the season ticket wait list, and with Notre Dame, Penn State, and Ohio State on the home slate in 2009 (and an improved Michigan team to boot) we can all still expect to be crammed into our seats with little room for elbows, hot dogs, sodas, or fresh air. Which is a good thing, I think.
  • Before they were stars: How top picks graded out as preps — SI.com — SI takes a look at the Rivals rankings of their 2009 NFL Draft mock first round. If you think the star ratings are bogus, you might want to reconsider after checking out the piece: this year’s crop averages 3.59 stars, even including outlier Clay Matthews (a no-star walk-on).
  • Chasing Blanchard and Davis — MVictors — Greg from MVictors takes a look at the Wolverines’ battles with Army’s famed running back duo in the wake of Doc Blanchard’s death. Great photos and some real interesting stuff on Fritz Crisler and the platoon system.
  • Jake Long on ESPN’s First Take:

Basketball:

  • Gabriel Richard’s Eso Akunne named 2009 Ann Arbor News Player of the Year — Ann Arbor News — Akunne is a preferred walk-on for Michigan next season, and put up some pretty impressive numbers (21.8 points, 10.5 rebounds, 5.8 assists per game). The 6-3 guard could be a diamond in the rough for Michigan, who looked past his small school background and saw big time potential.

Hockey:

  • US Takes Gold at World U18s — The Blog That Yost Built — Big time performances from future Wolverines, especially goaltender Jack Campbell (now officially dubbed “JMFC” by TBTYB), whose tournament numbers were straight mind-blowing (4-0-0, 0.75 GAA, .967 save %, 2 shutouts, no even strength goals allowed). Get that man on campus, STAT. Kevin Lynch (5-5-10, +9) also had an outstanding tournament, and fellow recruits Chris Brown, A.J. Treais and Jon Merrill all finished with positive +/- ratings.

I put together a highlight tape of Tate Forcier from the Spring Game. For those who are curious, the song is “Weapon of Choice” by Fatboy Slim. Forcier completed 11 of 13 passes for 141 yards and four touchdowns, and added a touchdown on the ground, so picking out highlights was quite easy. Now we just have to hope he picks apart the Big Ten like they’re our second-team defense. I can dream, right?

As most of you are aware of by now, rumors are flying around Duke point guard Greg Paulus possibly joining the Michigan football team for a year as a quarterback (he spent Tuesday at practice with Rich Rodriguez). Paulus was a highly-rated quarterback prospect in high school, but ultimately decided to play basketball at Duke instead of football (he held a Notre Dame offer, and South Bend was thought to be his likely destination if he decided to play football). Here, for your viewing pleasure, is video of Paulus from his days on the gridiron at Manilus (NY) Christian Brothers Academy:

I have to say, I was very skeptical of this when I first heard the rumors (I’m a Duke hater at heart, and accepting Paulus as one of our own would be quite tough for me). However, those highlights show off a ridiculous arm, and the ability to throw on the run. I realize Paulus has been out of the game since high school, but one has to think that his arm strength has not deteriorated too much since then (in face, his arm may be stronger, if he ever lifted weights at Duke). This seems like a low-risk, high-reward situation. Michigan gets some extra depth at QB, Paulus gets to show off his skills for the NFL, and no potential Michigan QB recruits are scared off because Paulus is gone after 2009. We’ll see if this is even possible to do given NCAA eligibility restraints, but this is certainly an interesting possibility.