With Michigan’s 2009 season wrapped up, and the decade coming to a close, I thought I would steal an idea from Dr. Saturday and have my readers vote on a Team of the Decade. So, I’ve come up with a list of nominees for every position, and I’ll be posting two position groups every day for the next week, leaving it up to you to vote for who should make the team. At the end of the month, I’ll tally up the votes and reveal the team of the decade. Next up are the interior linemen:
The list of Michigan’s tackles over the past decade was impressive, to say the least, but the interior linemen from the 2000s are just as remarkable. Let’s take a look at the nominees at center and guard:
Steve Hutchinson (1997-2000): I’ll let the Bentley Historical Library take care of this one:
Steve Hutchinson capped an outstanding career with his selection as a consensus All-American in 2000 after earning first team accolades from CNN/Sports Illustrated during the 1999. Hutchinson, a two-time captain for the Wolverines, was a four-year starter and letterman at left guard. He made 45 career starts and did not allow a sack during his final two seasons. Hutchinson became the fourth player in Big Ten Conference history to be named to the All-Conference first-team all four years, joining Mark Messner as the only other Wolverine to achieve the honor. A native of Coral Springs, FL, Hutchinson was named the Big Ten Offensive Lineman of the Year and was a finalist for the Outland Trophy Award. He was the 17th player selected in the first round of the 2001 NFL draft by the Seattle Seahawks.
Yeah, he’s probably deserving of a spot on this team.
Jonathan Goodwin (1999-2001): Goodwin began his collegiate career at Ohio University before transferring to Michigan in 1998. After playing as a reserve in 1999, Goodwin took over as the starting right guard in 2000 before shifting over to Hutchinson’s vacated left guard spot as a senior. A versatile lineman — Goodwin made appearances at center, left guard, right guard, and even started at right tackle for a game in 2001 — he was named first-team All-Big Ten as a senior in 2001. Goodwin was selected in the fifth round of the 2002 NFL Draft by the New York Jets.
Kurt Anderson (1998-2001): The brother of former Wolverine All-American linebacker Erick Anderson, Kurt began his Michigan career on the defensive side of the ball as well before moving to the offensive line as a redshirt junior. After a season backing up David Brandt, Anderson started all 12 games in 2001 at center, earning All-Big Ten honorable mention and the Hugh J. Rader Award as Michigan’s best offensive lineman.
Dave Pearson (2000-2003): Another defensive lineman-turned-center, Pearson started every game of his final two seasons for the Wolverines. He helped pave the way for Chris Perry’s 2003 Doak Walker Award-winning season, earning second-team All-Big Ten and sharing the Rader Award with Tony Pape and David Baas that season.
David Baas (2001-2004): Baas was a standout wherever he played on the line, starting 38 straight games to end his career at left guard and center. He earned first-team All-Big Ten in 2002 and 2003 at guard, then shifted over to center five games into the 2004 season. That move went well, as Baas once again was named first-team all-conference, as well as consensus All-American honors and the co-recipient of the Rimington Award, given to the nation’s top center. He is a two-time winner of the Rader Award, sharing it in 2003 and winning it outright as a senior. Baas was chosen by the San Francisco 49ers with the first pick of the second round in the 2005 NFL Draft.
Matt Lentz (2002-2005): A huge (6-5, 320 lbs.) guard, Lentz was a road-grater who helped pave the way for Chris Perry and Mike Hart during his Michigan career. In his final three seasons, he started 36 of a possible 37 games at right guard. Although overshadowed by fellow starters Tony Pape, David Baas, and Jake Long during his Wolverine career, Lentz made the All-Big Ten first-team in his junior and senior seasons.
Adam Kraus (2004-2007): Entering Michigan in 2003 as a tight end, Kraus took a redshirt year and bulked up to become a solid interior lineman. He started eight games at center as a redshirt sophomore, 13 games at left guard as a junior, and started all 13 games in 2007 (eight at LG, five at center). Kraus was a two-time first-team All-Big Ten selection, earning the honor in 2006 and 2007.