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 defensive ends:
Normally, I’m all for the democratic process. There are, however, extenuating circumstances that can lead to me changing my mind. This is one of those times. Allow me to introduce you to your two defensive ends on the Team of the Decade. You won’t be mad, I promise.
LaMarr Woodley (2003-2006): Remember, children, guns don’t kill people — LaMarr Woodley kills people. Woodley, a coveted recruit from Saginaw, saw the field as a freshman before breaking out in his sophomore season, recording 70 tackles (16 for loss) and four sacks as an outside linebacker. As a rush linebacker in 2005, he added 12 more TFLs and six more sacks before moving full-time to defensive end in 2006. His senior season was his finest, as he tied the school single-season record with 12 sacks and 36 tackles (15 for loss), four forced fumbles, and four fumble recoveries. Woodley was named first-team All-America for his performance, and took home both the Ted Hendricks Award (best defensive end in the country) and Lombardi Award (best lineman, offensive or defensive, in the country) for his efforts. Woodley is third in school history in tackles for loss and tied for fourth in career sacks.
Brandon Graham (2006-2009): The heart and soul of the past two Michigan football teams (as well as the reigning two-time team MVP), Graham fought through constant double-teams to put up some of the finest defensive numbers in school history. After playing sparingly as a freshman, Graham burst onto the scene as a sophomore, tallying 9.5 tackles for loss and 8.5 sacks. In 2008, Graham took over as the focal point of Michigan’s defense, recording 46 tackles, leading the Big Ten with 20 tackles for loss, and notching ten sacks en route to being named second-team All-Big Ten and SI All-America honorable mention. His senior season was even more impressive, as Graham led the nation (through the end of the regular season) in tackles for loss with an astounding 26 among his 64 total tackles, adding 10.5 sacks and being named the Big Ten co-MVP, a Hendricks Award finalist, first-team All-Big Ten, and first-team All-American by Rivals.com and Scout.com. Graham is second in Michigan history in tackles for loss and career sacks.
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