The Wolverine

February 2013

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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in the history of the Big Ten Conference. He ran for more yards (4,495) than any quarterback in the annals of the NCAA, and more than all but one Wolverine (Mike Hart, 5,040) at any position. In short, Robinson — from that very first play — exploded onto the scene as a performer that nobody could overlook. When he had the football in his hands, the play whispered potential highlight-reel touchdown. Fans knew it, and rose off their bleachers and easy chairs any time he broke into the open. Opponents knew it, and scrambled to devise plans and personnel that could corral him. Those who watched him as a teammate, simply sat back and marveled. "He's one of the most electric players in college history," redshirt junior left tackle Taylor Lewan said. "Denard's done nothing but the most wonderful things for this program, for college football, and regardless of what happens to him in the NFL and all of that stuff, I love him with my whole heart. I think he's done such a great job." Veteran Michigan play-by-play man Frank Beckmann called Robinson: "The most dynamic player in the last three decades, at least in the time I've been doing the games. He's a quality person, a hard worker, a guy that wants to win. "His numbers speak for themselves. I mean, nobody in Michigan's 133 years of history has done what he's done. It speaks for itself, I think." The numbers scream for attention, even though Robinson never did. At the same time, anyone who knew No. 16 for any amount of time came away talking about far more than dominant digits. They got to know someone whose smile lit up any room he entered, and whose personality naturally attracted followers. They got to know someone who provided a spark and hope in Michigan football's darkest hours over the last four decades, and someone who claimed Michigan Man status when he could have bolted for the exits. "He's one hell of a player," fifthyear senior captain Jordan Kovacs assured. "I can't say enough about him. Obviously you guys see how good he is on the field, but he's one of my best friends on the team and just an unbelievable person off the field. "He's just always positive, he's just an unbelievable worker with great work ethic, and he's an unbelievable leader." Stepping To The Fore He wasn't always that way. Robinson certainly emerged out of Deerfield Beach with a certain confidence carried by any accomplished athlete. But he played behind classmate and more polished quarterback Tate Forcier their freshman season, before Forcier's struggles and Robinson's undeniable talents flipped that depth chart in 2010. But that first year, Robinson certainly wasn't thinking of himself as a future captain, someone to whom the President of the United States would casually call out, or the most pro-

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