The Wolverine

February 2019

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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18 THE WOLVERINE FEBRUARY 2019 BY JOHN BORTON B o Schembechler said it, with- out apology: Those Who Stay Will Be Champions. There are those inclined to assail that notion these days, when it comes to Michigan football and its dearth of title rings. But Schembechler always meant more when he said those words, and Chase Winovich pro- vides proof. The fifth-year senior defensive end opted to remain at Michigan for one more season. He didn't earn a Big Ten title, and the College Football Playoff went forth without a Big Ten team in- volved. Winovich still became a symbol for the grit and determination to fight through it all — injury, adversity and, ultimately, some big-game disappoint- ment. He stayed during the season, when others stepped away. He became the team's Most Valuable Player and now tops this publication's annual list of postseason top 25 players. The list, voted on by the staff of The Wolverine, reflects a judgment on what performers were Michigan's best and most invaluable over the course of the season. This year's list stands out in part in the following ways: • There were five offensive and five defensive players in the top 10, after the defense dominated last year's post- season top 10 with eight. • Some drops occurred from the pre- season top 25, including by the top player named before the 2018 cam- paign began. • The influence on the list exerted by some opting not to play in the Peach Bowl showed in the voting. Winovich is one who insisted he wasn't missing his final game in a Michigan uniform, no matter what. He put off a needed surgery to try and win that last one. The Pennsylvania native stood out all season, well beyond his flowing mane of shoulder-length blond hair. He once again proved a consistent pass-rushing threat and a vocal leader for Jim Harbaugh's 2018 crew. In fact, when two of Michigan's four captains wound up sitting out the Peach Bowl, Harbaugh called on Win- ovich as one of the two added game captains. His rallying cry regarding Michi- gan's "Revenge Tour" resounded throughout the Wolverines' 10-game winning streak between the opener at Notre Dame and the regular-season finale at Ohio State. In the end, he stood as the MVP, No. 1 on this list and a champion in dedica- tion to Michigan's efforts to overcome all obstacles in a rise back to the top. 1. CHASE WINOVICH Fifth-Year Senior, DE Winovich is the second straight Michigan defensive lineman to rise above all on the top-25 list, with Mau- rice Hurst doing so in 2017. The five-year Wolverine wound up third on the team in tackles with 69. Those included a team-leading 17 tackles for loss (no one else hit dou- ble figures) and five sacks, which was tied for sec- ond among Michigan defenders. Winovich regis- tered a team-best seven quarter- back hurries, STILL STANDING MVP Chase Winovich Heads Michigan's Postseason Top 25 Winovich was named U-M's MVP, while he also earned All-America honors from the American Football Coaches Association (second team) and Associated Press (third team). PHOTO BY PER KJELDSEN

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