The Wolverine

2020 Football Preview

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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36 ■ THE WOLVERINE 2020 FOOTBALL PREVIEW RUNNING BACK KARAN HIGDON (2015-18) Michigan still hasn't had a running back selected in the NFL Draft since Mike Hart in 2006, but Higdon was the closest thing to it last decade. He split carries as a sopho- more, showing promise during a campaign in which he posted 425 rushing yards and six touchdowns, but he broke out as a junior and became the Wolverines' workhorse in the backfield. The Sarasota, Fla., native gained 994 yards during his third year, before he became the first 1,000-yard back in a season for the Maize and Blue since Fitzgerald Toussaint (2011) by churning out 1,178 yards as a senior. The two-time All-Big Ten honoree has the 14th-most career rushing yards (2,616) in program history, and his average gain per attempt (5.55) is eighth all time for rushers who had at least 200 carries. Honorable mention: Fitzgerald Toussaint (2009-13) WIDE RECEIVERS JEREMY GALLON (2009-13) AND ROY ROUNDTREE (2008-12) Gallon is one of the 10 pass catchers in Michigan history to record a season with 1,000 or more receiving yards. The Apopka, Fla., native holds the program record for receiving yards in a season, with 1,373 in 2013, and is third in career yards (2,704). A favorite target of quarterback Devin Gardner, he shattered the Wolverines' record for most yards receiving in a single game, gaining 369 yards against Indiana in 2013. That record was previously held by none other than Roundtree, who totaled 246 against Illinois in 2010. R o u n d t r e e accumulated 2,304 yards (seventh all time) and 14 touchdowns during his illus- trious career as a steady target. A native of Trotwood, Ohio, he will forever be known for coming up with clutch catches, none more memorable than his 16-yard score with two seconds left to beat Notre Dame in 2011 on a pass thrown by fellow All-Decade standout Denard Robinson. Honorable mention: Jehu Chesson (2012-15), Amara Darboh (2012-15) and Nico Collins (2017-current) FLEX DEVIN FUNCHESS (2012-14) Funchess played the first two years of his career as a tight end, adding a rare level of explosiveness to the position. At the posi- tion, he posted 982 yards (sixth all time among U-M tight ends) and 11 touchdowns (tied for second) over two seasons, earning Freshman All-America honors in 2012 and the Big Ten Tight End of the Year award as a sophomore. His 748 yards in 2012 are the most by a tight end in school history. All-Decade Team Offense BY AUSTIN FOX AND CLAYTON SAYFIE T hree head coaches led Michigan over the last decade, with Rich Rodriguez starting it off in his final season (2010), before Brady Hoke took over from 2011-14, while Jim Harbaugh guided the final five seasons. Despite limited success in the Rodriguez and Hoke eras, the two produced plenty of talent that made the All-Decade Team. The team consists of 11 starters on offense, 11 on defense, and a kicker and punter that played for the Maize and Blue from 2010-19. Such teams often prompt plenty of disagreement. Our criteria was based on impact — especially during the better seasons — consis- tency, production, leadership and talent. QUARTERBACK DENARD ROBINSON (2010-13) Robinson seemingly did it all for head coaches Rich Rodriguez and Brady Hoke to start the decade, and there hasn't been a Wolverine signal-caller since that has made even close to as big of an impact. The Deerfield Beach, Fla., native threw for 6,250 yards and 49 touchdowns while completing 57.2 percent of his passes. Even with his more-than-respectable passing numbers, his biggest threat was with his feet. Robinson graduated holding the NCAA record for rushing yards by a quarterback, accumulating 4,495 yards, a total that ranks second in all of Michigan football history. He also punched in 42 touchdowns on the ground (third all time). Robinson came up huge in the biggest of games, as well. In addition to scoring game-winning touchdowns to take down the Fighting Irish in both 2010 and 2011, he accounted for 502 and 446 yards of total offense in the two victories, respectively. In the 2011 triumph over the Buckeyes, he scored five total touchdowns. Honorable mention: Devin Gardner (2010-14) and Shea Patterson (2018-19) Denard Robinson PHOTO BY PER KJELDSEN

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