The Wolverine

August 2020

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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6 THE WOLVERINE AUGUST 2020 BY AUSTIN FOX T he Big Ten Network compiled an All-Decade Team for both football and men's basketball in late June, and five former Wolverines made the cut. Guard Trey Burke (2011-13) was the lone U-M basketball selection, while linebacker Devin Bush (2016- 18), tight end Jake Butt (2012-16), of- fensive tackle Taylor Lewan (2009-13) and linebacker/safety Jabrill Peppers (2014-16) were the four Michigan choices from the gridiron. The 24-member voting panel chose Burke as a first-teamer on the hard court. He took home the National Player of the Year award in 2012-13 after averaging 18.6 points and 6.7 assists per game. "When I think of Trey Burke, I think of a pivotal point in Michigan basketball history," said The Athlet- ic's Nicole Auerbach, who was on the voting panel. "He brought Michigan basket- ball back; I don't think there's any question about that," BTN senior re- searcher Harold Shelton added. After playing primarily on special teams as a freshman in 2016, Bush ex- ploded during his final two years at Michigan, racking up 102 tackles and 9.5 stops for loss in 2017 and then 80 stops and 9.5 more tackles behind the line of scrimmage in 2018. He claimed the league's Defensive Player of the Year honor and was tabbed as an Associated Press sec- ond-team All-American as a junior. "If you want hard hits, Devin Bush was your man," BTN host Mike Hall exclaimed. "He earned a reputation as a guy who could deliver a pop from the linebacker position, but it wasn't just that — his overall athleti- cism is hard not to mention." Butt compiled 138 receptions for 1,646 yards (the school's all-time leader at the position in both cate- gories) and 11 touchdowns during his four years in the winged helmet. He was an AP second-team All- American and the winner of the John Mackey Award as the nation's best tight end as a senior in 2016. "There are very few easy picks on this list, but Jake Butt is without a doubt one of them," author and panelist John U. Bacon said. "He is without question the best tight end of the decade in the Big Ten, in my opinion." "It's rare that a tight end is the most dangerous pass catcher or a go- to guy on a football team, but I felt like Jake Butt was that a lot," BTN host Rick Pizzo noted. Lewan was a stalwart at left tackle for the Maize and Blue, starting 48 of the 50 games he appeared in. He took home the Big Ten Offensive Lineman of the Year award in both 2012 and 2013, and was an AP All-American each of those seasons (a first-teamer in 2012 and a second-teamer in 2013). "During those two years, he was a man among boys," Bacon recalled. "The misfit aspect was sometimes comical." "You could tell he was very smart," BTN analyst Chuck Long added. "His intelligence was over the top, and for me, it was about the way he understood the game of football." Peppers excelled on defense, special teams and even as a wild- cat quarterback at times during his Michigan career. He compiled 72 tackles and 16 stops behind the line of scrimmage as a redshirt sopho- more linebacker in 2016, while aver- aging 14.8 yards with a touchdown on 21 punt return attempts. Peppers was an AP first-team All-American that year, finished fifth in Heisman Trophy voting, and won both the Big Ten's Defensive Player of the Year ac- colade and the Paul Hornung Award as the nation's most versatile athlete. "Jabrill Peppers was literally a do- it-all player," Sports Illustrated's Pat Forde explained. "He was a tackler, a cover guy, a punt gunner, a return guy, a running back, a wide receiver … he could do everything. Taken as a whole, he was probably the most complete player the Big Ten has seen in the decade." ❑ Inside Michigan ATHLETICS Five Wolverines Are Named To The Big Ten Network's All-Decade Football And Basketball Teams Linebacker Jabrill Peppers was among four U-M players on the Big Ten Network's All-Decade football squad, with Sports Illustrated's Pat Forde identifying him as "probably the most complete player the Big Ten has seen in the decade." PHOTO BY LON HORWEDEL

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