The Wolverine

September 2020

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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Page 43 of 51

44 THE WOLVERINE SEPTEMBER 2020 BY JOHN BORTON M organ Trent sells $13 mil- lion homes in Orange County, Calif. He's been on television in "Listing Impos- sible" on CNBC. He has filled out the family roster with his wife and two young sons. He is living a life to which many aspire while California dreaming. And Ohio State 2006 still stings. "It's painful, even now," he said. Trent certainly isn't seeking pity, successful in business as he is following a five-year Michigan career (2004-08) and a four-year stint in the NFL. He did live through some in- teresting times in Ann Arbor, though, from a foiled perfect season, to the Appalachian State loss, to a first-year crash and burn under a new coach. "I lived through some tough Michigan times," he said. The foundation for those times fell into place when Trent was only a high school freshman at Orchard Lake St. Mary's. His family just moved from San Diego, and he began tearing it up at Michigan's summer football camp. Trent played receiver then, imme- diately catching head coach Lloyd Carr's eye. "It was right under Coach Carr 's office," Trent recalled. "Coach Carr was outside on his balcony, watching us. In our 20-minute scrimmage, I must have had 10 touchdowns. "Minutes after that, I found my- self up in Coach Carr 's office. I'm 14 years old, and Lloyd is looking at me telling me I need to come to Michigan. It was one of those sur- real moments. It was the first time it clicked that I was going to play col- lege football." Trent fell in love with Michigan immediately — the tradition, the hel- mets, all of it. When he arrived in Ann Arbor as a freshman, he discov- ered his future didn't involve catch- ing touchdown passes in Michigan Stadium. He redshirted as a receiver during his true freshman year — no sur- prise to him, once he surveyed the landscape. "You've got to look at who we had at receiver — Braylon [Edwards], Jason [Avant], Steve Breaston," he noted. "They are legit NFL receivers. Coming in as a young freshmen, I understood a redshirt was going to happen." Michigan stood short on corner- backs, and Trent found himself sum- moned to Carr 's office late in the year. The head coach wanted him to try his speed and ball instincts on defense. "I was like, I really don't want to," Trent recalled. "He said, 'If you don't want it, just try it out in the spring and see what happens. I have a feel- ing you'll be all right.' "I went out in the spring and had absolutely no idea what I was do- ing, at all. You'd think it would be easier because I'd played receiver, and you're just kind of flipping roles, but it's so tough. You feel like you're just chasing people." He chased them well enough to see the field plenty as a redshirt freshman, while Michigan labored through a 7-5 campaign. "I had a fantastic [position] coach in Coach [Ron] English," Trent said. "He taught me every- thing I know about playing defensive football at corner. "He's the best — extremely passionate, absolutely crazy, but the best coach you could have. I had to get up to speed pretty quickly." Michigan did so in 2006, reeling off 11 straight victories to start the season and rising to No. 2 in the rankings. They served notice early, battering then-No. 2 Notre Dame 47-21 in South Bend. Still learning on the job, Trent stood determined not to let down a defense that devel- oped into a powerhouse. "We were so good that year," he said. "We couldn't really afford to have a weak link. I was trying to hold up my end of the bargain with one of the best defenses college football has ever seen. It was tough." Everyone thought Notre Dame was tougher. They didn't think so long. "On paper, they had the best team," Trent said. "They were going to beat us down. We went out there and put a whupping on them. "We knew we were really good, but that was our chance to showcase it on national TV, in front of every- body. We destroyed that team, and should have beat them worse." They beat everybody else over the following two months. Then came one of the darkest weeks in Michigan football history. No. 2 Michigan took on No. 1 Ohio State, two days after coaching icon Bo Schembechler urged the team on to victory at Schembechler Hall, and one day after Schembechler passed from this planet. "The day before, he'd come over and given us a long talk about how we were going to win this game and what it meant," Trent noted. "Twenty-four hours later, for him to be gone and us to find out when we were walking onto the bus for the biggest game of our lives, it was tough." Nothing got easier, as the week wore on. Michigan arrived to find Trent earned his U-M offer at a summer camp as an Orchard Lake (Mich.) St. Mary's High School freshman wideout, then switched to defense and played a key role for the Wolverines at corner- back from 2005-08, before he suited up for four years in the NFL. PHOTO BY HARRY SCULL/COURTESY JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS   WHERE ARE THEY NOW? Morgan Trent Brings The House These Days

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