The Wolverine

2014 Michigan Football Preview

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 255 of 275

254 ■ THE WOLVERINE 2014 FOOTBALL PREVIEW BY MICHAEL SPATH F ollowing his first season on the Michigan sideline, head coach Rich Rodriguez began the process of shaping the Wolverines to fit his ambitions. He and his staff went hard after athletes from the state of Florida (eight signees), including a trio of recruits — quarterback Denard Robinson, tailback Vincent Smith and wide receiver Jeremy Gallon — that would go on to form the heart of U‑M's offense during their careers. Overall, the class of 2009 members would combine to make 389 starts, or an average of 17.7 starts per player. The cohort would play big roles, some immediately in their freshman campaigns. However, the 2009 group suffered through many of the early departures that also plagued Rodriguez's classes in 2008 (nine of 24 signees left early) and 2010 (16 of 27). The class enjoyed some spectacular moments and one great season in 2011, but largely struggled to meet the expectations of the Michigan standard that preceded the class' arrival in Ann Arbor. CLASS EVALUATION The Recruiting Signees Of 2009 Featured Star Performers, But Also Experienced Some Struggles Top Five Wins For 2009 Class 1. 40-34 vs. Ohio State, 2011: In their third season, the members of the class of 2009 helped Michigan vanquish the Buckeyes, ending a seven-game losing streak to Ohio State. Denard Rob- inson, Fitz Toussaint and Vincent Smith combined for 293 yards rushing and two touchdowns, while Robinson threw for 167 yards and three scores. Defensively, Thomas Gordon and Cam Gordon totaled five tackles. 2. 35-31 vs. Notre Dame, 2011: The first night game in Michigan Stadium history ended when Robinson connected on a 16-yard touchdown pass with two seconds remaining. He was the star of the night, but 2009 signee Jeremy Gallon had 78 yards and a score on two receptions, Smith scored a TD, and class of 2009 defenders posted 15 tackles, one tackle for loss and one pass bro- ken up in securing the win. 3. 12-10 vs. Michigan State, 2012: Now in their fourth year, the 2009 classmates helped U-M snap a four-game losing streak to the Spartans thanks to four Brendan Gibbons field goals. He hit the game-winner from 38 yards out with five seconds left on the clock. Robinson, Toussaint and Smith amassed 160 yards rushing, Robinson threw for 163 yards, and the defensive lot made 14 tackles. 4. 23-20 vs. Virginia Tech, 2011: The lone bowl win for this class also happened to be a BCS victory. On a day the offense struggled — though Robinson threw for two touchdowns — Gib- bons delivered three critical field goals, including the game-winner in overtime, and the defense held the Hokies to one touchdown. 5. 41-30 vs. Notre Dame, 2013: The last hurrah for a class that still numbered eight strong in 2013, the win over Notre Dame was the year's best, and the 2009 class once again starred. Toussaint posted 102 all-purpose yards, Gallon had 184 yards receiving and three touchdowns, Gibbons made two field goals and the offensive line, anchored by Taylor Lewan and Michael Schofield, created ample room for quarterback Devin Gardner. 1. Denard Robinson vs. Notre Dame, 2010: In his second career start, Robinson produced stats galore, including a then-Michigan record 502 yards of total offense in becoming only the ninth QB in Division I history to rush (258 yards) and pass (244 yards) for 200 yards in a game, but his performance down the stretch was the highlight of the day. With U-M trailing 24-21 and 3:41 remaining, Robinson drove the Wolverines 72 yards on 12 plays, completing 5 of 6 pass attempts for 55 yards while rushing for 17 yards, including a two-yard touchdown to stake Michigan to its winning 28-24 margin with 27 seconds left. 2. Denard Robinson vs. Ohio State, 2011: For every critic that said he could never be a successful quarterback under former offen- sive coordinator Al Borges, Robinson must only point to a pair of back-to-back games on his résumé from the close of the 2011 regu- Top 10 Individual Performances Of The Class Of 2009 254-258.Class of 2009.indd 254 6/18/14 4:44 PM

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of The Wolverine - 2014 Michigan Football Preview