The Wolverine

2014 Michigan Football Preview

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 258 of 275

THE WOLVERINE 2014 FOOTBALL PREVIEW ■ 257 QB Derby: After signing Justin Feagin late in the process in 2008 after missing out on five-star quarterback and future Buckeye Terrelle Pryor, Michigan was desperate for two dual-threat signal-callers in the 2009 class. The Wolverines thought they had their QBs when four-star Kevin Newsome committed April 24, 2008, and fellow four-star Shavodrick Beaver pledged to the Maize and Blue five days later. However, neither would sign with U-M, Newsome dropping Michigan in August and Beaver in December. No matter, enter four-stars Tate Forcier and Denard Robinson, who were eager to wear the winged helmet, and who would continue the quarterback derby well into their collegiate careers. Forcier started in their freshman year, but Robinson outworked his class- mate and took over in 2010, showcasing that he was a better fit in Rich Rodriguez's offense. Forcier filled in when Robinson was banged up, and could have, perhaps, challenged and reclaimed his starting spot, but he flunked out of school in December 2010. Records Fall: In his first collegiate start, Robinson set a single-game school record with 383 yards of total offense, throwing for 186 yards and rushing for 197 in the 2010 opener against Connecticut. Over the next three seasons, Robinson would push every other total- offense performance by a former Wolverine to the side, at one time own- ing each of the top-10 Michigan single-game marks, including a 502-yard effort at Notre Dame in 2010. In 2013, Devin Gardner (584 yards and 461 yards) would eclipse two of those marks, but Robinson still occupies eight of the 10 slots. He's the only Wolverine in school history with more than 10,000 yards of total offense in a career (10,745), while he's fourth all time in passing yards (6,250) and TD passes (49), and is second all time in rushing (4,495 yards) and fourth in rushing touchdowns (42). While Robinson's name is all over the record books, receiver Jeremy Gal- lon carved his name into the annals as well, setting a U-M single-season record for receiving yards with 1,373 in 2013, including a single-game record of 369 yards against Indiana. Gallon's 89 receptions last year are second only to Braylon Edwards' 97 in 2004. Overall, Gallon ranks third all time at Michigan in catches (173), third in yards (2,704) and ninth in touchdowns (17). All You Need To Know Is I'm Out: Forcier uttered those infamous words to a reporter after Robinson's breakthrough performance against the Huskies, indicating to some that he was already planning his escape from Ann Arbor. His academics eventually proved his undoing, but by the time Forcier left Michigan in December 2010, four of his classmates had already exited the U-M program. In total, eight of 22 signees would not finish four seasons in Ann Arbor — a fifth, Mike Jones, transferred to Western Michigan for his fifth year after earning a U-M degree — contributing to a lack of depth and experience when Brady Hoke took over in 2011. In Transition: Brought in by Rodriguez, the 2009 class spent two years in Rodriguez's system before Hoke became the head coach in January 2011. He would coach their final three seasons, and in that time he would ask those players to transition in philosophy, physical makeup, accountability and offense/defense game plans. Some of those players made the transition seamlessly, some couldn't cut it and wanted out, but most fell in the middle, doing their best to fit Hoke's needs but also requiring some tweaking. Robinson is an example of someone in the middle ground, a player that worked diligently to become a pro-style QB but who ultimately succeeded when the coaches adapted to him. Final Grade: C Seven members of the class of 2009 started at least five games (with six starting at least 10 contests) during Michigan's 11-2 campaign in 2011, which culminated in a BCS Sugar Bowl victory over Virginia Tech. That team overcame a label as underachievers to, seemingly, reestab- lish the Michigan brand in Brady Hoke's first season as head coach. For a moment, the class of 2009 helped provide an image of what Michigan once was and what it aimed to be again, but the group couldn't maintain that momentum. Following a successful 2011, U-M went 8-5 and slumped to 7-6 last year. The class will always be remembered for producing Denard Robin- son, Jeremy Gallon and Taylor Lewan, but the feel-good factor of a few stars cannot overshadow the fact that during its five years, the 2009 class won just 59.4 percent of its games, never won a Big Ten title and went 2-8 against rivals Michigan State and Ohio State. Top Storylines Five-Year Record Overall: 38-26 (.594). Big Ten: 19-21 (.475). Bowl Games: 1-3. Versus Ohio State: 1-4. Versus Notre Dame: 4-1. Versus Michigan State: 1-4. Top-20 Finishes: 1, 2011. Year-By-Year Record 2009: 5-7, 1-7 Big Ten, Final Rankings: AP, unranked, coaches, unranked. 2010: 7-6, 3-5 Big Ten, Gator Bowl vs. Mississippi State (L, 52-14), Final Rankings: AP, un- ranked, coaches, unranked. 2011: 11-2, 6-2 Big Ten, Sugar Bowl vs. Virginia Tech (W, 23-20). Final R ank ings: AP, No. 12, coaches, No. 9. 2012: 8-5, 6-2 Big Ten, Out- back Bowl vs. South Carolina (L, 33-28). Final Rankings: AP, No. 24, coaches, unranked. 2013: 7-6, 3-5 Big Ten, Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl vs. Kansas State (L, 31-14). Final Rankings: AP, un- ranked, coaches, unranked. Last year, wide receiver Jeremy Gallon set the single-game (369) and single-season (1,373) school records for receiving yards. PHOTO BY LON HORWEDEL 254-258.Class of 2009.indd 257 6/18/14 4:44 PM

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of The Wolverine - 2014 Michigan Football Preview