The Wolverine

November 2016

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 19 of 83

20 THE WOLVERINE NOVEMBER 2016 over anyone, but he's always there to help teammates out when they need it, Michigan's defenders concur. "Chris Wormley is invaluable," Win- ovich said. "He's constantly the voice of reason. If someone is saying some- thing that really doesn't make sense, it's the classic, 'Whaaat?' "He's that solidarity that we need on a defense, as a captain. That's why we voted for him. As a football player, there are not too many people built like him." Ron Simpkins agrees. The most pro- lific tackler in the history of Michigan football, the U-M linebacker of the mid-1970s sees Wormley as a classic immovable object who could have played for Bo Schembechler, for Har- baugh or for anyone. "I've liked him since the first time I saw him play football," said Simpkins. "He's got the body for a football player — a body to play on the next level. "He's shown that steady improve- ment. He sees it, and the NFL scouts will see it, too. He'll be a guy who can actually go to the next level and play for a long time. "He's not going to be a guy where you hear his name mentioned all the time. But in regard to doing his assign- ment and making the play when he's supposed to make the play, he's that kind of player. He can be a consistent player on the NFL level, and he's start- ing to really shine now in college." HELPING HANDS Wormley insists he's very comfort- able showing younger players the ropes, and Harbaugh heaped praise on him in that regard upon revealing the team vote for captains. The head coach noted he's often "caught" Wormley investing extra time with the young defensive linemen. Freshman standout Rashan Gary calls Wormley and senior defensive end Taco Charlton "my big brothers," a duo from which the rookie finds himself constantly learning. Even Michigan's younger offensive players get some les- sons — sometimes the hard way. Freshman tight end Devin Asiasi isn't exactly miniature, at 6-3, 287. But he admits to a significant struggle when it comes to dealing with someone who has learned all the tricks and possesses the power to fully exert them. "It's hard," Asiasi said. "It's not easy going against someone who is 6-5, 6-6 and who runs a 4.7. He's fast, he's strong, he's long. It's not an easy task at all. It gets you better, though. "It prepares you for game day. You're not going to go against some scrub. You're going to get some top-notch guys out there. Going against one of the best D-linemen in the Big Ten really helps you get prepared for that." Mattison just sits back and smiles. He's seen Wormley go from an injured freshman to a full-grown man over the course of five years. He's watched the maturation and all that the captain is doing for this team at present. Mattison also acknowl- edged Wormley is helping build future Michigan success. "Off the field, he's a star," Mattison said. "To take these young kids under his wing like he has and try to show them what is expected, what you have to do … "And he doesn't sit them down, and you don't hear him yelling at some- body. It's, 'Come on, we've got to do this better.' He's one of those guys that, when you coach, you say this is a real one." The captain's mantle fits well, Mat- tison assured. "That's voted for by the team," the coach said. "They see the same thing, obviously, and he's done a great job." Not everyone can handle that sort of singling out, he observed. "You don't ever know once a guy is a captain," Mattison said. "He's just going like that." And with that, Mattison shot his arm out and up, an ascending gesture that left no doubt. "It's just taking on that leadership role with the young guys," Wormley said. "There are a lot of young guys on this team that help us this year, espe- cially on the defensive line. It's getting them acclimated, comfortable with the defense, comfortable with the other Wormley has totaled 102 tackles, 29.5 tackles for loss and 16 sacks during his U-M career through the first six games of his final campaign. PHOTO BY LON HORWEDEL

Articles in this issue

view archives of The Wolverine - November 2016