clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Blue Loops: Michigan's football roster as described by modern rappers

What better way to preview the 2014 Michigan football season than through the lyrics of J Cole and company? There is no better way.

Mmm, fish sticks.
Mmm, fish sticks.
Jeff Gross



Or call it a comeback, because I'm not LL Cool J and I most certainly left the site for an extended period. That said, I've gathered myself and am once again prepared to contribute to Maize N Brew. Now watch as I spit hot fire.


I recently met with the one and only Zach Travis to drink beer, talk about site happenings and agree about how much we hate fans who pigeonhole Devin Gardner into a class of terrible quarterbacks. Let's be clear: Devin Gardner is a talented quarterback who put up solid numbers behind an offensive line that often allowed defensive lineman to toss him like a rag doll. Devin Gardner is Michigan's starting quarterback today, tomorrow and every day between now and when his eligibility is drained; this song will describe none other than Devin Gardner.

This is DG's final stand against his sworn rivals and the many fans out there who are far too quick to cast him out as a wide receiver; it's only fitting to pair him with J. Cole, who ponders his legacy on a track that's just as underrated as Gardner himself.

J Cole – Farewell

When my story's told, how will they tell it?
Will they say I was a giver or remember I was selfish?
Will they say I was a sinner or pretend I was a saint?

Will I go down as a winner? What's the picture they gon' paint?

When I'm gone, let 'em talk.
They're discussing who I am.
When they bury me, just know I wasn't nothin' but a man.
Wasn't nothin' but a man.

Running Backs

A seemingly loaded group that hasn't yet tapped into its potential, the running backs are heavily dependent upon the offensive lineman in front of them. Good thing Derrick Green and DeVeon Smith are known as head-banging running backs, because they're going to be seeing plenty of defenders while the offensive line develops in Doug Nussmeier's inside zone scheme. And don't forget about four-star slasher Justice Hayes or Ann Arbor native Drake Johnson, who are both more suited to play all-around roles than either of Smith or Green.

Don't make the mistake of forgetting about East Coast rhymer Big L, either. Things escalated quickly when his smooth rapping style was matched with the hard-hitting styles of Tupac and Notorious B.I.G.

Big L, Tupac & Notorious B.I.G. – Deadly Combination

Picturin' pistols, spittin' hollow points 'til they drill me
Keepin' it real and even if I do conceal my criminal thoughts.
Preoccupied with keepin' steel.

I'm loco bro, but ain't no Mexican.
I got nines in the bedroom, glocks in the kitchen.
A shotty by the shower if you wanna shoot me while I'm shittin'

[Big L]
I be that young, pretty, fly, smooth, glorious kid.
A Bad Boy, just like Notorious B.I.G.
I Roc-a-Fella like Shawn Carter
With more game than Ron Harper.

Wide Receivers / Tight Ends

The nation is sleeping on this group despite its inclusion of Devin Funchess, Jake Butt, Amara Darboh, Freddy Canteen and Dennis Norfleet. I'm extremely optimistic about them after seeing footage of Freddy Canteen making a talented group of Michigan corners look foolish. The Wolverines should boast an excellent passing attack this season.

Which rapper is suited to put the talents of the receiving corps into words? None other than Juelz freaking Santana, who wrote the song that is admittedly my biggest [extremely] guilty pleasure. Funchess reminds many of Braylon Edwards, and others have tabbed Canteen as the next Mario Manningham, making this song suitable enough to use here.

Juelz Santana – The Second Coming

They say family that prays together stays together.
And one that walks apart just falls apart.
So together we stand, divided we fall.
United we form Voltron and take on all.

Yes, the bird's left the nest.
I'm all grown up, gotta fly with the rest.
Best of the best is what we strive to be.
A legacy is what we're trying to leave.

Offensive Line

Where to start? Michigan loses two bookend offensive tackles who could have anchored a dominant offensive line but instead blasted defensive ends while Michigan's coaching staff shuffled through failed interior lineman like I shuffle through declining modern rap songs. No one is expecting this unit to be good, or average for that matter, which is ironic considering the amount of four- and five-star maulers on this roster.

Who's to blame for the inevitable failure of this unit? Is it coach Darrell Funk? Is it Taylor Lewan? Maybe Kanye West can take this unit to the 'nutha muthaf*****' level.

Kanye West ft. John Legend – Blame Game

All of the lights.
You was caught in the hype girl.
And I was satisfied being in love with the lie.
Now who to blame, you to blame, me to blame for the pain.
And it poured every time when it rained.
Let's play the blame game.

Defensive Line

Much like the situation at corner, Michigan is at least two-deep at all four spots across the defensive line, and it's moving to a system better suited to the skill set of its personnel. Brennan Beyer and Taco Charlton will battle for a majority share of playing time on the strong side of the formation; whoever wins that job will play next to the winner of a three-way battle between Matt Godin, Christopher Wormley and the rising Willie Henry. The other half of the line is just as talented, boasting Ondre Pipkins and Maurice Hurst at the nose and multiple four-star talents looking to help take some of the workload off of Frank Clark.

In short, the amount of talent and competition within the group should lead to Michigan fielding one of the better front fours in the conference. One or two players need to show an ability to get to quarterbacks on obvious passing downs, but these guys are going to toss bodies in the run game. Enter: Ludacris.

Ludacris – Block Lockdown

I got my corner on lockdown.
About to hold this whole block down.
Ludacris tell um how the South sound.

I know killers that go to church up in they street clothes.
You'll end up missin' more than Shaq when shootin' free throws.
They packin' and bout to open up the dope spot.
My neighborhood is stoppin' cars like a roadblock.


Michigan has a mob of capable bodies at all three of its linebacker positions, from the SAM to the MIKE and over to the WILL. Not feeling so confident in Michigan's choice to move Jake Ryan into the middle of the formation? Joe Bolden wouldn't mind crushing skulls; Ben Gedeon has been labeled The Freak for good reason; Desmond Morgan and James Ross can jump around to make room for Royce Jenkins-Stone. Who cares who plays? Opposing running backs are going to have trouble finding gaps to exploit.

Enter Hova, fully prepared with a warning for anyone willing to step in front of this group.

Jay-Z – Takeover

Hey lil' soldier, you ain't ready for war.
R.O.C. too strong for ya'll.
It's like bringing a knife to a gunfight, pen to a test.
Your chest in the line of fire with your thin-ass vest.

You bringing them boys to men – how them boys gonna win?
This is grown man B.I.
Get you rolled into triage, bi-atch.

Your reach ain't long enough.
Your peeps ain't strong enough.
Roc-A-Fella is the Army.
Better yet, the Navy.

Defensive Backs

There was once a time when Michigan was pulling wide receivers over from the offense to see if they could flip their hips and play defense. We're well past those times, looking at a group so loaded it could guard the damn A-11 offense. Blake Countess was just awarded the #2 jersey – sacred property within Michigan circles – and still feels like he has work to do in order to lock down one of the two starting spots. Raymon Taylor, Jourdan Lewis, Channing Stribling, Jabrill Peppers and a duo of forgotten talents have officially flipped the script at corner.

The safety position isn't as talented or as deep as their smaller teammates, but they still show promise. Free safety Jarrod Wilson has already punched his ticket for the starting lineup; he'll be backed by the freakishly large Jeremy Clark. The other safety spot has received more attention than any in the entire defense, and for good reason. Will speedster Dymonte Thomas be able to lock it down with Delano Hill sidelined by a broken jaw? Both are inexperienced yet capable of becoming ball-hawking play makers.

Quick-witted, genius rapper Mos Def jumps on the mic the way these guys are going press opposing receivers.

Mos Def – Oh No

I earned what they said I wouldn't.
I got it the way they said I couldn't.
But now I'm gettin' it and they whole grill is crooked.
Mad cause I'm gettin' caked out from my bookings.
When y'all was askin' permission I just stepped up and took it.

What!? The kid's better buy my rookie card now.
Cause after this year the price ain't comin' down.
And if you got a joint bubblin' then get money now.
Cause in a minute, there's gonna be some real trouble comin' out.