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Year-End Awards: The Best of the Michigan Wolverines in 2015

There was plenty to talk about in the Year of the Harbaugh.

Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

The University of Michigan's athletic program provided no shortage of notable moments and performances throughout 2015.

In the spirit of the New Year, it is time to take a look back at the last 365 days and pass out some awards. Here it goes:

Most Outstanding Player

Jabrill Peppers

Peppers could fit into a few slots on this list, but he was without a doubt the most dynamic athlete that we saw between the lines in 2015.

He was one of the most-hyped athletes in recent memory coming into college. It took a redshirt year, but Peppers burst onto the scene as a three-way player, playing safety, nickel, running back, wide receiver, wildcat quarterback, kick returner and more this year.

The sky is the limit for this player and he played his way into this spot this year. We'll see what he is able to bring to the table going forward.

Best Individual Performance

Jourdan Lewis

Coming into 2015, Michigan cornerback Jourdan Lewis was already viewed as one of the team's best players, but he emerged as an All-American performer and lead a much-improved Wolverine secondary this season.

Lewis set the school record for pass breakups in a single-season with 19 to go along with two interceptions and 3.5 tackles for loss. He will return for his senior season in 2016.

Best Team Performance

Football's Three Straight Shutouts

We knew Michigan would have a good defense this season led by D.J. Durkin, but few could have imagined it would be as dominant as it was throughout the season.

The Wolverines finished top-five nationally in total defense in 2015, headlined by three-consecutive shutouts against BYU, Maryland and Northwestern. The shutout streak of three games had not been done in college football in two decades and at Michigan in thirty years. If not for an opening drive touchdown allowed against Oregon State and a garbage time score against UNLV, who knows where that streak would have ended up.

It was an impressive feat that signified Michigan's quick ascension back to national prominence faster than many had expected.

Coach of the Year

Carol Hutchins

Coach Hutch led the Michigan Softball team to an eighth consecutive Big Ten title, a Big Ten tournament title and took Florida to a decisive third game in the NCAA Women's College World Series, where the Gators would win the National Championship.

Michigan won 60 games and had its most productive offensive season in school history, setting program records in runs scored (540) and runs batted in (504) and also leading the nation in home runs with 118.

Hutchins in the second-winningest softball coach in NCAA history and enters this upcoming season with 1,432.

Best Moment

The Goal Line Stand for the Jug

Okay, so maybe at the time, it did not feel like the best, but it was arguably the signature moment of Michigan Football's 2015 season.

Coming off of a heartbreaking loss to Michigan State, the resolve of the Wolverines was put to the test on the road in another rivalry game on Halloween night. In a game where Michigan's backup quarterback was forced into action and had to lead the team back late in the game, it was the defense that had to make a play to save the game, along with the team's conference title hopes.

Minnesota elected to go for the win instead of the field goal and overtime and was stuffed by the Michigan defense on the goal line as time expired.


Comeback Player of the Year

Caris LeVert

LeVert gets this honor not only for his return to Michigan instead of the NBA Draft, but for playing the best basketball of his career this season while coming off of an injury.

He missed most of last season with a foot injury and there were concerns by some that he would never be the same afterwards. Well, to put it simply, he has been excellent.

LeVert has been everything John Beilein could have asked for and more, scoring 17.3 points, 5.4 rebounds and 4.8 rebounds per game while upping his field goal and free throw percentages.

The Unsung Hero

Jedd Fisch

Michigan Football's passing game took a big step forward down the stretch this past season. As was the case when anything went right for the Wolverines this year, people cried "HARBAUGH!"

The truth is, it was a team effort on all fronts and passing game coordinator Jedd Fisch deserves a lot of credit for the development of Jake Rudock and the wide receivers. His fingerprints were all over the offensive gameplans this year and for the most part, they accomplished what they set out to.

Best Freshman

Dylan Larkin

Larkin is making a big impact for the Detroit Red Wings in this NHL this season, but it was just a few short months ago that he was playing for Red Berenson in Ann Arbor.

He was named the Big Ten Hockey Freshman of the Year, First Team All-Big Ten and Second Team All-American and led freshman scoring in the conference in 2014-15. Larkin had 15 goals and 32 assists. His 47 points were the most by a Michigan freshman since Brendan Morrison in 1993-94.

The Waterford, Michigan native had the chance to shine under Red Berenson and now is doing the same with the hometown Detroit Red Wings, earning him this honor on the list.

Most Out of Nowhere Performance

Jake Rudock and Jehu Chesson vs. Indiana

Talk about a wild outing.

This was another Michigan Football road game this season that came down to a goal line stand with everything on the line, but it was the performances from quarterback Jake Rudock and wide receiver Jehu Chesson that was the wildest thing to come from the 48-41 double overtime win.

Rudock finished the day hitting on 33 of his 46 passing attempts with 440 yards, six touchdowns and one interception, while adding 64 yards rushing. Chesson hauled in ten catches for 207 yards and four touchdowns.

"Where did that come from?" indeed.

What were your favorite moments and awards you would hand out for 2015? Sound off in the comments below!