Man oh man. 2016. What a year it was for Michigan athletics.
We knew plenty of good was going to come this year for Michigan Wolverine fans, and that it did. Narrowing this list down to five moments was pretty hard, but here is my list for the top five moments in 2016 for Michigan athletics.
5) Jim Harbaugh Lands the No. 1 recruit in the Country
Climbing trees, attending sleepovers and working the chains at high school football games has really paid dividends for Harbaugh, and it probably will continue to with this incredible 2017 class he is building. But remember when Rashan Gary committed to Michigan on live television the day of National Signing Day?
I watched nervously in my college apartment rocking a University of Michigan hoodie just hoping that Gary would go blue. And once he put on that hat, I knew the football team was in for something special.
Gary had some nice moments in 2016, but he’s going to have an even better 2017. More playing time is expected with a couple defensive linemen leaving for the NFL, so watch out for more of the No. 1 2016 recruit next season.
4) Michigan Softball Destroyed the Big 10...and Most of the NCAA
And that’s probably an understatement, but Michigan softball owned the Big 10 in 2016. They only lost two games in the regular season to Big 10 opponents and won the other 21 games. They lost two games in the month of February, one in March and one in April. Their ending record was 52-7, including 20-1 at home and 12-1 on the road.
To cap off a ridiculous regular season, the Wolverines swept through the NCAA Regional, beat No. 17 Missouri twice in the Super Regional and advanced to the College World Series, losing to the eventual champions — No. 3 Oklahoma Sooners.
What a year for the softball team.
3) It All Started in the Citrus Bowl
2016 began for the Wolverines in a huge way; defeating the Florida Gators in the Citrus Bowl by a score of 41-7. Many people don’t remember at the end of the first quarter the score was 7-7.
De’Veon Smith had over 100 yards rushing and Jehu Chesson lit up NFL first rounder Vernon Hargreaves for 118 yards and a touchdown. Yeah, he got beat bad.
The 2017 season for the Wolverines begins in Texas with...the Florida Gators.
2) Kam Chatman Saves the Season
Yes he did.
With time running down and the score tied in the Big 10 Tournament against No. 1 seed Indiana, Michigan had one final chance to defeat the Hoosiers and not have to deal with them in an overtime period.
Derrick Walton Jr. passed it off to Chatman in the corner with about three seconds remaining. Chatman hesitated, then took the shot.
“It’s good! At the buzzer! MIIIICHIGAN WINS!”
Mike Tirico killed it, and so did Chatman. It was an amazing time for the basketball team, as that winning shot punched Michigan’s ticket to the NCAA Tournament. The team is currently 10-3 heading into Big 10 play, so it’s looking like another good season for the basketball team.
- Jourdan Lewis’ INSANE Interception
This was the peak of Michigan’s 2016 athletics year, at least in my opinion.
It was fourth-and-10 for the Wisconsin Badgers with Michigan up 14-7 with just a little over two minutes on the clock in the fourth quarter. Freshman Alex Hornibrook let the ball fly, but Lewis made the interception of the year in college football. It helped secure a huge win for the Wolverines and made people believe in the hype for not just Michigan, but the Big 10 in general.
I love Steve Levy, but he wasn’t pumped for that incredible play at all. At least Jim Brandstater was (fast forward to around 55 seconds for the interception call).
Well, folks, there you have it. The top five moments from 2016 for Michigan athletics. Making this a list of five was challenging, but were there any moments that you thought I should have included in my top five?
Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa or nothing at all, I wish you all a great holiday season and a Happy New Year.
2017 is shaping up to be an even more exciting year for Michigan sports. Bring it on.