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Daily Brews: Braylon Edwards explains frustration with how Michigan hands out No. 1 jersey

The latest with the Michigan Wolverines and college sports world for Sept. 13.

91st Rose Bowl Game Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images

Braylon Edwards is one of the most prolific playmakers in the history of Michigan football, but comments in recent years toward the program as both a fan and television analyst have stirred the masses whenever he has opened up and shared his opinions.

On the heels of the release of his autobiography, “Doing It My Way,” which was co-authored by ESPN’s Tom VanHaaren, the former Wolverine wide receiver spoke to Maize n Brew on our Friday podcast to discuss the book’s release and more.

A snippet of our interview had to do with his thoughts on the famed No. 1 jersey and how he has not been all that pleased on how the program has handled it since he graduated and became the No. 3 overall pick of the Cleveland Browns in the 2005 NFL Draft.

“No. 1 has usually been handed out in the past, but once I got it, Lloyd (Carr) told me I had to earn it,” Edwards told Maize n Brew. “I wasn’t a five star and it was not used as a recruiting tool for me. I had to earn it, so he made me go through my freshman year and I didn’t earn it. He made me go through my sophomore year in which I played well. But we even went through winter conditioning first (my junior year) before allowing me to have my number.

“So I went through a lot to get it. I fought hard tooth and nail. I fought through injuries. I fought through not being able to be named ‘the guy,’ but fighting to be ‘the guy.’ I fought for that jersey and I really wanted it. So with that being said, after I did the jersey endowment scholarship, which that wasn’t predicated on the No. 1, it was just called the No. 1 endowment, I was very serious about the number because I knew what that meant to me. I knew when I put that jersey on, I know what pressures I took on. I know what I was ready for. I know that the team could depend on me. They could count on me. I know I was ready to do whatever it took for Michigan to succeed on any given day of the week and any given time of the year.

“So when you just start handing the jersey out to use as a recruiting chip or recruiting tool, you know...I remember (Rich Rodriguez) was going to give it to a defensive back. And I was like, ‘aw man.’ Harbaugh has since given it to a defensive back and it’s just...I get it, but it’s just, that number is synonymous with that. USC would not let a center wear 55. Those are just coveted things. For me, I wanted the kids to understand that I think if you put a different onus on the jersey number, if you put a different onus on it before handing it out, you’ll get a different response from a kid. You’ll get a kid that wants to do more and wants to focus more and eventually you’ll get a man. As opposed to ‘hey, here’s this’ and you take it for granted.”

Currently, the No. 1 on Michigan is worn by junior cornerback Ambry Thomas. The only other player to wear No. 1 under Jim Harbaugh was wide receiver Kekoa Crawford, who transferred in 2018. Wide receiver Devin Funchess was awarded the jersey in the 2014 season.

Edwards also reveals in the interview why now was the perfect time to tell his side of the story in the book, his fondest memory at U-M, addressing his “feud” with Harbaugh, advice for 2019’s seniors and how to will a team to a Big Ten title and what was going through his mind when he sent out controversial tweets during the 2018 game at Notre Dame.

You can listen to the podcast here on the website in the player below or on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify or wherever you get your shows by searching “Maize n Brew.” Leave us a good rating and a review while you’re there!

First look at the basketball freshmen

Things are starting to heat up for Michigan basketball with the season just around the corner and previews starting to come out for the 2019-20 season. Aside from the fact that this will be the first year for the Juwan Howard era, a lot of the excitement revolves around a pair of freshmen that the Wolverines will be bringing to the court this year.

And if you have been jonesing to see Franz Wagner and Cole Bajema in a Michigan jersey, our buddy Brice Marich of The Michigan Insider has you covered.

Both Bajema and Wagner (who yes, for the umpteenth time, is the brother of Moe Wagner) are four-star forwards in the 2019 class and similarly rated on 247Sports. We are not sure how much of a role they will have early on, but the future starts here for Howard and his version of the Wolverines.

Basketball’s Big Ten Championship odds

Speaking of Michigan men’s basketball, the latest batch of odds from BetOnline.ag have the Wolverines as the second-highest odds of winning the Big Ten this season, right behind Michigan State.

Is Michigan the second-best team in the Big Ten heading into the year? Probably not, but also we have no idea. But betting odds are not usually a reflection of that. For the uninitiated, odds are generated based on how much money is coming in on a particular team, not who some panel of soothsayers locked away at Caesars Palace say. Michigan has a large, often confident (and sometimes reckless with their money) fanbase, but it is still eyeopening to see them regarded so highly here. We will see what happens.

National Brews

  • Tennessee has struggled on the football season this year, but they are winning the PR side of things late in the week. After a young fan’s homemade shirt went viral and a kid was bullied for it, the university reached out and is extending a four-year scholarship to the fourth grader.
  • It feels like we have discussed the A/C situation at Texas often this week, but the Longhorns Athletic Department released an internal report saying that everything was functioning correctly in the visiting locker room last week in the loss to LSU. This is very odd indeed, but the pettiness here is too good to ignore.
  • There might be a ton of buzz at Ohio State with a new era underway with Ryan Day at head coach and Justin Fields at quarterback, but student tickets are reportedly down by more than 6,500 this year.
  • Also this happened 10 years ago yesterday. Seeing as seemingly half our staff spent time in Mt. Pleasant one way or another... Fire Up Chips!