Jumbo Elliot and Charles Woodson are the two most recent Michigan Wolverines football players to be enshrined in the college football Hall of Fame, and two more are on the ballot this year in Steve Hutchinson and Mark Messner.
Who gets in next? Michael Spath from Sports Illustrated listed off his next favorites to earn the honor of the Hall of Fame status over the next couple of years. Here are some of the highlights.
Offensive tackle Jake Long
Long was one of the best offensive lineman in the history of Michigan football and he deserved the honor of being selected with the No. 1 overall selection in the 2008 NFL Draft. Spath would concur:
Incredibly, Long never won a national individual position award, but he is one of just six Wolverines in the last 50 years to garner consensus first-team All-America honors twice (2006, ‘07). He was the Big Ten’s Offensive Lineman of the Year his final two seasons as he proved to be one of the most dominant OL in the country and is, arguably, the best offensive lineman to wear the winged helmet at Michigan since Dan Dierdorf (1968-70).
It should be a matter of when not if for Long as he will go down as one of the best lineman to ever put on the maize and blue.
Wide receiver Braylon Edwards
This pick may be a bit controversial, but Edwards’ play on the field in Ann Arbor surely could garner enough respect to a trip to Atlanta. Spath acknowledged just what made Edwards so special:
“Edwards is the only player in school history to amass three 1,000-yard receiving seasons. He also owns the program records for career receptions (252) by almost 80 catches, receiving yards (3,541) by more than 500 and touchdowns (39) by two. At the time of his career ending, Edwards also ranked in the top 20 all time (in college football) in receptions, top 25 in yards and top 10 in touchdowns (he ranks 16th today in the last category).”
Cornerback Ty Law
There is one fairly obvious thing that Law has in his favor: he is already in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton after a prestigious 15-year NFL career. As a two-year starter at Michigan, “he was named All-Big Ten first team and was named a first-team All-American by the Walter Camp Foundation. Law doesn’t have the big numbers, though, that usually attract attention - he doesn’t even rank in the Top 10 for Michigan in career interceptions and he ranks 18th in career pass breakups (19), but his recent place among the NFL’s immortal may garner him College Football Hall of Fame votes in the future.”
Quarterback Denard Robinson
Last but certainly not least is “Shoelace” himself, Denard Robinson, who was a perennial Heisman Trophy candidate in his three years as the starting quarterback at Michigan. He is not eligible until the class of 2023, and even then, Spath doesn’t necessarily like his chances:
Robinson was the Big Ten MVP in 2010, but he ranks outside the Top 100 nationally all time in total offense (115th with 10,745) and total TDs responsible for (111th with 91). He was spectacular to watch, especially in 2010-11, but his production and recognition probably don’t stand up to the Top 2%.
Spath’s full list can be viewed here. Who do you think has the best chance to get in? Tell us in the comment section below!