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Maize n Brew’s Bracket for the best player of the Jim Harbaugh Era: Final Four

It’s time to crown some champs.

We started with 16 current and former Michigan Wolverines on both offense and defense. After this week, we will crown the champions of each region in Maize n Brew’s quest to find the best player in the Jim Harbaugh era.

Here is how we have gotten here:

An elite top-four includes Blake Corum and Jake Butt in the Offense Region, and Aidan Hutchinson and Jabrill Peppers in the Defense Region.

Let the voting commence!

Offense Region

No. 1: Blake Corum vs. No. 3: Jake Butt

The case for Blake Corum:

The 2022 season was the best under Harbaugh, and Corum was the best player on that team. He was a unanimous First-Team All-American and was a finalist for the Doak Walker Award. Had it not been for his knee injury, he likely would have been a finalist for the Heisman Trophy.

Corum has had a couple really impressive seasons, tallying almost 2,500 career yards and 31 touchdowns while averaging six yards per carry. He is only going to build upon his Michigan legacy this season, where he likely will enter the top-10 in program history in rushing touchdowns and yardage, if he stays healthy.

He’s had some pretty incredible games, but I’m not sure any top his 243-yard performance against Maryland last season. Corum carried the ball 30 times and put it in the end zone twice, including massive runs on third and fourth downs throughout the game.

Blake Corum’s path:

  • A 99-1 percent win over No. 16 Cade McNamara in RD1.
  • Took down No. 8 Jon Runyan Jr. with 96 percent of the vote in RD2.
  • Beat his second quarterback of the Offense Region by conquering No. 5 J.J. McCarthy in the top-eight.

The case for Jake Butt:

A lot of Harbaugh’s early success at Michigan involved Jake Butt, and he has yet to have a tight end like him since. Butt holds the program record for most career receptions (138) and yards (1,646) by a tight end after appearing in 49 games and making 37 starts. He was a two-time Big Ten Tight End of the Year and won the Mackey Award in 2016.

It’s crazy to think he kept pace with Amara Darboh and Jehu Chesson in the offense with Jake Rudock and Wilton Speight at quarterback. It’s such a shame to think what could have been at the next level if he didn’t get hurt in the Orange Bowl against Florida State.

The one knock on Butt is that Harbaugh adopted him; he wasn’t a recruit that came in because of his prowess. Still, his last two seasons at Michigan may not have been as great if it were not for Harbaugh’s tight end-heavy approach to the offense.

Jake Butt’s path:

  • Snagged 82 percent of the vote in RD1 vs No. 14 Cesar Ruiz.
  • Took the crown as top pass-catcher from No. 11 Ronnie Bell with 87 percent of the vote in RD2.
  • Upset No. 2 Hassan Haskins with 62 percent of the vote to advance to the Offense Region finale.


Who’s the best offensive player Jim Harbaugh has had: No. 1 Blake Corum or No. 3 Jake Butt

This poll is closed

  • 45%
    No. 1 Blake Corum
    (656 votes)
  • 54%
    No. 3 Jake Butt
    (778 votes)
1434 votes total Vote Now

Defense Region

No. 1: Aidan Hutchinson vs No. 2: Jabrill Peppers

The case for Aidan Hutchinson:

Hutchinson’s impact was immense. He was a 2021 consensus All-American while breaking the program record for the most sacks in a season with 14. After a three-sack performance in the win over Ohio State, He finished second in the Heisman Trophy voting while winning just about every award for the best defensive player in the country. He was also a two-time captain in Ann Arbor.

Being a hometown kid that wound up playing at Michigan and being drafted by the Detroit Lions at No. 2 overall is a dream for so many. Along with his play, I think that is why Hutchinson has an advantage over any other player on this list. He’s a Michigan man through and through, and he is one of the best to ever do it in Ann Arbor.

I mean, if this does indoctrinate the mentality Harbaugh came into Michigan to establish, I don’t know what does. Hutchinson was a badass.

Aidan Hutchinson’s path:

  • Claimed 99 percent of the vote against No. 16 Khaleke Hudson in RD1.
  • Achieved 99 percent of the vote AGAIN to beat No. 9 Kwity Paye in RD2.
  • Continued his dominance by beating No. 4 Jourdan Lewis with 94 percent of the vote.

The case for Jabrill Peppers:

Jabrill Peppers was a special college football player. He played meaningful downs in all three phases of the game at an elite level. In 2016, he became the first player in Big Ten history to win three individual conference awards — the Big Ten’s Defensive Player of the Year, Linebacker of the Year and Return Specialist of the Year. He also finished fifth in Heisman voting and was a consensus All-American. I could go on and on...

Peppers also had one of the most impressive single-game performances I have ever seen. He had a sack, a two-point conversion taken the other way and scored a rushing touchdown in the 2016 win over MSU.

Personally, Peppers is one of my favorite players to ever play at Michigan. He was exhilarating to watch, and the only other spectacle like him to play for the Wolverines in my lifetime was Denard Robinson. There are very few guys that you just half to see every down for because they are just that special, and Peppers was one of them.

Jabrill Pepper’s path:

  • Garnered 95 percent of the vote en route to a win over No. 15 Josh Ross in RD1.
  • Cruised to a 87 percent win over No. 7 David Ojabo in RD2.
  • Narrowly escaped an upset bid from No. 3 Devin Bush in a 57-43 percent win.


Who’s the best defensive player Jim Harbaugh has had: No. 1 Aidan Hutchinson or No. 2 Jabrill Peppers?

This poll is closed

  • 69%
    No. 1 Aidan Hutchinson
    (689 votes)
  • 30%
    No. 2 Jabrill Peppers
    (302 votes)
991 votes total Vote Now

I wanted to give a special shout-out to the GOAT Jake Moody, who was crowned the Special Teams Region champ without any voting necessary. Maize n Brew decided it would be a complete waste of time to even hold any voting in this because Moody would have taken 100 percent of the vote in every special team's matchup we thought of, and he just didn’t fit in either of the regions we created. As we crown champions of each, Moody deserves to get his honorable mention spot at this moment.

Please, drop your thoughts in the comments below for a chance to be featured in an upcoming story!