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Maize n Brew’s Bracket for the best player of the Jim Harbaugh Era: The Championship

It’s Aidan Hutchinson vs. Jake Butt for all the glory!

It’s time for the championship matchup! No. 1 Aidan Hutchinson dominated the Defense Region to get to the finale. On the other side is No. 3 Jake Butt, who made a surprise run to the championship by upsetting both No. 2 Hassan Haskins and No. 1 Blake Corum by thin margins.

Now, it’s time for the epic conclusion of the movie of the summer.

Let’s crown the champion of the best Michigan Wolverines under Jim Harbaugh!

Championship Matchup

No. 1: Aidan Hutchinson vs No. 3: Jake Butt

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. It was likely the second-best defensive season in school history behind only Charles Woodson’s Heisman Trophy year in 1997.

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 that was a two-time captain in Ann Arbor, and now he is making waves on Sundays in Detroit.

If there was any doubt Hutchinson was the best defensive player, it was squashed when he claimed 70 percent of the vote over Jabrill Peppers to win the Defense Region.

Hutchinson’s rise correlated with the rise of the Michigan program, and that is no accident. He was the best player on a team that was expected to do so little but accomplished so much. The 2021 Wolverines beat Ohio State, won the Big Ten Championship, and made the first College Football Playoff appearance of the Harbaugh era. That does not happen without Aidan Hutchinson, and this program isn’t where it is today without the mark he left.

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.
  • Won the Defense Region taking 70 percent of the vote against No. 2 Jabrill Peppers.

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.

As we mentioned before, Butt upset both Hassan Haskins and Blake Corum on his way to this championship matchup. The thought there has to be the longevity of success Butt had with multiple award-winning level seasons outweighed the single seasons of success we have seen from the other two runningbacks. If he hadn’t gotten injured against Florida State in the Orange Bowl, he was on his way to having a really successful NFL career.

Now that he is back in and around the program in his work with the Big Ten Network, I think he is also top of mind for a lot of Michigan fans. He played during a great time full of a lot of excitement at the beginning of Harbaugh’s time in Ann Arbor.

Poll

Who’s the best player of the Jim Harbaugh era: Aidan Hutchinson or Jake Butt?

This poll is closed

  • 47%
    Aidan Hutchinson
    (1452 votes)
  • 52%
    Jake Butt
    (1592 votes)
3044 votes total Vote Now

Make sure to sound off in the comments about the championship matchup for a chance to be featured in the final article of this series!