As I have done in the past (here's 2011's countdown), I will be counting down to the beginning of the 2012 season by profiling most of the players on Michigan's roster and the incoming freshmen. This will lead us all the way up to the eve of the Alabama game on September 1.
Keep in mind that this list attempts to measure the importance of each player, not necessarily the talent. When making the list, I ask myself, "How much would the team be impacted if this player were hurt or had a poor season?" For example, despite the fact that Denard Robinson is Michigan's biggest star and a highlight reel unto himself, last year's #1 player was Mike Martin. The reason was a lack of depth on the interior defensive line, a need to improve defensively over the Rich Rodriguez era, and Martin's ability to impact one side of the ball by penetrating and requiring double-teams. Robinson had a backup in Devin Gardner who could have done a good job running the offense, although obviously not as well as Robinson. Martin's primary backup was William Campbell, who was very inconsistent and had just moved back from a stint as an offensive guard.
The countdown will start later today and, if all things go according to plan, there will be a new player profiled every day up through the end of August.