Saturday, June 21, 2014

Jersey Number News

1 + 8 = 2
Some news came out yesterday about freshman jersey numbers, plus a couple number changes for the fall. There will surely be others (who will get Legends jerseys #11 and #21?), but these are the stories for now.

#2 Blake Countess: Redshirt junior Countess will switch from #18. This is Charles Woodson's old jersey number, so some people will be upset because Countess doesn't "deserve it." The kid was All-Big Ten and had 6 interceptions last year, including 1 returned for a touchdown. He's now #3 on the single-season interception list behind Tom Curtis and Woodson himself. You can't be much better without being Charles Woodson himself.

#5 Jabrill Peppers: Last worn by CB Courtney Avery. Will share the number with RB Justice Hayes. Peppers also wore #5 in high school.

#14 Drake Harris: Known since the spring. Last worn by S Josh Furman. Harris wore #1 in high school.

#17 Freddy Canteen: Known since the spring. Last worn by WR Jeremy Jackson. Canteen wore #19 in high school.

#19 Wilton Speight: Known since the spring. Last worn by TE Devin Funchess. Speight also wore #19 in high school.

#19 Jared Wangler: Will share the number with Speight. Father, John, wore #5 in college. Brother, Jack, is #16. Jared wore #5 in high school.

#28 Brandon Watson: Was #20 in the spring. Last worn by RB Fitzgerald Toussaint. Watson wore #20 in high school.

#32 Ty Isaac: Last worn at Michigan by S Jordan Kovacs. The incoming transfer, Isaac wore #29 at USC last year. Isaac wore #32 in high school.

#51 Michael Ferns: Known since the spring. The last scholarship guy to wear it was LB Eric Brackins in the early 2000's. Ferns wore #10 in high school.

#52 Mason Cole: Known since the spring. LB Royce Jenkins-Stone also wears this number. Last worn on offense by OL Stephen Schilling. Cole also wore #52 in high school.

#54 Brady Pallante: Last worn by DT Richard Ash. Pallante wore #52 in high school.

#58 Chase Winovich: Last worn by OG Chris Bryant. Winovich wore #15 in high school.

#59 Noah Furbush: Worn by a bunch of walk-on types recently (Jack Doyle, Mark Lawson), but also by long snapper Sean Griffin and linebacker Joey Sarantos. Furbush wore #5 in high school.

#76 Juwann Bushell-Beatty: Last worn by DT Quinton Washington. Bushell-Beatty wore #73 in high school.

#85 Maurice Ways: Last worn by WR Joe Reynolds. Ways wore #9 in high school.

#90 Bryan Mone: Known since the spring. Last worn by LB Jake Ryan when he was a redshirt freshman. Mone wore #52 in high school.

#93 Lawrence Marshall: Not a popular number at Michigan. Worn by a couple defensive linemen, walk-on placekickers, etc. Last notable person to wear it was LB Sam Sword in late 1990's. Marshall wore #12 in high school.

#94 Ian Bunting: Yes, this is still an eligibile number for a tight end. Last worn by tight end Jordan Paskorz. Bunting wore #1 in high school.


  1. Sorry, but Countess doesn't deserve #2, at least not yet. He had a very good year last season, but not a great one. He could be significantly better and still not be Charles making All-American. It'd be nice if he were at least one of the best CBs in the country this year before we start comparing him to one of the best CBs of all time. Would he even go in the first round of the NFL draft? Doubtful.

    In general, the legends numbers have been handed out far too freely, IMO.

    1. My opinion is too much is being made of the numbers themselves. I wish they would play down the numbers and pay more attention to the performance on and off the field. This focus on "legends" numbers and recent great player numbers is distracting.

      Plus, when #41 -- Rob Lytle's number -- is being worn by a walk-on scout team player ... well, then we know they're not really serious about honoring the true greats. :-)

    2. I think by giving it to Countess, the staff is not only downplaying the numbers, they're also making it seem like an achievable goal. Everyone knows that #2 is given to the best CB on the team. But it and the #1 Jersey hasn't been given out in so long now that it almost like an impossible dream. By giving it out, I think the staff is hoping that not only does Countess work hard[er] to live up to the #2 jersey, but also that other CB see that and work harder so that they can earn it as well.

    3. Well, my feeling is that they are too quick to hand the numbers out to SOMEONE. But I think that to get one, a player has to be performing at a very high level, and probably for more than just one year. Don't just give it to whoever happens to be the best on the team in one particular season. If no one is at that level, don't give it to anyone.

    4. EVERYONE needs a number, and there are only 99 options. They can play games and double up with offense and defense, but ultimately it's difficult to have a bunch of numbers with restrictions on them.

      The criteria for #1 and #2 is something that has been recently invented. There is no wrong answer.

    5. If Countess were a sure-fire 1st round pick, he would have left after the 2013 season. That's the thing about college players. They're only around for 3-5 years, and jersey numbers have to be handed out BEFORE their final year. I don't know if Countess would be a 1st rounder or not, but you can't wait until he's a 1st rounder to give him the #2 jersey because then he's playing in the NFL and not in Ann Arbor.

      Braylon Edwards was #80 in 2001 and 2002. In 2002 he caught 67 balls for 1,035 yards and 10 touchdowns and was rewarded with the #1 jersey for the following year, but he wasn't all-conference or All-American. And that was when the conference was only 11 teams, so it was easier to make all-conference. He had two great seasons in 2003 and 2004 wearing the #1 jersey.

      Blake Countess, meanwhile, had a very good season in 2013 and was all-conference in a bigger Big Ten than Edwards played in. So if we're going by "earning the jersey," Countess supporters can make a pretty solid argument that he meets the criteria set forth by the Braylon Edwards situation.

  2. Man, you're right. Countess sure ain't no Vincent Smith either. By the way, Woodson's number isn't a "Legends" Number

  3. A bit confused here. If Nuss is truly contemplating using Peppers occasionally on the offensive side, why two offensive players with #5?

    1. Peppers is just going to play defense as a freshman. They'll cross that bridge if they get to it. Last year Deveon Smith switched from #4 to #32 so he could get on the field at the same time as Cam Gordon. No big deal.

  4. Next season, I expect Countess to be better than he was in 2013...and have fewer INTs. That stat is a very crude indicator of CB play.

    As for the number thing - I'm on team "who cares". I have my preference for how the legends thing and #1/#2 should be managed but over the last few years it's clear there is no consensus on this. And, it wouldn't matter even if there was - Dave Brandon gets to decide and he cares more about short-term revenues than long-term interests.

    1. I don't think INT number is that crude if you're careful to examine how they happened. One or two were thrown right to Countess, but at least three came from his signature baiting move. That said, I also expect Countess to be better in 2014, specifically concerning getting beat deep.