Saturday, August 30, 2014

Michigan's Legends Jerseys

Junior Hemingway wearing the Desmond Howard patch
Michigan's Legends jerseys are unique to the University of Michigan and are awarded each season to players deemed deserving by the coaching staff. The plan is to hand out each jersey number every year, and so far, no freshman has been honored with wearing the jersey. That means that each player listed below has changed his jersey number mid-career, with the exception of Junior Hemingway, who wore #21 prior to the Legends jersey idea but was bedazzled with a Desmond Howard patch during the 2011 season.

Feel free to discuss who will wear #11 and #21 this year. The other jersey numbers are taken by returning players, although someone like Devin Funchess could be given the #1 jersey, which would open up his current #87.

#1: In honor of Anthony Carter/Braylon Edwards
2014: Devin Funchess, WR

#2: In honor of Charles Woodson
2014: Blake Countess, CB

#11: In honor of the Wistert brothers
2013: Courtney Avery, CB/S
2012: Jordan Kovacs, S

#21: In honor of Desmond Howard
2013: Jeremy Gallon, WR
2012: Roy Roundtree, WR
2011: Junior Hemingway, WR

#47: In honor of Bennie Oosterbaan
2012-2014: Jake Ryan, LB

#48: In honor of Gerald Ford
2012-2014: Desmond Morgan, LB

#87: In honor of Ron Kramer
2013: Devin Funchess, TE/WR
2012: Brandon Moore, TE

#98: In honor of Tom Harmon
2013-2014: Devin Gardner, QB


  1. Take away the 98 jersey from DG and make him earn it after more than 1 good game. I say Funchess should be able to pick between #1 and #21. If he picks #1, then I'm ok with no one wearing 21 until next year.

    1. You can't take away Gardner's jersey. For better or worse, he already has it. Removing it would bring a rain of negative publicity that Michigan doesn't want, and Gardner would/should be pissed.

    2. I understand, but they shouldn't have given it to him after a few good games. Make him earn it during the course of the year.

    3. I've seen a lot of dumb Anon comments, but this one is just the worst.

  2. Stop the process, allow the players to establish their own identity.

    1. I agree. If someone wants the jersey (like Braylon Edwards wanted the #1), then they should be able to have it or earn it. I don't like the idea of forcing someone to wear it every year, though.

    2. Yup. But stopping the legends program after it started would also cause a torrent of crap. I am trying to embrace it -- it's almost impossible to replicate what these legends accomplished thus far anyway. Devin Gardner is a great QB, but is no legend. Same goes for just about everyone on the roster except maybe Jabrill Peppers, but I don't really see him overcoming what Woodson accomplished in 3 years. So I don't really mind him doing the #2 legends thing in 2015 or 16. Let's see how this program goes.


      If Jabrill Peppers can top this, he deserves his own legends number. We should be able to judge by end of his freshman year to see whether he beat the Buckeyes or not and if he caught game-changing INTs or not. If not, he should be proud to wear and represent the #2 legends jersey

    4. They're not forcing players to wear the numbers at all. Each player either agrees or declines to wear the jersey. I specifically remember that Gallon was asked if he wanted to switch to #21 and he felt honored to do so.

      To be honest, I don't really care what numbers they wear or how many times they change in a player's career, as long as we WIN.

  3. It is news to me to that they will be assigned every year. Is that official from Hoke or the AD?

  4. A jersey is retired for a reason. At Michigan they were retire for damn good reasons. What was it a half dozen in 130+years? Maybe they should have left them retired.

  5. I think the idea of the legends jerseys is great: reintroduce those retired numbers into circulation, honoring the legends in the process and placing a patch on the shirts forever.

    I don't think they should always go to our established guys and I don't think they should be position specific. Just give them out like normal numbers after introducing them back by having our top players wear them. Who should wear 11 and 21 next year? The freshmen who want them.

  6. I like the legends jerseys. It's something unique in college football. It actually benefits the memories of the original players, too. Before Jordan Kovacs wore #11, how many of you could have named the Wistert Brothers, or had any idea what they did?

    By the way, #1 is not a Legends Jersey. Michigan never retired it (although it may have seemed that way), and there is no patch on the uniform, as there is for the others. #2 isn't a Legends Jersey either, and Michigan has given that number out fairly consistently over the years. Brady Hoke has said that it'll only go to defensive players from now on, but that's a recent "rule": Vincent Smith wore #2.

    As Desmond Howard and Charles Woodson won Heismans, it's pretty clear that if Michigan didn't have the Legends program, their numbers would eventually have been retired. This creates problems, as there are fewer numbers to go around: as it is, some numbers are used on both offense and defense, and they have to be careful that they don't get penalized on special teams.

    I don't think we'll see a #11 or a #21 this year. Those would've been given out already, if they were going to be. I think Jake Butt is likely to get #87 when he returns. Going forward, I don't think anyone will change his number mid-season, as they did when the Legends were rolled out.

    The idea of having to "earn it" needs to be handled with care. I wouldn't give them to true freshmen, or kids who've had checkered careers off the field (e.g., Will Hagerup, Frank Clark). But I'm perfectly fine giving them out to kids like Courtney Avery last year, a decent player who followed the rules but never became a star.

    Certainly, the idea of taking #98 away from Devin Gardner, and making him re-earn it, is one of the dumbest things I have heard in a while.

  7. um, the #1 and #2 jerseys aren't actually "legends jerseys." while they were worn by legendary players at Michigan, these numbers have never been retired, and anyone wearing them doesn't have the patch on their jersey that go along with the legends jersey program. while i'm sure many of these players are obviously honored to be wearing the numbers of former Michigan greats, i think some of them may also want to carve out their own history with the program. Peppers said as much when initially asked if he'd take the #2 if offered. i think that if they want to do something like this, they should put the formerly retired numbers back into a semi-retired state. if a truly worthy player has earned the right ask or be asked by the coaching staff to wear one of these numbers, then allow them to, and put the patch on it, rather than giving them out to guys like Courtney Avery just because. the #1 however, should never fall into this program. there should never be a patch with one particular player's name attached to this number. enough great players have worn that jersey at Michigan that singling any one of them out would be spitting in the eye of the others.