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Senior Memories

  • This Senior class might be my favorite one since I've been a Michigan fan. This is the class that came the year after Michigan was 3-9, so they came in when we were at the bottom of the bottom. They truly are the class that brought Michigan back to the top of the B1G from Rich Rod's first year disaster. I've got some random (and not so random) memories and reflection of guys who played in the BIG House.

    Denard Robinson --

    His 1st play at Michigan. I was at that WMU game after the Detroit Free Press "Broke the story" about the practice time "violations." It was a very tumultuous time but Michigan came out firing. Denard's first snap started with a fumble, and then a play I'll probably never forget. He took off right, stopped on a dime so suddenly it looked like he might tear the turf apart. He angled left, then straight upfield through 2 defenders who were coming in from the sides and into the endzone. To this day, I don't think I've ever seen a guy run that fast in person on the football field. I don't know if it was nerves, the excitement of it being his first snap, or just flat out panic after the fumble, but that play was incredible. Denard himself hasn't run that fast since that play.

    I'm really going to miss that guy. For all of his defects as a quarterback, he could change a game in one play. He never got enough credit when we won with him, and took way too much blame when we lost. Seriously, he made 200 yards passing and 150 yards rushing in the same game look pedestrian. During the Rich Rod era when we were struggling, his playmaking singlehandedly kept us in the national discussion. The networks couldn't stop talking about him. When we could have fell into the abyss of irrelevance in our mediocrity, Denard kept us relevant. I hope we all enjoyed him as much as we could, because I'm not sure we'll see another guy like that in a Michigan uniform for a long time.

    Jordan Kovacs --

    Notre Dame in 2009, Mike Williams goes out with an injury, and I look up and there's a walk on named Jordan Kovacs on the field playing safety in the 4th quarter of a rivalry game. I look at my dad and say "oh my god, there's a walk on safety playing right now." Little did I know he would be a captain 3 years later. I think I was on the bandwagon earlier than most. That year in our loss to msu, he was all over the field. I think he had like 15 tackles or something like that, and I was sold. I knew he was going to make the tackle when he was given the opportunity, which is something that is vital at the safety position (typically a position that Michigan for some reason struggles to fill). How many big plays has his sure tackling negated in the last 4 years? I hope the next Michigan safety is half as solid as Jordan is. He'll definitely be missed.

    Roy Roundtree --

    When we need a big catch, go to Roundtree. 2009 against msu, he catches the slant pass in a driving rainstorm to send the game to overtime with less than 20 seconds left. 2010 against Notre Dame, his 1st touchdown set the tone of the game. 2011 Under The Lights Touchdown with 2 seconds left. 2012 against Northwestern to set up the field goal. Other than Denard, he's probably been the skill position player to suffer most with the change in philosophy and his move from inside to outside. That didn't mean he regressed, he just doesn't get as many opportunities. What I will say is this: When he gets the opportunity, he makes the play. His resurgence with Devin at Quarterback is extremely exciting.

    Elliot Mealer--

    His story is tragic, and I hope his 1st and only year starting was everything he dreamed it would be. Him walking out of the tunnel with his brother Brock against UConn in 2010 is another Michigan Stadium memory I have that I'll never forget. The road to recovery is long after a loss like he had, and I'm happy that he and his brother have been able to recover together.

    Brandin Hawthorne--

    I'm not sure that we win the game against Notre Dame in 2011 without him. He was all over the field in that game. If I remember right, he made 2 crucial tackles on 3rd downs in the 4th quarter, and many other tackles in 2nd and shorts to keep Notre Dame from picking up 1st downs. I was shocked he didn't see the field more after that game. But I hope he had a rewarding Senior Season nonetheless

    Vincent Smith--

    Probably the smallest guy to ever see the field for Michigan, but pound for pound the toughest SOB I've ever seen. How many times did he step up and take on a 240 pound linebacker coming straight at him? Against Wiscy in 2010, he gave himself a concussion when a linebacker was coming in on a blitz for Denard untouched. Vince stepped in and stoned him, knocking himself silly in the process but protecting his quarterback nonetheless. His catch against ND on the throwback screen is another thing I'll remember him for. The play really wasn't blocked that well except for Roundtree to spring him. Vince did that pretty much on his own, making guys miss and breaking an arm tackle or 2. The buildup of noise from catch to endzone was a surreal sound. A lot of guys stepped up to win that game and Vince was one of them.

    Kenny Demens--

    Don't have a ton of memories from him, but this Northwestern game. Wow. After giving up the go ahead TD in the 4th quarter, in overtime Demens makes the stops on 3rd and short and 4th and short to seal the deal. His tackle on that 4th down stop was EPIC.

    Senior Day is always a bittersweet day for me. I love to see these guys wrap up their Michigan and college careers and move on to bigger and better things, hopefully better men for the experience. But it's always sad to know you'll never see these guys strap on the winged helmet in the Big House again. Over 4 years, you watch them grow and evolve and finally, their senior year they get to leave their stamp on the program as leaders of the team. Then, all of a sudden they're gone. Like I said, I remember alot of these plays like they happened yesterday. I remember exactly where I was, how I reacted, standing and cheering for Denard's first TD run or Roundtree's Notre Dame or Northwestern catches. Realizing you won't have a chance to see it again is a pretty sad feeling.

    This Senior class gave us alot of memories. Finishing their careers 14-0 at home the last 2 seasons and getting a chance to go to the BCS their Junior years while still being in the hunt for the B1G title this year after the debacle that was their first season and semi less severe debacle that was their sophomore's incredible and I'm tremendously happy for all these guys. Thank you seniors of Team 133.

    This post has been edited 2 times, most recently by vcmarsh1 17 months ago

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  • clap

    The OP is a +1 if I've ever seen one.

  • I was at the UCONN game in 2010, and I'm not sure if there was a dry eye in the stadium when Mealer walked out on the field with his brother

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  • there is no way in hell I'm reading all of this

  • I saw Denard's first play and immediately texted my buddy and said "Holy ****, this kids is fast". I also said the team looked very good and was "clicking on all cylinders". Little did I know lol

    I think a little tear welled up yesterday when they showed Denard's clips in the Senior tribute video.

    Great write up OP. I am proud of how well these seniors fought to restore some pride in Michigan football. I followed this group closer than any team since I was at school and couldn't be happier for them.


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  • I took my girlfriend at the time who had never been to a football game. I showed her the ESPN special before we went to the game and she was crying her eyes out during the walk.

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  • I'm so glad Denard was healthy enough to play in this game. I want to see him go out on top, and I'd love to see him score at least one TD against OSU.

    However, Borges needs to slightly adjust his game plan - Denard can't line up at QB unless Gardner's also on the field. It was painfully apparent by the end of the Iowa game that Denard can't throw, and I trust the OSU coaches to get their guys to be ready to sell-out for the run a lot better than the Iowa D did.

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