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Friday, April 21, 2006

M Zone History Lesson

Recently, we posted about Braylon Edwards establishing a scholarship for the Wolverine wearing Braylon's old #1 jersey. Most Wolverine fans associate the #1 jersey with the best player to wear the number, Anthony Carter. But there have been 14 Michigan players to wear the number 1, including nine in the modern era.

Numbers weren't used on the Michigan jersey until 1915. Typically, players would change jersey numbers from year to year and there weren't any standards for numbers by position are there are now. For example, the first Wolverine to wear #1 was Sault Ste. Marie's Angus Goetz, maybe the best name for someone who wore #1. Goetz was a left tackle. In 1921
guard Robert Dunne wore #1, followed by end Paul Goebel in 1922. Halfback, and future Michigan head coach, Harry Kipke wore #1 in 1923, though he was an All-American wearing #6 in 1922.

There was then almost a 50-year period where no Wolverine donned the number 1. Finally, from 1973-75, DB Dave Whiteford wore the jersey, followed by kicker (a KICKER!) Greg Willner from 1976-78. Christopher Grieves was the first WR to wear the #1 in 1977.

Then, in 1979, a skinny freshman from Riviera Beach, Florida put on the #1 jersey and made it what it is today. Anthony Carter was a three-time All-American and the standard by which all other Michigan wide receivers will be measured by. Carter is often credited for bringing the passing game to Ann Arbor, though he suffered with mostly mediocre to poor QB play. AC also was a gifted punt and kick returner and will always be remembered for his game-winning TD catch against Indiana in 1979. He was the Big Ten MVP in 1982.

Due largely to Carter's greatness, the number 1 went into mothballs for the next three seasons until Bo Schembechler promised it to big-time recruit Greg McMurtry to help in his decision to attend Michigan. McMurtry was decent, but never lived up to the hype - or the number 1.

After wearing #40 his freshman year, Derrick Alexander was given the opportunity to be #1 in 1990. He wore the number through 1993, though he missed the '91 season with an injury. Alexander was an All-American in '92 and played nine years in the NFL.

Junior College transfer Tyrone Butterfield was inexplicably given the #1 jersey in 1994, though he sat out the season as a redshirt. Butterfield is best remembered by Michigan fans for dropping a pass short of the end zone in Lloyd Carr's first game as head coach with time running out. If Butterfield had hung on, he would have been tackled short of the goal line and the game would have been over. Instead, with one more play, Scott Dresibach hit Mercury Hayes just inbounds for a touchdown on the final play and Michigan beat Virginia, 18-17, in what was at the time the greatest comeback in Michigan football history.

David Terrell wore the jersey starting in his freshman year in 1998. Terrell only played three seasons in Ann Arbor, but was the 2000 Orange Bowl MVP, was an All-American in 2000, and held most of the school's receiving records when he left for the NFL.

Braylon Edwards played four years at Michigan, and craved the number 1 jersey, but did not wear it until Lloyd Carr felt he deserved it, which was in 2003, Edwards' junior season. By the time Edwards left for the NFL he held every receiving record in Ann Arbor, was an All-American, played in two Rose Bowls, was the 2004 Big Ten MVP, and almost single-handedly beat Michigan State in one of the greatest game ever played at Michigan Stadium.

Since Carter made the jersey the honor that it is today, there have been seven football season where no one wore #1. included in those seasons are the two worst years in the past 37 seasons ('84 and '05). There has been only one Rose Bowl season since '79 - that National Championship year of 1997.


IC said...

Great photos in this post.

They reinforce two thoughts: 1) AC was the most exciting Wolverine ever and he remains my favorite of all-time, and 2) Braylon's '04 game vs. State (detailed in a comment by Wangs yesterday) was the best individual performance by a Michigan player I've ever seen.

Good job, Benny.

Wangs said...

The heavenly sound of Bob Ufer was ringing in my ears as I read this post . . . "two tightends in a balanced line, Wolfolk deep and Edwards close, Wangler drops back to pass, he throws over the middle. TOUCHDOWN MICHIGAN. TOUCHDOWN MICHIGAN. ANTHONY, THE DARTER, CARTER. [HONK, HONK, HONK] . . .


I can only imagine old Bob Ufer calling that Michigan State game in 2004 when this generation's #1, Braylon Edwards, made catch after catch to wrestle victory from the jaws of defeat.

The King said...

Though Alexander was injured one of the seasons he was wearing #1, there is a sidebar to that fact that cannot go unmentioned:

If Derrick Alexander had not been injured that season, Desmond Howard does not win the Heisman. He's arguably not even the first choice reciever on the field if Alexander is there, meaning he catches half the balls, including (possibly) the one that won him the Heisman. You know the one I'm talking about.

So here's to you, Mr. Getting Injured Wearing the #1 Jersey Guy, for building the career of the greatest Packer Kick Returner in history.

TheTalisman said...

Hmmmm. A $500,000 scholarship, paid over 5 years, to the player wearing #1. Sounds like $100,000 a year paid to a player who already has an athletic scholarship. I'm not sure how that passes the sniff-test, unless its a creative way for boosters to execute the ultimate hand-off under NCAA guidelines. Sure could buy some nice rims for the Escalade.

Benny Friedman said...

Talisman, the way these things usually work is that the $500K will go into an annuity, so that the scholarship will be paid by the interest that can be earned. At a conservative 5% interest rate (and I'm sure Michigan can get much more) that's $25,000 a year. That's $25K the athletic department doesn't have to come up with thanks to Braylon.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Benny, for explaining that this will actually be paid to the athletic department. Smells better already.

Yost said...


Yeah, you're right. They're going to pay players with this money. And the genius of this plan is they put out a press release so it LOOKS legit.

Yeah, that makes perfect sense. Unlike say...oh, I dunno... who takes money directly from boosters.

Anonymous said...

Nice piece. Paul Goebel was one of my grandfather's best friends, never thought I would see him mentioned in The M Zone.

TheTalisman said...

Yeah, Yost, you're right again. UM is so above reproach, why would anyone think that Braylon Ed...Ed...now why does that name sound so familiar?

ferenc said...

nice use of analytical reasoning talisman. you should become the ombudsman for ncaa.

Chris of Dangerous Logic said...

A couple of pictures of AC's '79 game-winner against IU, along with an MP3 of Bob Ufer's call, is available on my site here.

DJ Medals said...

Further on those players donning #1 - didn't Tyrone Butterfield wear #1 at U of M? He was a very short wideout (I think from Florida) in the early- to mid-1990s. Anyway, he was slow and terrible and I cringed that he was wearing #1 after its notoriety. Without fail, when he entered the game Michigan NEVER PASSED. Whenever he lined up and I knew it was a running play right away. If I am picking up on this sitting in the student section at the time, don't you think that opposing coaches watching tape and defensive coordinators sitting up in the press box pick up on this as well? Yeah, me too. Just another example of how U of M stubbornness in football has repeatedly frustrated me over the years. Sigh.

DJ Medals said...

Oops . . . posted before reading the entire history lesson. Butterfield was terrible indeed!

Anonymous said...

Butterfield was never given a chance at Michigan. He transfered to a 1AA school and made first team all-american twice, and was the player of the year twice. Michigan has a reputation for holding back a lot of the best players like......David bowens, Trevor Pryce, Rasheed Simmons, Will Peterson etc. Check your facts on Butterfield, I think he went to Tennessee State University.

Anonymous said...

This is a tidbit from an article found in the sporting news before the 1999 draft, He was rated one of the top 5 sleepers in the draft. I know someone said he was slow, but according to the scouts he ran a 4.27 40. Just a thought.

Tyrone Butterfield WR Tennessee St. 5-9 185
The best way to describe his style of play is fast. This is one of the fastest players in college football. Could run a 4.27 40. Good hands and clean routes, but if he is going to play at the next level, his future is as a kick returner. Might be quick enough to develop into a DB. Late round draft pick, if not a walk-on player. The team gives this player a chance will be getting a player that shouldn't be caught from behind, ever.

SchrockStar said...

I just recently bought a #18 jersey but have no idea who wore it. The jersey itself is at least 2 years old and is made by Nike.
Any help? pfschrock@gmail.com