OK Fine...Michigan's All-Adidas Era Team

I debated whether or not to do this because frankly, why make an "All-Adidas Era" team when Michigan's relationship with the tri-stripped apparel company just happened to coincide with one of the worst stretches of time in Michigan football history – why subject any of us to that?

But the answer is simple. As Michigan and Adidas begin their year-long divorce procedure, I think it's important to remember that it wasn't all just losses and despair (at least for football). Some pretty outstanding athletes donned the German stripes over the last 7 years. And since it's July and there's nothing better to do, let's make an All-Adidas Era team!


Position 1st Team 2nd Team 3rd Team
Quarterback Denard Robinson Devin Gardner Tate Forcier
Running Back Denard Robinson Brandon Minor Fitz Toussaint
Fullback Stephen Hopkins Mark Moundros Kevin Grady
Receiver Junior Hemingway Greg Matthews Darryl Stonum
Receiver Roy Rountree Jeremy Gallon Drew Dileo
Tight End Devin Funchess Jake Butt Kevin Koger
OL - Left Tackle Taylor Lewan Mason Cole Mark Ortmann
OL - Left Guard Steven Schilling Ricky Barnum Erik Magnuson
OL - Center David Molk Rocko Khoury Jack Miller
OL - Right Guard Patrick Omameh Kyle Kalis Elliott Mealer
OL - Right Tackle Michael Schofield Mark Huyge Ben Braden

Quarterback was the easiest of any position to rank. Denard was as close as any of us will ever get to watching a human highlight show wearing the winged helmet. Was he a perfect quarterback? No. But he was dangerous, and when he was healthy, as good as anyone in the country at making defenses look foolish.

Devin and Tate take home 2nd and 3rd just simply by not being as awful as Nick Sheridan and Steven Threet.

Running back is a tough category. On one hand, you have the remnants of the Carr era with guys like Brandon Minor and Carlos Brown...neither of which were helped out by Rich Rod and his style. Considerably more than he was an serviceable passer, Denard was a prolific runner. There's no question he takes home 1st team here as well.

Fullback and tight end were positions in constant flux under the different regimes. I kept Funchess a tight end simply because he was much more dynamic and dangerous at that position (and his stats reflect that).

Hemingway and Roundtree were flawed receivers by the true Michigan definition of what makes a receiver great, but you can't argue they made Denard look good on multiple occasions...as did Gallon for Gardner. Greg Matthews was a serviceable replacement for Manningham and Arrington when they left in 2007, but could've benefitted from having those guys around...and Ryan Mallett.

The offensive lines during the Rich Rod era and early Hoke era were actually pretty decent. There's actually some pretty good NFL-caliber players here. There's a noticeable drop off after the 2011 season (when Carr's last guys graduated)...although it's starting to come back.


Position 1st Team 2nd Team 3rd Team
Defensive Tackle Terrance Taylor Willie Henry Will Campbell
Defensive Tackle Mike Martin Ryan Glasgow Quinton Washington
Defensive End Frank Clark Jibreel Black Craig Roh
Defensive End Brandon Graham Ryan Van Bergen Tim Jamison
Outside Linebacker Jake Ryan Royce Jenkins-Stone Jonas Mouton
Middle Linebacker Kenny Demens Desmond Morgan Obi Ezeh
Outside Linebacker Joe Bolden James Ross Cam Gordon
Cornerback Donovan Warren Raymon Taylor JT Floyd
Cornerback Blake Countess Morgan Trent Courtney Avery
Strong Safety Jordan Kovacs Jabrill Peppers Thomas Gordon
Free Safety Stevie Brown Troy Woolfolk Jarrod Wilson

My one caveat here is Jabrill Peppers. Sure his injury last season limited him to almost no playing time, but I have little doubt he's the best athlete the defensive backfield has seen since the days of Charles Woodson and Marcus Ray. He'll earn this.

The defense over the course of the last 7 years has steadily improved as a unit. But there were still some pretty good returning starters on that 2008 squad which made the cut for me here. Terrance Taylor and Brandon Graham up front...Donovan Warren and Stevie Brown in the backfield. Hell I even threw Morgan f-ing Trent in there!

The linebacker position is full of very good players who moved around quite a bit...most notably Jake Ryan and Desmond Morgan. Ryan will always be a OLB to me and Morgan will always be a MLB. Mouton and Ezeh were tough calls because I felt both of them underachieved due to non-existant offense in the Rich Rod era.

All in all, Michigan's defense has fared well during the Hoke era despite the struggles of the offense. That first team we have here is a formidable group.

Special Teams

Position 1st Team 2nd Team 3rd Team
Placekicker Brendan Gibbons KC Lopata Matt Wile
Punter Zolton Mesko Will Hagerup Matt Wile
Punt Returner Jeremy Gallon Dennis Norfleet Jabrill Peppers
Kickoff Returner Darryl Stonum Dennis Norfleet Brandon Minor

You can't go wrong with Zolton Space Emperor™. He and Hagerup were pretty much Michigan's only punters over the last 7 years (Matt Wile filled in during Hag's 2013 suspension).

Gallon was a solid punt returner. Michigan had so-so results from kickoff returners, although I remember Stonum bringing one back against Notre Dame in 2009. Norfleet had some good returns but never took one to the house – his lone TD return against Maryland last year was called back sending Michigan fans into a lonely pit of despair.

Gibbons was not a good kicker early on but grew into the role and boomed some clutch kicks late in his career. The 2012 Sugar Bowl, 2012 Michigan State and 2013 Northwestern come to mind. Wile and Lopata could go either way.

So there you have it, my All-Adidas era team. Of course 2015 will be the final year under the German apparel provider so it's likely we'll revisit this list sometime after this upcoming season ends. Have an opinion or gripe? Let me know in the comments!

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