Football season is just around the corner, and fans nationwide are filled with anticipation.
Though I am an Ohio State Buckeye fan, as I have matured and grown older, I realize that the Michigan Wolverine football program is one of the greatest programs in the history of college football. No team in all of college football has accumulated more wins than the Wolverines, and their 11 claimed national titles exemplify their success.
Behind every great sports franchise, you'll undoubtedly find great players. Michigan doesn't take a back seat when you consider their 77 consensus All-Americans and three Heisman trophy winners.
Without further ado, here's Michigan's all time dream team, recognizing not only the best players to play at every position, but their greatest head coach as well. Enjoy!
Jake Long was a force to be reckoned with, and he is a big reason why running back Mike Hart is now the leading rusher in Wolverines history.
It didn't take long for Long to gain recognition either, as he was named to Rivals.com's 2004 Freshman All-America team. This was just the start of his spectacular career at Michigan.
In his four-year career, he was recognized as a two-time first-team All-Big Ten selection and a two-time consensus first-team All-American (2006, 2007). That, along with him only allowing one sack during his senior season, makes Long the best tackle in the history of Michigan football.
Hutchinson didn't take long to come on to the scene at Michigan as he was a key component on the offensive line during his freshman year, earning All Big 10 honors and winning a national championship.
Not allowing a single sack in either his junior or senior season, the two-time All-American is one of the most tenacious offensive lineman in Michigan football history.
Up front and personal best describes David Baas on the football field. Considering the fact that Baas was moved from the left guard to the center position half way through his senior season, it's amazing how much success he has had.
For three consecutive seasons (2002-04), Baas was an All-Big Ten Conference selection, and in 2004, he was a first team All-American.
Playing for a Michigan team that went just 14-6-4 in his three-year career as a starter, Benbrook was by far the most consistent player on the team.
Thanks to his solid play, will to win and propensity to dominate, Benbrook earned All-American honors in both his junior and senior year.
Though he never played for a Michigan squad that won the conference title, he never lost to his arch rival Ohio State Buckeyes either.
It's hard not to mention a guy who started in more games than just about any player in Michigan football history.
In his four-year career, Greg Skrepenak did just that, being named the starter from the first game of his freshman season and starting in 48 consecutive games.
There was a reason why he was out there on football field: He was good! Two-time All-Big Ten selection and two-time All-American good.
During his time at Michigan, the Wolverines were the Big Ten champs all four years, and they appeared in three Rose Bowl games.
Skrepenak was named "Big Ten Lineman of the Year" his senior season.
When it comes to being a playmaker, Carter was the man.
Not only was he a stellar wide receiver, he was a playmaker in the returning game as well, reeling in punt and kickoff returns. I guess you could call him a triple threat during his time as a Wolverine.
In route to becoming a three-time All-American, the team and conference's Most Valuable Player and finishing fourth in the 1982 Heisman voting, Carter became not only the best receivers in Michigan history but one of the best to ever put on a college uniform.
Carter was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2001.
Braylon Edwards is all over the Michigan football record books.
Known for having great hands, the possession and deep-threat receiver acquired more yards receiving, more receptions and more touchdown catches than anyone in Michigan football history. He also set the single-season Michigan record for both receptions and receiving yards in 2004.
Edwards is the only wide receiver in Big Ten history to gain 1,000 or more receiving yards in three consecutive years.
Though Jerame Tuman was a pretty good blocker in his career, that wasn't his specialty at Michigan as he had arguably the best hands on the team.
Tuman earned First Team All-Big Ten honors three years in a row, and he has more receptions, receiving yards and touchdowns than any tight end in Michigan history.
In his four-year career, the Wolverines went 39-11 (3-1 against Ohio State), and they took home the national title in 1997.
Every true Michigan fan knows that Mike Hart set the Michigan record for yards in a career. Hart even set the school record for the number of rushing attempts in a career, as he was a four-year starter.
However, skill wise, Tyrone Wheatley was the best running back in the history of Michigan football.
Rushing for 4,178 yards on just 688 career attempts in his career, Wheatley averaged a whopping 6.1 yards per carry. That's more yards per carry than any running back that ever started for at least one season at Michigan.
The All-Big Ten back earned the Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year Award (1992), and he was the Rose Bowl MVP (1993). To top it all off, Wheatley was a first-team All-American.
Despite not being highly regarded or widely known, Neil Snow was a huge contributor to the Wolverine offense in his day.
The All-American led his team to a 37-4-2 overall record in his four-year career, and he was the Rose Bowl MVP as a senior when his Wolverines outscored their opponents 550 to 0 in an unblemished season.
Michigan has had its fair share of top-notch quarterbacks, so this one was a hard one to choose. However, when evaluating the résumés of the former Wolverine signal callers, Rick Leach's is the most impressive.
As a four-year starter for head coach Bo Schembechler, Leach led Michigan to three consecutive Rose Bowls while rewriting the Michigan record books and boasting a 38-8-2 record as a starter.
In shattering Michigan's career passing, total yardage and touchdown records, Leach was a three-time All-Big 10 selection who finished third in the 1978 Heisman ballot.
Schembechler had this to say of Leach: "He is the greatest football player I've ever been associated with."
Charles Woodson is arguably the best player to ever put on a Michigan uniform. Being a two-time All-American, he was a human highlight reel for the maize and blue.
In route to winning the 1997 national championship with the Wolverines, Woodson became (and he remains) the only player on the defensive side of the ball to ever win the Heisman trophy.
There have been a lot of stud college football players from the state of Pennsylvania. Marlin Jackson was no exception as he ended up being the second all-time leader in pass breakups in the history of Michigan football.
By the time he was a senior (2004), Jackson was so feared in the secondary that quarterbacks only threw 14 percent of their passes in his direction. Nevertheless, he still ended up being a first team All-Big 10 selection, as well as a consensus first-team All-American.
Ernest Shazor was nothing short of a beast in his years of suiting up in the maize and blue, and it didn't take him long to make an impact on defense.
In 2004, he lead the team in tackles, tackles for loss, interceptions and fumble recoveries, being recognized as a first-team All-American by multiple sources.
Shazor finished his career with 166 overall tackles, five forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries, three sacks, 19 tackles for loss, eight pass breakups and four interceptions.
When it comes to hard-hitting defensive backs, Tripp Welborne was the man.
Being a two-time consensus All-American selection (1989-90), the stud recorded 238 tackles during his three years as a starter for the Wolverines, averaging close to seven tackles per game. He also intercepted nine passes, often bringing them back for huge chunks of yardage.
On top of his defensive capabilities, Welborne was an excellent return man who returned 67 punts for 773 yards. He even set Michigan's single-season record for punt return yards in 1990 with 455. There's no wonder why Welborne was a two-time All-Big 10 selection.
Erick Anderson is the only player in Michigan football history to lead the Wolverines in tackles for four straight seasons. That's saying a lot when you consider Michigan's rich football tradition.
During his senior season (1991), he was elected team captain while also earning first-team All-American honors.
Starting in 28 games for the Wolverines, Larry Foote recorded 11 sacks, 212 tackles, three interceptions and 44 tackles for losses in his impressive career.
Just how good was Foote?
First team All-American and a first team All-Big 10 selection good. He will always be remembered for his hard hitting ability and relentless work ethic.
In order to be a good defensive football player, one has to be pretty smart.
Rob Renes was just that as he received Academic All-American honors for his work in the classroom. However, his work on the football field was just as impressive.
Renes was named a consensus first-team All-American in 1999 when he was the captain of a tough Wolverine defense.
LaMarr Woodley was yet another first-team All-Big Ten selection on this list, and he was one of the most feared defensive lineman in the country during his tenure in the maize and blue.
During his senior year, when his teammates named him the defensive captain (2006), Woodley recorded 12 sacks and was recognized as a unanimous first-team All-American.
When a guy is recognized as the Big Ten Conference Co-MVP, you know he's special.
Brandon Graham was just that in 2009, despite being on a Wolverine squad that went 5-7. That same year, he led the nation in the number of tackles for loss he racked up per game.
Graham was the work horse of the Wolverine defense during his tenure at Michigan. This was never more apparent than when he was recognized as a first-team All-Big Ten selection, as well as a first-team All-American (2009).
Graham capped off his stellar career being named the MVP of the 2009 Senior Bowl.
As a two-time All-American selection in his three-year career at the University of Michigan, you know Mark Messner was special. He was the heart and soul of a Wolverine defense that was one of the best in the country.
Not only was Messner the all time leader in sacks and tackles for loss at Michigan, he finished off his career being named the MVP of the 1988 Fiesta Bowl versus the Nebraska Cornhuskers.
After spending four years in the U.S. Marines, Alvin Wistert played defensive tackle for a 1947 Wolverine team that went undefeated in route to a national championship. The 1947 team is nicknamed "The Mad Magicians" and is recognized as the greatest Michigan football team of all time.
Wistert was a two-time All-American and a two-time national champion, despite being one of the oldest players to ever play college football.
Howard will always be remembered for striking the Heisman pose against Ohio State after returning a punt for a touchdown. But that's just one thing for which the stud is remembered.
In addition to winning the Heisman Trophy, Howard was a first-team All-American who received first-team honors from the Associated Press, the American Football Coaches Association and Football Writers Association of American
During his senior season, opposing teams' quarterbacks threw less than 14 percent of their passes in his direction.
If one was in need of a punter who could give their team good field position after a three and out, Zoltan Mesko would be an excellent resource.
Not only was he an All-Big Ten first-team selection on the football field (2009), he was also a second-team All-American as well.
To top things off, Mesko is Michigan's all-time leader in punts, yards per punt and total punting yards.
Although the Wolverines have had their fair share of good kickers, Remy Hamilton is the only one that was an All-American.
Hamilton holds the conference record for fields goals made in a season with 25, and he holds the school record with 14 consecutive made field goals.
The highlight of Hamilton's career, however, came in the 1994 season against Notre Dame when he kicked a 42-yard field goal to give the Wolverines a 26 to 24 lead as time expired.
Without further ado, I present to you Fielding H. Yost, who is a Michigan football legend.
In his 25-year career as the Wolverine head football coach, Yost compiled a 165-29-10 record, winning 10 Big Ten conference championships in just 15 years in the league.
More impressively, however, Yost lead his Wolverines to six national titles, forever cementing his place in Michigan football history.