The Return of a Ghost from Michigan Football's Past
In over 120 years of existence, the University of Michigan football program has seen its fair share of legends pass through.
Players of the likes of Howard, Harmon, and Carter, amongst others.
But then there is one that stands out. A special talent from Ohio that proudly wore the Maize 'n Blue of Michigan. One that wore the No. 2 jersey in route to a Heisman and a national championship.
His name was Charles Woodson, who in 1997, permanently placed his name in Michigan's history books.
Woodson became the first and only defensive player to ever win the Heisman, and he was 3-0 against the Buckeyes as well.
It is these reasons why Woodson is arguably one of the greatest, if not the greatest, in Michigan and NCAA football history.
Woodson is one of the most decorated cornerbacks to ever play the game.
Punt and kick returns, huge receptions at wide receiver, or game changing interceptions that could make your jaw drop. Whatever it was, Woodson could do it.
However, those years have come and gone, and are nothing but the past now.
Or are they?
Now let's skip the clock forward 12 years to 2009...
Massillon, OH is a town known for its high school football. They are probably the most famous town in America when it comes to high school ball, along with Odessa,TX of course.
Just to show how big high school football is in Massillon, listen to this. Their high school just finished up a state of the art indoor practice facility for football(but other teams have access as well).
Amazing right? But what is even more amazing is that the Cincinnati Bengals, an NFL franchise, is still waiting for their indoor facility—which may never come.
It isn't just love for the game Massillon is known for, but the Division One talent they produce on yearly basis. But that is expected to come with a historic powerhouse in the high school ranks.
This year is no different.
Well, it is different to a degree.
Standing at 6'2" and 185 pounds is a special talent not seen by the likes of those at Massillon before. The school that recently produced 2008 New England Patriots draft pick and former Michigan Wolverine linebacker Shawn Crable.
The talented corner known for his playmaking ability, dazzling interceptions, and big time returns on special teams has drawn him a promising comparison. Which of course is to fellow Ohio native and former Wolverine, Charles Woodson.
He is a three-way threat—but more importantly, a lock-down cornerback.
Which in turn is the reason why he quickly rose up to be the No. 1 prospect in the state of Ohio in 2009 (according to rivals and scout.com).
But coming from Ohio, one would expect such a highly recruited kid to become a Buckeye, right?
In the U.S. Army All-American's case, he did the unthinkable...
He committed to MICHIGAN!
Just like another certain someone, all those years ago.
But the All-American from Massillon's connections to the Wolverine great don't end there. There is more.
"I was just a big Michigan fan all my life, Watching Charles Woodson play, I just always wanted to go there," said the future Wolverine.
He also had a request for Rich Rodriguez, in regards to his future number—which will be No. 2.
"Coach Rod said that's my number right now," he says. "I asked him and everything, on my official visit."
He was seven when Woodson made his historical run to the Heisman, but the memories of the punt return against Ohio State and the phenomenal one-handed interception versus Michigan State still run through his memories as if it just happened yesterday.
Everything is there. Athleticism, passion, desire, love for Michigan. Everything! It is all there.
While it is unfair to compare a kid who hasn't played a down to a legend, you have to think there is still good reason. That and it's never bad to be placed in such good company so early on.
This kid is the real deal make no mistakes about that. He is the play maker Michigan has been missing. He is the missing link.
This may sound as nothing more than assumption. But is it really?
All that needs to be said is Go Blue! Welcome to the future of Michigan football and the schools next Heisman. Yea, you heard right Heisman!
Oh, and his name? Justin Turner.
Remember it, otherwise you would be a fool to forget.
Here is his highlight video for those who haven't yet caught a view of the next Wolverine great:
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