Is Denard Robinson the Most Exciting Michigan Player Ever?

Adam Biggers@@AdamBiggers81Senior Analyst IIOctober 9, 2012

The one and only Denard Robinson.
The one and only Denard Robinson.Chris Graythen/Getty Images

Denard Robinson is easily one of the most exciting athletes to ever play any sport at the University of Michigan.

"Shoelace" has dazzled Wolverines football fans for the past three years as the team's starting signal-caller, carving out a reputation among the NCAA football world as a dynamic, playmaking threat with unworldly speed.

Robinson's latest personal accolades include becoming Michigan's fifth-leading career rusher, a feat he reached with 235 yards this past Saturday during Michigan's 44-13 trouncing of the Purdue Boilermakers at Ross-Ade Stadium in West Lafayette, Ind.

He sits at 4,287 yards— tied with the great Tyrone Wheatley—and could add a lot more this Saturday against the struggling Illinois Fighting Illini. With a few more big-time running games, mixed with his standard 100 or so per game, Robinson could catch Mike Hart, the Wolverines' career-leader with 5,189 yards.

Hey, it could happen; he's Denard Robinson.

Notre Dame felt the wrath of Robinson in 2010, the year the swift-footed quarterback scored a Notre Dame Stadium-record 87-yard rushing touchdown in Michigan's 28-24 victory. The Irish aren't alone; several other teams have witnessed the true uniqueness of Robinson's skill set.

Simply put, Robinson is an elite athlete that has left a canyon-sized impression on the Wolverines program. Michigan may never have a quarterback—or athlete, for that matter—like Robinson again.

He could be the most thrilling playmaker in Michigan history. But, of course, history has a little something to say about that.

Charles Woodson (1995-97)

As exciting as Robinson has been, Michigan has had other athletes with comparable bags of trick. Charles Woodson won the Heisman Trophy and helped the Wolverines claim a national title in 1997.

Woodson became the first primary defensive player to win the stiff-armed trophy. Obviously his pass-protecting prowess aided his cause, but he also electrified crowds with blazing punt returns and acrobatic receptions as a wideout.

Who could forget Woodson's one-handed interception in 1997 against Michigan State? The Wolverines rolled to a 23-7 win, and Woodson was a staple on highlight shows because of the incredible play. 

Desmond Howard (1989-91)

Another Heisman Hero, Desmond Howard sparkled across the college football landscape in the early 1990s. The 1991 Heisman winner is probably best known for his theatrics against Ohio State that same year; he "struck the pose" in Michigan's convincing 31-3 triumph at The Big House.

Howard tamed the Buckeyes with a sizzling 93-yard punt return. It's arguably one of the finest returns in the game's history. Such a huge play against a bitter rival is surely remembered by all who saw it—and, thanks to YouTube, those who didn't see it firsthand can relive the magic over and over again.

The No. 21 is Howard. Players will wear it as part of a legacy series at Michigan, but they'll be reminded why it became famous and a number Michigan fans will always cherish. There will never be another Desmond Howard, nor will there be a player to sport the high-top fade quite like he did.

Anthony Carter (1979-82)

Arguably the greatest receiver in Michigan history, Anthony Carter left the Wolverines in 1982 as their career leader in reception yards with 3,076 and a then-record 37 touchdowns.

Braylon Edwards, another Michigan great, broke Carter's mark, departing with 39 touchdowns and 3,541 yards.

But the old school Maize and Blue Faithful often point to Carter—Michigan's second-leading punt returner with 907 yards—as the best to wear the winged helmet.

Who is the most exciting player in Michigan history? There are valid arguments for each of the aforementioned Wolverines. Make your choice in the poll and, if you're so compelled, explain your reasoning in the comments section.

Follow Bleacher Report's Michigan Wolverines football writer Adam Biggers on Twitter @AdamBiggers81


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