Michigan Football: Denard Robinson Will Always Be Remembered at Michigan Stadium
In what was supposed to be the season Denard Robinson left his final imprint on Michigan football, it has instead been perhaps the senior's most disappointing season since he first started for the Wolverines back in 2010.
But as Robinson heads into Michigan Stadium on Saturday against Iowa, it's important for fans to recognize the leader he has been throughout his time in Ann Arbor.
Robinson has completed 54 percent of his passes while tossing nine touchdowns to nine interceptions this season, but he has also rushed for 946 yards and six touchdowns on a career-high 7.2 yards per carry.
Still, he has drawn criticism over the years for his apparent inability to rise to the occasion when tough run defenses force him to throw the ball. Alabama and Notre Dame were successful in limiting Robinson on the ground this season and he responded by tossing a combined six interceptions in those two games while averaging 6.8 yards per pass attempt.
However, it is what Robinson has done off the field the past two weeks that has truly signified his team-first attitude.
As the 22-year-old heads into Michigan Stadium for the last time in his career on Saturday, he may not even start, per Michigan Football. He's been battling nerve damage in his throwing elbow and it has caused him to miss the last two games.
In those two games, Michigan has beaten Minnesota and then-No. 24 Northwestern while backup Devin Gardner has played well.
Gardner has gone a combined 28-of-47 for 520 yards while tossing four touchdowns to two interceptions in those wins.
But you haven't heard a peep from Robinson in his final season as a starter for Michigan and probably his final season as a quarterback (most project him as a receiver in the NFL).
There have been no blowups from the senior. If there has been any frustration, he hasn't let his teammates see it.
Robinson gave running back Fitzgerald Toussaint his support this season when the junior was dealing with a suspension. He also took full responsibility and apologized for his admittedly dreadful performance against the Fighting Irish.
Michigan has kept Robinson away from the media the past two weeks, but defensive end Craig Roh has noted the senior's composure, via ESPN:
I know that personally it would be a really tough situation, the last couple games of your senior year. But that’s the great thing about Denard, he really doesn’t seem fazed by it, by any of the stuff he’s going through right now.
You give credit to the resiliency that he has. That’s something that’s real special about him.
No matter how Robinson's final season at Michigan ends, Wolverines fans should be proud to have had him as their leader for the past few years. A quarterback is not only judged by what he brings in terms of his ability, but by what he brings in terms of leadership.
Through the ups and the downs, Robinson has worn Michigan's uniform proudly, upholding the program's name with dignity. That's all anyone in Ann Arbor could ask for.
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