Why Michigan Football has a unique pitch to defensive recruits

Syndication Detroit Free Press
Syndication Detroit Free Press /

Michigan football can offer something unique to recruits that should be able to help the Wolverines add even more talent on defense. 

Every December the Heisman Trophy is awarded to the nation’s most outstanding player. However, let’s be real, the Heisman is usually reserved for the nation’s best quarterback.

Typically, the best quarterback on the nation’s top team. Of the last 25 Heisman Trophy winners, 19 of them have been quarterbacks. It is hard enough for a running back or a receiver to win the Heisman, let alone a defensive player. DeVonta Smith was an exception last year.

To this date, there has been one primarily defensive player to win the Heisman Trophy. I’m sure that you know him if you are reading this because it was Michigan football legend, Charles Woodson.

While Charles is a member of both the College and Professional Football Hall of Fame and is on television now, his success may resonate more with the parents of the kids Michigan is currently recruiting. Woodson won the Heisman in 1997, which means no one in the 2022 class or beyond was born to see him play at Michigan.

However, Michigan has another angle to work.

In that same span, there have been just six defensive players to be named as Heisman finalists- Woodson, Ndamukong Suh, Tyrann Mathieu, Manti Te’o, Jabrill Peppers, and Chase Young.

Two of them went to Michigan.

This year, Aidan Hutchinson becomes the seventh defensive player to be a Heisman finalist. I would argue that Will Anderson should be joining Hutchinson as a Heisman finalist this year. Nonetheless, Hutchinson is the third defensive player from Michigan to be a Heisman finalist.

What Michigan football can pitch to recruits

That means of the seven defensive players to be named Heisman finalists in the last 26 seasons, 42.9% of them went to Michigan.

No other school has more than one. Additionally, Woodson (cornerback), Peppers (linebacker/safety), and Hutchinson (defensive end) all played on different levels of the defense. I would say that is even more impressive than all of them playing the same positions.

Michigan has a program that has been known for having great defenses for decades. In addition to Woodson, Peppers, and Hutchinson, many great players have come through the program like Chris Hutchinson, Rob Renes, Glen Steele, Ty Law, Jarrett Irons, David Harris, Lamarr Woodley, Brandon Graham, Devin Bush, etc.

Next. Top 30 Michigan football players of all time. dark

Now, while it is still unlikely, Michigan football can pitch to defensive targets there is a chance that they win the Heisman or at least get an invite to New York. No other school can say that.