Monday, August 08, 2005

100 Greatest Michigan Football Players of All-Time

The following is a ranking of the top 100 Michigan football players since 1898. I did not include current players although I supsect Chad Henne and Mike Hart will rate in the top 30 when their careers are over. For information on the way I created the list, click here. I hope this list sparks debate and gives you something to talk about. However, my primary objective was to highlight some of the great names of Michigan football past as well as show how the players we've seen in person rate in the big picture. Enjoy!

Since most of the players on the list were All-Americans, you can find information about them on the Bentley Historical Library
All-American page. Any player who wasn't an All-American can be found at the Bentley Historical Library all-time database.

1. Tom Harmon HB
2. Charles Woodson DB
3. Braylon Edwards WR
4. Bennie Oosterbaan E/WR
5. Anthony Carter WR
6. William Heston HB
7. Benny Friedman QB
8. Germany Shulz C
9. Ron Kramer OL
10. Rick Leach QB
11. Desmond Howard WR
12. Harry Newman QB
13. Jumbo Elliot OL
14. Bump Elliot HB
15. Tom Curtis DB
16. Mark Messner DL
17. Steve Hutchinson OL
18. Dave Brown DB
19. Dan Dierdorf OL
20. Jim Harbaugh QB
21. Jamie Morris RB
22. Albert Benbrook G
23. Charles Bernard C
24. Tyrone Wheatley RB
25. Butch Woolfolk RB
26. Jon Jansen OL
27. Chris Perry RB
28. Bob Chappuis HB
29. David Terrell WR
30. William Cunningham C
31. Robert Timberlake QB
32. Allen Wahl T
33. Anthony Thomas RB
34. Pete Elliot QB
35. Curtis Greer DL
36. Ron Johnson RB
37. Ty Law DB
38. Alvin Wistert T
39. Elvis Grbac QB
40. Harry Kipke HB
41. Ted Petoskey E
42. William Yearby T
43. Tripp Welbourne DB
44. Mark Donahue OL
45. Erick Anderson LB
46. Jarret Irons LB
47. Albert Wistert T
48. Jeff Backus OL
49. Chris Hutchinson DL
50. Maynard Morrison C
51. Tim Biakabutuka RB
52. Reggie McKenzie OL
53. Mike Hammerstein DL
54. Bubba Paris OL
55. Rob Lytle RB
56. Ron Simpkins LB
57. Ernie Vick C
58. Dave Baas OL
59. Francis Wistert T
60. Greg Skrepanek OL
61. Merv Pregulman T
62. Stefan Humphries OL
63. Bill Daley FB
64. Jon Runyan OL
65. Dave Gallagher DL
66. Garland Rivers DB
67. Tom Brady QB
68. Larry Foote LB
69. Glen Steele DL
70. Billy Taylor RB
71. Marquise Walker WR
72. Marty Huff LB
73. Richard Rifenburg E
74. Jim Smith WR
75. Bob Westfal FB
76. Calvin O’Neal LB
77. Joe Cocozzo OL
78. Jason Horn DL
79. Marlin Jackson DB
80. Derrick Alexander WR
81. James Mandich E
82. Tony Boles RB
83. Tom Dixon OL
84. Tai Streets WR
85. Jim Pace HB
86. Otto Pommerening T
87. Ed Frutig E
88. Jack Clancy E
89. Mike Taylor LB
90. Jerame Tuman TE
91. Dean Dingman OL
92. Neil Snow E
93. Rod Payne OL
94. Matt Elliot OL
95. John Maulbetsch HB
96. Rob Renes DL
97. Amani Toomer WR
98. Richard Volk DB
99. Brian Griese QB
100. Steve Everitt OL

Honorable mention: Stanfield Wells, James Craig, Miller Pontius, Dennis Franklin, Gordon Bell, Gerald Ford, Paul Seymour, John Anderson, Mike Husar, Greg Morton, Dwight Hicks, Mel Owens, “Crazy Legs” Hirsch, Ernest Allendinger, Cedric Smith, Frank Culver, Frank Steketee, Paul Goebel, Jack Blott, Edliff Slaughter, Robert Brown, Thomas Edwards, Harry Hawkins, Ralph Heikkenen, Julis Franks, Elmer Madar, Lowell Perry, Arthur Walker, Henry Hill, Randy Logan, Paul Seymour, Don Dufek, Walt Downing, Ed Muransky, Sam Sword, Jon Vaughn, Drew Henson, Steve Morrison, Greg McMurtry, Mo Williams, Victor Hobson, Kurt Becker, Brad Cochran, George Lilja, Remy Hamilton, William Carr, Len Ford, Bill Hewitt, Tom Mack


Anonymous said... James Whitley or Todd Howard?

Anonymous said...

Kickers should be on the list. I would include Mike Gillette and Monte Robbins. Maybe Ali-Haji Sheikh.

Anonymous said...

Yes, Haji-Sheikh. Other than that, the list is complete.

Anonymous said...

Kudos for no John Navarre on that list, if my eyes are correct.

No Leroy Hoard?

I disagree with the placement of Braylon, as I have him as no better than the 4th best WR in Michigan history behind Carter, Howard and Alexander, whom I feel you criminally underrated.

Anonymous said...

My ranking would have been different also but they aren't my rankings. Considering the research and background knowledge I'll take this with one exception. I am not a Navarre hater and since he is the all-time leader in total offense, I would have included him somewhere. Especially if that rat-dog Henson was an honorable mention.

But it was nice to see the best Michigan player I've ever seen not go pro make the list at #43. If not for the torn ACL and MCL against Minnesota in his senior season he would have been a huge pro. Still makes me sad.

Anonymous said...

Great List, got almost everyone I would have but not quite enough Linebacker credit... IAN GOLD, he was money in the bank, not as good as Foote or Irons, but deserves a mention

Jake said...

I have Ian Gold at #53 of the last 25 years. He surely could've been included on the honorable mention for the best of All-Time. There were a lot of names I tried to get in there but couldn't get them all. He was very good!

Anonymous said...

Gordon Bell was the best Running Back from 1973-1975. He returned kicks, punts and was the primary reason U-M had the #2 Rushing offense in the NCAA in 1975...Reconsider....he belongs in the top 50...

Anonymous said...

Rob renes over william carr or u serius. william carr was one of the top five lineman to ever play at the blue. please compare their stats.

scottmcrocker said...

Thanks for this list. I created my own all-time Michigan team that you can look at here. Your rankings were a great help. Love your blog!

Jake said...

Thanks Scott,

Good work on your UM All-Time team. A lot of the choices are like splitting hairs.

Take care,


Anonymous said...

Question - Curious who is the best player that actually played high school football in the state of Michigan?

Jake said...

Braylon Edwards and Bennie Oosterbaan were from Michigan. So, whoever you think is the best of the two is your answer.


Anonymous said...

I'm not sure where he would rank, but I just have to mention David Harris. If nothing else, he may be the most underrated player that I personally saw in the Maize and Blue. Just my opinion. Thanks

Anonymous said...

Kudos for Steve Hutchinson. He should be higher, but it seems like no one remembers him but me. lol

Anonymous said...

Thanx this helped me with research. :)

David said...

You did mention in the intro Henne and Hart and that they should both be on the list.. I'd just like to add one more to that list, Jake Long! And also, good job on no Navarre.

Jake said...


Long, definitely. He's way up there. He's top 20 for sure and could be even higher than that. There are actually a half dozen or more since I made the list that would make it in the top 100. At some point I'll revisit the list with new additions from the last few years. Take care!

Tim said...

I agree with Peter that Gordon Bell should have made the list. Maybe not top 50, but it's ridiculous to have someone like Tai Streets ahead of him. I'd say Bell was better than Biakabatuka or Perry, probably better than Wheatley.
Two other '70s guys from your honorable mention list should have been in the top 100 -- Greg Morton and Don Dufek. Morton was one of the best defensive players in the nation his senior year, and both had much bigger impacts when they played than people like Streets, Runyan or Marquis Walker.
Finally, Jim Smith should be much higher on your list of receivers. His stats may not measure up because he played before Michigan got pass-happy, but he was clearly better than guys like Walker, Avant and Terrell.

Unknown said...

Recognized alot of people on this list...and maybe I am being biased toward the era I was on campus (91-96), but what about Jarrett Irons, Ian Gold, Mercury Hayes, Chris Howard, and most recently Mike Hart?

Jake said...


Thanks for the suggestions. Of the five you mentioned, Mike Hart played after the cutoff point of this list which was 2003. Irons is actually on the list at #46. The other three--Hayes, Howard, and Gold--were certainly accomplished but I could not find room for them in the top 100 all-time. However, all three did make my top 100 of the last 25 years list...

Take care!

Unknown said...

Desmond howard not in the top five is a joke he should very well be number one r u seriou who went and got it like desmond between him and woodson that's my one and two hands down

game sportswear said...

For me Tom Harmon is simply awesome!

Non-plagiarised Dissertation said...

I am so happy to see this blog,and I hope, you share more interesting Articale,great work

rafa said...

Good list, thnx!!!

Gerrard said...

nice list indeed


Powered by Blogger