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August 26, 2013Since the final play of the Wolverines' Outback Bowl loss to South Carolina, Michigan coaches, players and fans alike have eagerly awaited the start of the 2013 season - and another chance to win the program's first Big Ten Championship since 2004.
Now, with the calendar turning over to August, the season is just around the corner.
To count down to the season, The Wolverine is naming the best player to ever wear each jersey number, No. 99 to No. 1.
We'll highlight 3-5 jerseys a day, all the way to the morning of Aug. 31, the day the Wolverines finally kick off the season at The Big House against Central Michigan.
Desmond Howard, wide receiver (1989-91)
Howard is the mastermind behind one of the most iconic images in college sports history.
Taking an Ohio State punt, cutting through some defenders and racing up the sideline, Howard flew past every Buckeye on his way to an electric 93-yard touchdown.
When Howard slipped past the last Buckeye at the 50-yard line, with nothing but green pastures and six points ahead of him, legendary commentator Keith Jackson yelped, "Oh my goodness Goodbye - Hello Heisman."
As if he was listening to the call, Howard struck the famous Heisman Trophy pose in the end zone, sealing the deal on a spectacular season.
Howard started the season with a 93-yard kick return for a touchdown at Boston College and ended in in a similar fashion - and there were plenty of exciting plays in between.
Howard finished the year with 62 receptions for 985 yards (15.9 yards per catch) and an incredible 19 touchdowns, which still stands as a Michigan single-season record (the closest anyone has gotten is Braylon Edwards' 15 in 2004).
He also chipped in 180 rushing yards, 412 kick return yards and 282 punt return yards. His 1,859 all-purpose yards - a single-season record at the time - still ranks as fifth in program history (Chris Perry's 2,041 in 2003 is the current record).
After the season, Howard won the Heisman Trophy and was a consensus first-team All-American.
He finished his career with 3,943 all-purpose yards (10th all-time), 134 catches (11th all-time), 2,146 receiving yards (11th all-time), 32 receiving touchdowns (third all-time) and 37 total touchdowns.
And, of course, this catch on a fourth down, which lifted Michigan to a victory over Notre Dame in 1990:
Mike Hart, running back (2004-07)
By the time Hart arrived in Ann Arbor, Michigan fans everywhere had seen his high school highlight tape, chock-full of impossibly long runs during which he bobbed and weaved his way through throngs of defenders, slipping tackles all the way to the end zone.
But even though fans were excited about the diminutive back, no one could have predicted Hart's meteoric rise to prominence.
In the third game of Hart's freshman season - with the Wolverines struggling to find consistent production on the ground - Hart got his chance, and took advantage of it.
Against San Diego State, Hart rushed 25 times for 121 yards, and he never looked back.
Hart was a workhorse that season, racking up 282 carries for 1,455 yards and nine touchdowns. In the heart of the conference slate, Hart compiled back-to-back-to-back 200-yard games, going to 234 against Illinois, 206 against Purdue and 224 against Michigan State, helping Michigan to a Big Ten title and a Rose Bowl appearance.
Hart topped the 1,000-yard mark three times (adding 1,562 as a junior in 2006 and 1,361 as a senior in 2007). He rushed for 662 yards in an injury-shortened 2005 season, too.
Hart won the Michigan MVP award twice and was a two-time first-team All-Big Ten performer.
He finished his career with 5,040 rushing yards, which is still the Michigan career record. Denard Robinson is No. 2 with 4,495 yards, 545 yards behind Hart's total. Hart also hold the record for career carries (1,015) and is fourth all-time in rushing touchdowns (41).
Remy Hamilton, placekicker (1993-95)
Hamilton attempted just one field goal in 1993, a 47-yard make at Minnesota.
He didn't get another crack at one until the second game of the 1994 season - but he quickly made up for lost time, with one of the best performances by a kicker in recent memory.
That game - a 26-24 win at Notre Dame - was a big one for Hamilton. He hit four field goals and two extra points, accounting for 14 of Michigan's 26 points.
With time winding down and the Wolverines down 24-23, Hamilton nailed a 42-yard attempt with two seconds on the clock, sealing the Michigan victory.
That season, Hamilton was on fire, with six multiple-field goal games, including two more four-field goal performances (vs. Michigan State and Illinois).
He finished the year 25-of-30 (83.3 percent) that season, which still stands as the most single-season field goals in program history. After the season, he earned first-team All-American honors (the only kicker in Michigan history to do so).
The next year, Hamilton hit 19 more field goals (tied for second most in single-season program history).
Hamilton finished his career with 63 made field goals, which set the program record. It stood for 10 years, until Garrett Rivas topped it by one (64).
Bump Elliott, halfback (1946-47)
Elliott started his playing career at Purdue, earning varsity letters in football basketball and baseball in 1943 and '44. Six games into the 1944 season, Elliott was transferred by the Marines, where he served in China.
When he came back to the states, Elliott transferred to Michigan, where his brother, Pete, was on the team.
Elliott did everything for the Wolverines, racking up 644 rushing yards, 403 receiving yards and 568 return yards in two years with the team.
In 1947, Elliott led the Big Ten (then called the Big Nine) in scoring and won the Chicago Tribune Silver Football as the conference MVP. He also earned first-team All-American honors.
That season, Elliott led the Wolverines to an undefeated, national championship season, capped by a 49-0 win over USC in the Rose Bowl.
After being denied eligibility in 1948, Elliott went into coaching and was named the Wolverines' head coach in 1959.
He went 51-42-2 in 10 years as coaching, including the 1964 season, during which Michigan went 9-1, won the Big Ten title and beat Oregon State, 34-7, in the Rose Bowl.
Elliott was inducted into the College Football Hall Of Fame in 1989.