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August 27, 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 3-4 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.
Ted Petoskey, end (1931-33)
Petoskey was an all-around terrific athlete, earning eight varsity letters during his time at Michigan (three in football, three in baseball and two in basketball).
When Petoskey joined the football team as a sophomore in 1931, the United Press described him as a "second Bennie Oosterbaan," because of his superior athleticism and knack for coming down with the football. That season, he earned second-team All-Big Ten honors.
In 1932, Petoskey played both end and fullback for the Wolverines, catching passes from Harry Newman and punishing defenders with downhill runs over the middle.
"It is about time for grid foeman to wake up when Ted Petoskey, end and fullback on the University of Michigan football team, gets to dreaming," the Associated Press wrote during the season. "Petoskey's dreams have a habit of coming true, and happily for Petoskey, most of his dreams are good ones."
Petoskey helped the Wolverines to an 8-0 record and a national championship in '32. He earned first-team All-American honors.
As a senior, Petoskey was once again voted first-team All-American, and the Wolverines once again went undefeated and won a national championship.
The Michiganensian wrote, ""After three years of Varsity football, Petoskey is recognized as one of Michigan's greatest all-time ends. At the end of his junior year, he was chosen All American, and recognized as one of the greatest defense players in the country. He was alert, followed every play, and opponents found it almost impossible to gain around his end."
Denard Robinson, quarterback (2009-12)
Simply put, Robinson did things that had never and will never again happen in a Michigan uniform. He was a once-in-a-lifetime talent, who lit up scoreboards and excited fans - uniting a program during a period of massive transformation and unsettledness.
Robinson finished his career with 10,745 yards of total offense, a Michigan program record. He's fourth in career passing yards (6,250) and second in career rushing yards (4,495) - it's completely unheard of in Michigan football history to be that high on each of those lists.
He accounted for 91 touchdowns, throwing 49 and rushing for 42.
And here's an insane stat: He has nine of the top 10 single-game total offense performances in program history, too:
And, away from the stats, he was just fun to watch. From the fumbled-snap-turned-exciting-touchdown routine of his first game, to the 87-yard turbodrive run against Notre Dame in 2010, to his run against Ohio State last year and everything in between, Robinson was perhaps the most electrifying player ever to wear the winged helmet.
Elvis Grbac, quarterback (1989-92)
Grbac set a lot of firsts.
He was the first Michigan quarterback to toss 500 completions, finishing his career with 522.
And he was the first Michigan quarterback to top the 6,000-yard mark, finishing with 6,460. And he was the first Michigan quarterback to throw more than 50 touchdowns, with 71 in his career.
Grbac ushered in a new wave of Michigan quarterbacks - the tall, strong pocket presence who could lead the offense down the field and manage a game expertly, the last of which (Chad Henne), snapped all of Grbac's former records.
Grbac was a two-time first-team All-Big Ten performer, and he was voted captain in 1992.
As a three-year starter, Grbac led the Wolverines to an impressive 28-5-3 record, two outright Big Ten titles, one shared Big Ten title, a 2-0-1 record against Ohio State and a 38-31 win over Washington in the 1993 Rose Bowl, his final game with the Wolverines.
Harry Kipke, halfback (1921-23)
Kipke was a fantastic athlete, earning nine varsity letters - three each in football, basketball and baseball - during his time in Ann Arbor.
For the football team, Kipke was a halfback and punter, considered to be one of the greatest punters in the history of Michigan football.
He had an innate knack for positioning the ball, and punting out of bounds right before the ball crossed the goal line. In the 1920's - when the game was much more concerned with field position - Kipke's skills were particularly important, and coach Fielding H. Yost, in part, credited Kipke's punting for the Wolverines' 19-1-2 combined record during Kipke's three years on the team.
Stats are sparse for the time period, but Kipke was voted first-team All-American for his halfback duties in 1922. The next season, he was voted team captain, and he helped lead the Wolverines to an undefeated national championship season.
Kipke went into coaching after graduation. After four years as an assistant at Missouri and one as head coach at Michigan State, Kipke returned to Ann Arbor, where he assumed head coaching responsibilities.
Kipke coached the Wolverines for nine seasons, finishing with a 46-26-4 record. Starting in his second year as coach, 1930, Kipke led the Wolverines to a four-year stretch with a combined record of 31-1-3, winning four Big Ten titles and two national championships.
He was inducted into the College Football Hall Of Fame in 1958.