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August 28, 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.
Keith Bostic, safety (1979-82)
Bostic didn't have to go far to play college ball, moving from one corner of Stadium & Main to the other.
Bostic was a standout athlete at Ann Arbor (Mich.) Pioneer High School, which is located directly across the intersection from The Big House. When it came time to make a college choice, he didn't take long, picking the hometown Wolverines.
He earned four varsity letters with the Wolverines and first cracked the starting lineup as a sophomore, starting eight games. He picked off two passes that season, including one in the Rose Bowl, a 23-6 Michigan victory over Washington that marked coach Bo Schembechler's first career bowl victory.
Over the next two seasons, Bostic started 23 games, racking up 210 career tackles, 11 career pass breakups and six career fumble recoveries. Bostic still ranks fourth in program history in fumble recoveries.
Bostic was a ball-hawking safety who finished his career with 10 career interceptions, adding three in 1981 and five in 1981.
After Bostic's career, he stood second in program history with 10 career picks, behind Tom Curtis' 22. His five in 1982 was tied for fourth in program history at the time.
Thirty years later, Bostic's 10 picks now rank seventh in all-time program history. His five single-season interceptions now rank ninth.
The three-year starter won first-team All-Big Ten honors after his stellar senior season.
Jack Blott, center (1922-23)
Blott had big shoes to fill when he assumed starting center responsibilities before the 1922 season. The Wolverines were replacing All-American center Ernie Vick (who was inducted into the College Football Hall Of Fame in 1983).
To make things even more difficult, Blott had no previous experience along the line. He was a standout fullback in high school.
But Blott immediately took to the position, opening huge holes for the Michigan backs on offense and stifling opponents' offensive opportunities on defense. He was a big contributor for a team that went 6-0-1, shared the Big Ten title with Iowa and outscored opponents 183-13 on the season.
The following season, Blott continued his dominant ways at center, and coach Fielding H. Yost also named Blott the team's field goal kicker.
In the second game of the season, a hard-fought, defensive game against Vanderbilt (who held the Wolverines to a scoreless tie the previous season), Blott was the hero. He kicked a field goal from the 15-yard line, breaking the late-game tie. When the final gun sounded, Michigan was up 3-0 with a huge victory.
After two more wins (23-0 over Ohio State and 37-0 over Michigan State), Blott once again saved the day, scoring a "fluky" touchdown against Iowa (who shared the '22 Big Ten crown with Michigan) in a 9-3 Michigan win. The Associated Press wrote, "When Jack Blott, Michigan's star center, fell on a loose ball, in back of the goal line in the recent Michigan-Iowa game, he performed a feat which is rarely accomplished on the gridiron. Not only did it win the contest for the Wolverines, but it marked one of the few times wherein a center is credited with having scored a touchdown.
"Blott's performance was all the more unique in that he passed the ball for [Harry Kipke's] attempted drop kick and then raced down the field ahead of any of the other players in time to drop on the leather as it bounded across the final chalk mark after having grazed an Iowa uniform."
Blott, who also played baseball for the Wolverines, was Michigan's only All-American on the season, despite playing for a team that went 8-0 and won a national championship.
After a brief professional baseball career, Blott came back to Ann Arbor to spend two stints as the Wolverines' line coach, 1924-33 and 1946-48.
The Wistert brothers: Francis, tackle (1931-33); Albert, tackle (1940-42); and Alvin, tackle (1947-49)
By 1950, Michigan's opponents considered themselves lucky if they never heard the name "Wistert" again.
Francis began the legacy of brotherly tackles. As a junior in 1932, he earned All-Big Ten honors and followed that up with an All-American performance in 1933.
Famous sportswriter Grantland Rice wrote, "Wistert was unanimously selected as the best tackle in the Middle-West this year. He was the key to Michigan's defensive line play. He was a sure tackler and it was next to impossible to fool him on trick maneuvers. He was keen, quick, and accurate in diagnosing plays."
In Francis' two years as a starter, Michigan went a combined 15-0-1 and won two national championships.
Following in his brother's footsteps - both at the tackle position and the jersey number - Albert was a three-year starter for the Wolverines, paving the way for Heisman winner Tom Harmon on offense and shutting down opposing defenses.
Albert led the Wolverines to a 20-5-1 record as a starter and earned All-American honors and team MVP honors as a senior.
The youngest brother, Alvin, was also a three-year starter at left tackle, helping pave the way for the famous Mad Magicians offense that won back-to-back undefeated national championships in 1947 and 1948.
Alvin was a two-time All-American selection ('48 and '49) and was a unanimous selection as the team captain in 1949. All three brothers have been elected to the College Football Hall Of Fame.
In a 2004 Detroit News story, Alvin reminisced on his family's dominant stint with the Wolverines:
"And if I'm not mistaken I think this is unprecedented in the annals of college football: that three brothers all would go to the same school, all played football. All played tackle, all wore the same number 11, all made All-American. Two of us played on four national championship teams. And all were inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame."
The No. 11 jersey was brought out of retirement in 2012 and inducted into the Michigan Legends program.