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November 10, 2012

Wisterts honored, Kovacs wearing No. 11 jersey

The Michigan athletic Department officially recognized the Wistert brothers, Francis, Albert and Alvin, as Michigan Football Legends Nov. 11 during a pregame ceremony at the Michigan-Northwestern football game. Senior safety Jordan Kovacs will wear the famed No. 11 jersey for the remainder of the season, switching from No. 32.

A Michigan Football Legend patch over the left upper chest will be affixed to the No. 11 jersey worn by Kovacs and all other future players donning the Wisterts' jersey number.

The Wisterts, one of the great Michigan athletic families in school history, each wore the No. 11 jersey for the Michigan football program. All three brothers played tackle, were selected consensus All-Americans and were inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame and Michigan Hall of Honor.

Francis "Whitey" Wistert (1931-33) played on three consecutive Big Ten Championship teams, including two back-to-back national championship squads. Whitey was also Big Ten Conference MVP in baseball and later played for the Cincinnati Reds. He was an assistant football coach at Michigan in 1936.

Albert "The Ox" Wistert (1940-42), commonly known as Al, was the Most Valuable Player of the 1942 Michigan team coached by Fritz Crisler. Al played in the 1943 East-West Shrine Game and then played nine seasons at offensive tackle for the Philadelphia Eagles, who later retired his No. 70 jersey, in the National Football League. Team captain for the Eagles, Al played in the NFL's first Pro Bowl, becoming Michigan's first player selected for the honor. He earned All-Pro honors eight times during his professional career.

Alvin Wistert (1947-49) began his collegiate football career at age 30 following 12 years of work in a factory and service to his country in the United States Marine Corps during World War II. Alvin played defensive tackle for the undefeated 1947 and 1948 Wolverine football teams, both of which finished the season ranked No. 1 in the Associated Press poll. Alvin holds the distinction of being the oldest college football player ever selected as an All-American, having been selected to the 1948 All-America Team at age 32 and the 1949 team at age 33.

Desmond Howard was the inaugural Michigan Football Legend, honored in 2011 during the first night game in Michigan Stadium history. Howard's No. 21 jersey is worn by senior wide receiver Roy Roundtree in 2012.

Bennie Oosterbaan was recognized as a Michigan Football Legend prior to the 2012 home opener against Air Force, and his No. 47 jersey is being worn by junior/sophomore Jake Ryan (Westlake, Ohio/St. Ignatius). Ron Kramer's No. 87 jersey was recognized prior to the Massachusetts game Sept. 15, and senior tight end Brandon Moore will wear No. 87 for the remainder of the season, while Gerald Ford's No. 48 jersey, honored prior to the Illinois game on Oct. 13, will be worn by sophomore linebacker Desmond Morgan.

In addition to the permanent patch, the Michigan Football Legends will be featured in a special area to be designed and constructed in the soon-to-be renovated Schembechler Hall. Also, the lockers to be used in both the Schembechler Hall and Michigan Stadium locker rooms will be customized to reflect the fact that those names will forever be recognized as Michigan Football Legends.


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