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July 5, 2013

Top 20 U-M recruiting stories: No. 16 Adrian Arrington

During the heyday of Terry Malone's run as offensive coordinator from 2002-05, Michigan was cranking out receivers left and right - Braylon Edwards, Jason Avant, Steve Breaston - and in 2004, they landed three four-stars wideouts, including Adrian Arrington.

No. 16 - Adrian Arrington - 2004

The Recruitment

Michigan went after the big dogs in 2004 - five-stars Cam Colvin and Fred Davis - but were also locked in on a number of four-star talents, with Arrington torn between his home-state Iowa Hawkeyes and the Maize and Blue.

Davis eliminated the Wolverines early, and would end up picking Southern Cal, and as the season bore on, three receivers - Colvin, Arrington and four-star Doug Dutch - held out, each wanting to complete their senior seasons and take their visits. Colvin also wanted to build up the hype, which reached a crescendo when he picked Oregon Feb. 4, 2004, shocking U-M fans.

During the heyday of Terry Malone's run as offensive coordinator from 2002-05, Michigan was cranking out receivers left and right - Braylon Edwards, Jason Avant, Steve Breaston - and in 2004, they landed three four-stars wideouts, including Adrian Arrington.Arrington wasn't some look-at-me prima donna, but the pull between the Hawkeyes and Wolverines was taxing.

A U.S. Army Bowl All-American participant, the Cedar Rapids native was supposed to visit Ann Arbor officially for the 2003 Ohio State game (a contest in which Michigan crushed the Buckeyes 35-21) but had to reschedule when his own team continued on in the state playoffs.

He would visit U-M Dec. 12, but Iowa had a chance to outdo the Maize and Blue when it hosted Arrington Dec. 19.

Just as Michigan and Iowa fans thought the decision would come down to those two, Arrington decided to take a trip to UCLA Jan. 23, less than a week before he said he would make an announcement.

"Before the visit it seemed that Adrian had narrowed it down to Iowa and Michigan," his coach, Paul James had said. "After his visit, UCLA is right there with Michigan and Iowa."

Considering the drama unfolding with Colvin - he had visited both the Ducks and Trojans in January and suddenly the favorite (Michigan) was getting forced out - U-M fans had no stomach to watch another "lock" opt for a surprise third school like Colvin would.

At 4:00 p.m., at a press conference at Washington High School, on Jan. 29, Arrington read a prepared statement: "I am here today to officially announce that I will be joining Coach Lloyd Carr and the University of Michigan family."

At that press conference, Arrington revealed just how tough of a choice it was, noting his mother's preference was UCLA and he was almost dead even split between Michigan and Iowa, finally going with his gut.

But, he was a Wolverine, softening the blow when Colvin would eventually announce for Oregon.

At Michigan

During their careers at Michigan and Oregon, one receiver would catch 109 balls for 1,438 yards and 16 touchdowns, and the other would make 74 grabs for 892 yards and seven scores. Arrington wasn't as hyped as Colvin, and there was a considerable sting in Ann Arbor when the Maize and Blue missed out on the five-star, but the receiver U-M landed outplayed the one it didn't over the course of their careers.

Arrington emerged one of the best No. 2 receivers in school history (and probably could have been a No. 1), complimenting Mario Manningham in both 2006 and 2007, in catching eight touchdown passes each campaign - a feat never accomplished by a second target at U-M.

In 2006, he had 40 grabs for 544 yards, and then in 2007, he secured 67 receptions for 882 yards. His 67 catches actually rank ninth all time in the single-season annals - a section of the record book dominated by No. 1 receivers.

Arrington would not return for a fifth year in 2008, leaving with Manningham and a slew of others before the transition to the Rich Rodriguez era, but he gave a heck of a final performance, catching nine balls for 153 yards and two touchdowns, including two spectacular catches, in the Wolverines' 2008 Capital One Bowl victory over Florida.



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