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August 23, 2013

Countdown To Kickoff: Day 9

Since 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.

No. 30

Brad Cochran, cornerback (1982-85)

Cochran cracked the starting lineup as a sophomore in 1983, racking up 64 tackles and five interceptions.

He had his best game of the season in the Wolverines' 24-21 win over Ohio State at the end of the season, picking off two passes - the lone multiple-interception game of his career - and two pass breakups against the Buckeyes.

After posting 116 tackles a, six interceptions and 11 pass breakups over his last two years, Cochran earned All-American and All-Big Ten honors in 1985, helping the Wolverines to a 10-1-1 record and a 27-23 win over Nebraska in the Fiesta Bowl.

Cochran finished his career with 12 interceptions, ranking fourth in program history. His 17 career pass breakups rank 17th.

No. 29

Leon Hall, cornerback (2003-06)

Hall's career got off to a quick start, playing in all 13 games in 2003 as a freshman, tallying 26 tackles and three interceptions, earning Freshman All-American honors after the season.

Over the next two years, Hall was a consistently stalwart cornerback for the Wolverines, racking up 109 tackles, six interceptions, three fumble recoveries and one forced fumble, earning second-team All-Big Ten honors in 2005.

Hall exploded as a seniors, proving himself as one of the most lockdown cornerbacks in the Big Ten - if not the country. He led the Big Ten with 18 pass breakups, tying a Michigan single-season record set by Marlin Jackson in 2002. He also picked off three passes.

He was a consensus first-team All-American and a finalist for the Bronko Nagurski Award and the Jim Thorpe Award.

Hall's 43 career pass breakups ranks first all-time in Michigan program history, and he ranks fourth in program record with 12 intercpetions.

Hall was taken with the 18th overall pick of the 2007 NFL Draft, going to the Bengals, for whom he still plays. He was an All-Pro selection in 2009.

No. 28

Bob Timberlake, quarterback (1962-64)

Timberlake originally came to Michigan as a running back, rushing 74 times for 108 yards as a sophomore in 1962.

But Michigan coach Bump Elliott decided to give Timberlake a go at quarterback - and he shined.

He completed 47 passes for 593 yards and three scores in 1963 and was named the starter before the 1964 season.

He racked up 70 completions for 884 yards and five touchdowns in 1964. He also showcased his athleticism, running for 631 yards and nine touchdowns on the year, leading the Wolverines to a stellar season. After two straight losing seasons, Michigan won seven of the first eight games of the season - narrowly losing to Purdue, 21-20 - to set up a do-or-die showdown against Ohio State.

With both teams 7-1, the winner would earn the Big Ten crown and a trip to the Rose Bowl. The Wolverines had lost four straight games to the Buckeyes, heading into the trip to Columbus.

Timberlake was the star, tossing a 17-yard touchdown pass and kicking a 27-yard field goal in Michigan's 10-0 upset win.

The Wolverines went on to beat Oregon State, 34-7, in the Rose Bowl.

Timberlake won the Chicago Tribune Silver Football Award as the Big Ten MVP, finished fourth in the Heisman Trophy voting and was named to several first-team All-American teams.

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