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December 10, 2013
Best Of The Bust: Seniors speak about their careers
The annual Michigan football bust last night, and there were laughs, tears and plenty of hugs to go around. These are the highlights of the evening:
Best Speech: Offensive lineman Taylor Lewan
Click here to listen to Lewan's speech.
Best Suit: Running back Fitzgerald Toussaint, who wore a shiny blue coat with gold inlace, which astounded Michigan coach Brady Hoke. Here's a picture.
Most Inspirational Moment: Defensive tackle Quinton Washington received a standing ovation when he thanked speech pathologist David Daly "for giving him a voice."
Click here to listen to Washington's speech.
Funniest Moment: Wide receiver Jeremy Jackson let the crowd in on an inside joke with the team and his dad, running backs coach Fred Jackson. "I want to thank my pops, Frederico Jackson," he said, to which his dad put his head in his hands and the crowd roared.
Emcee: Frank Beckmann, who took over as radio play-by-play man for Bob Ufer in 1981 and will retire after the season.
Honored Team: The 1997 national championship team was on hand, and quarterback Brian Griese gave a rousing speech.
Onto the highlights of every players' speech:
Defensive tackle Jibreel Black
"I'd like to thank my parents for guiding me to this point in my life. At first, I was committed to two different schools before I committed to the University of Michigan, so it was a whole circus. But they pulled me aside by the ear, and they told me I was coming here. I want to thank them for that.
Wide receiver Drew Dileo
"Coach Hoke, one of the many things I enjoy about him is that he is the type of coach any player would want to play for. He is a man that can be called a role model. The way he brings energy to everything he does. The way he wears shorts and t-shirts in snowy, 20-degree weather. And the way he secretly wants me to buy him whoppers with cheese and no onions from Burger King every Monday after our receiver meetings. He has been a tremendous coach to play for, and I am truly blessed.
"Adjusting to life in Ann Arbor was not easy. It's a lot different than where I grew up, but I did it. Adjusting to the diverse student groups I sat next to every day in class was not easy, but I did it. Having to wash, dry and fold my laundry while cooking my own dinner was not easy, but I did it. Getting myself in a position to graduate was not easy, but next May, I will. Coming to Michigan at first was only about football. But four years later, it's obvious that God did not put me here just to play the game I love. It gave me the tools, resources and people to follow along the way, and all these things have turned me into a true Michigan man and given me the ability to carry on these traditions for the rest of my life."
Tight end Dylan Esterline
Wide receiver Jeremy Gallon
"I'd like to give special thanks to Desmond Howard for letting me wear his jersey. It's been a blessing to be able to honor someone as great as him."
Placekicker Brendan Gibbons
Longsnapper Jareth Glanda
Safety Thomas Gordon
Offensive lineman Erik Gunderson
"I'd like to thank Coach Borges, [Offensive line coach Darrell] Funk, [graduate assistant] Adam Stenavich and Christian Pace helping me sharpen my skills as an offensive lineman, even though they weren't the sharpest of skills."
Wide receiver Jeremy Jackson
"Michigan has meant the world to me. It has been a part of my family my whole entire life. I am honored to be able to represent this university for four years. See you all out there in Arizona."
Offensive tackle Kristian Mateus
Offensive lineman Christian Pace
Wide receiver Joe Reynolds
"Being a walk-on, you make or break yourself by what you do in the weight room and in conditioning. You're not coming in as the most talented guy, and you're not leaving as the most talented guy, so you better make up the difference somewhere. I'd like to thank [strength and conditioning coach] Aaron Wellman. When this staff came that first winter, I was going to transfer. I didn't like it anymore, and I was ready to be done playing football here. I talked to Coach Wellman about it, and he challenged me. Thank you for that."
Offensive tackle Michael Schofield
"I also want to thank my nana and papa, my grandparents. Every holiday, I can't wait to get a card from my nana in the mail. She sends me two dollars, which is always good for a slice of pizza or something."
Running back Fitzgerald Toussaint
Defensive tackle Quinton Washington
"I'd like to thank Coach Hoke and Coach Mattison for creating the man that I am today. It has not been an easy road, but it was a growing experience, and I am blessed to have them in my life.
"Last but not least, I'd like David Daly. He's my speech pathologist. Coming here, it was hard for me to even pick up a phone. I couldn't order anything from a restaurant, or anything. Working with him since my freshman year, he gave me a voice. I want to thank you for giving me a voice. Thank you, and Go Blue."
Defensive back Courtney Avery
"I also want to thank my coaches for allowing me to be an instrumental part of this program. Coach Hoke, Coach Mattison, Coach Mallory taught me so much about the game of football. And my teammates, my brothers, we have a really special bond. We pulled each other through the tough times and celebrated the great times. Being voted as a captain by you guys is something that means so much to me. Words can't describe it."
Outside linebacker Cam Gordon
Offensive tackle Taylor Lewan
"Going into my freshman year of high school, we were going into summer conditioning. I was fat and out of shape. I was that awkward skinny-fat, with skinny arms and a belly, like Mike from Monsters, Inc. It sucked. And I was getting destroyed, I went to my dad and said, 'I want to quit. I'm done. I don't want to do it anymore.' He said, 'Alright, but you have to go tell the head coach.' He went and sat in the car, and two hours later, I came back, even more tired and sore than I was. He said, 'Taylor, I'm not raising you to be a quitter. I want you to see what it's like on the other side.' And I could not have imagined this being the other side. Thank you so much for my team, the true fans - not the haters - I appreciate everything you have done. It's unbelievable."