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December 12, 2013
Gallon reflects on Team MVP Award
At the annual Michigan Football Bust, fifth-year senior wide receiver Jeremy Gallon was thinking just about anyone else but him would be called to the podium at the end of the night's festivities, when the Glenn E. Schembechler Award was given to the team's MVP.
In his mind, he thought the award, voted on by the entire Michigan team, would go to fifth-year senior left tackle Taylor Lewan, the two-time Rimington-Pace Big Ten Offensive Lineman Of The Year winner. Or maybe redshirt junior quarterback Devin Gardner or fifth-year senior running back Fitzgerald Toussaint.
"The team voted on this, and I agree with their choice," Michigan coach Brady Hoke said to the packed audience at Laurel Manor in Livonia, Mich., just before calling Gallon's name.
"It was a huge surprise for me to hear that, but I'm glad I got it," Gallon said. "I already hung it up on my wall. My brother told everyone in my family, and I have been getting phone calls and texts all day. I took a picture of the plaque and sent it to my mom and dad."
In a season when the Wolverine offense was, at times, unstoppably explosive and, at other times, stagnant, Gallon provided a consistent weapon on the outside - even when opponents knew exactly where the ball was going.
"He did a great job all season," Lewan said. "He's tough, he's physical. He doesn't just catch the ball. He blocks his heart out. I voted for him. I think he deserves to win that.
"The guy comes in and gives 120 percent every day, and he's not lying. He gives everything he has."
Gallon became just the 13th player in Michigan football history to hit the 1,000-yard plateau and the first since Mario Manningham accomplished the feat in 2007.
And he just kept going. After 12 games, Gallon has racked up 80 catches for 1,284 yards (16.1 yards per catch) and nine scores.
He set a single-game Big Ten record against Indiana, scorching the Hoosiers for a nearly inconceivable 369 yards and two scores on 14 catches. He burned Notre Dame for 184 yards and three touchdowns on eight catches win a big week two victory under the lights at home, and added another 175 yards and a touchdown on nine catches against The Buckeyes.
When Michigan needed a big play, Gallon was the man - and he never disappointed.
"It was always a goal to be the best player I can be, but to be the best player on the team? No, I didn't envision that," Gallon said of his award. "Because I'm a team player. I do everything I do for my team. The awards and stats, I could care less about."
But, because he is so selfless, the team MVP award - given out by teammates - is something special.
"Absolutely, to know my team thought of me as the most valuable player on the team was something special to me," he said.
With one more game left in his Michigan career, the Buffalo Wilds Wings Bowl against Kansas State Dec. 28, Gallon has a chance to leave his mark on the all-time record books.
He is currently tied with Braylon Edwards (2001-04) for the Michigan record with at least one catch in 38 consecutive games.
And more impressively, he is just 47 yards away from breaking Edwards' Michigan single-season record for receiving yards. Edwards hauled in 97 catches for 1,330 yards and 15 touchdowns when he won the 2004 Biletnikoff Award.
"I'm aware of the record, but it won't mean anything until we get the win," Gallon said. "I'm focusing on today and tomorrow and just preparing up until the bowl game. I know it's there, but it means nothing to me know."
With 2,615 yards and 17 touchdowns on 164 catches, Gallon stands at fourth place on Michigan all-time career receiving yards list, and will most likely jump to third place in Tempe.
But it wasn't Gallon's play-making ability that Hoke praised Monday night, when he handed the team MVP award to Gallon.
"The way I always judged Jeremy was how he blocked," Hoke said. "Because catching balls is fun and easy, but getting in front of a guy and taking him down the field is what Jeremy took a lot of pride in."
While meeting with the media Tuesday evening, Hoke elaborated.
"The way he goes to work every day and the goals he has for the team," he said. "I can't ever say I have never seen him, in the seasons I have been around him, be selfish. He does everything for his teammates. How he blocks and does those things. We kid about it, but I love how he goes down the field and harasses guys in the secondary and cracks linebackers. He'll do anything you ask him to do, if it's going to help out team."
"It's always been a part of me," Gallon added about his blocking ability. "I'm not the tallest receiver, and I'm not the strongest, but I will give the most effort and try my hardest to make everything happen without the ball in my hand. Coach Heck always preached that to us, to go out and do everything for your team. It's not what you can do with the ball in your hand, it's taking pride in blocking and those things."