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July 11, 2014

Mount Rushmore Michigan: Wide Receivers

Previous Mount Rushmore Pieces: QB
  • RB

    Michigan has produced seven All-American wide receivers over the past 50 years so even though this position might appear to be a slam dunk, it wasn't easy to decide the four that belonged on Mount Rushmore.

    Of the four we chose, three wore the famed No. 1 jersey while the fourth has seen his number honored as a "Legends Jersey."





    Anthony Carter - 1979-82

    To those that witnessed him during his playing days, there was, is and will always be no comparison as to who the best receiver in Michigan football history is.

    In an era in which only two other Wolverines in school history had 100 career receptions, Carter did the impossible, forcing Bo Schembechler to consider that the forward pass might just be his best offensive weapon.

    Carter caught 161 balls over four seasons, setting program career records in receptions, receiving yards (3,076) and touchdowns (37). His totals represented 33, 42 and 58 percent of the team's catches, yards and receiving TDs over that span.

    Carter is one of only two Michigan players to garner All-America first-team honors three times, and the only one in the modern era (generally viewed as following World War II in 1945).

    Desmond Howard - 1989-91

    Howard is the only one of our four choices that sits outside the top 10 in career receptions (12th with 134) and yards (12th with 2,146). He is third with 32 touchdowns. But Howard owns the prize no one else at this spot (and only two other players in program history) can claim - Heisman Trophy winner.

    Sure, he won it in part because of his prowess as a returnman - he averaged 27.5 yards per kickoff with a touchdown and 14.1 yards per punt with another TD in 1991 - but he also put together one of the finest single-season receiving efforts of all time, catching 62 balls for 985 yards and a school-record 19 touchdowns that season.

    Amazingly, Howard caught at least one touchdown in each of U-M's first 10 games in 1991, and 13 straight dating back to 1990, a mark four better than Carter's streak of nine in 1980.

    David Terrell - 1998-2000

    Until a guy named Braylon Edwards came along, Terrell was, arguably, the most physically impressive specimen the wide receiver position had ever known at Michigan, standing in at 6-3, 208 pounds with 4.4 speed.

    He started each of his final two seasons, and became the first receiver in school history with a pair of 1,000-yard campaigns, going for 71 grabs and 1,038 yards in 1999 and 67 grabs for 1,130 yards in 2000 (the latter a then-school record).

    Terrell caught touchdown passes in seven straight games and 10 of 12 in 2000, leading the Wolverines to a Big Ten title, a win over Ohio State and a bowl win over Auburn.

    He currently sits eighth all time in receptions (152), fifth in yards (2,317) and fifth in TDs (23).

    Braylon Edwards - 2004-07

    Despite Jeremy Gallon's best efforts, Edwards still holds seven Michigan career, single-season and single-game receiving records, including the marks for all-time receptions (252, dwarfing the competition by 76), yards (3,541, 465 more than No. 2) and touchdowns (39, two better).

    Edwards "earned" the No. 1 jersey for his final two seasons after catching 67 balls for 1,035 yards and 10 scores in 2002. That was the first of three campaigns with 1,000 yards or more and the first of three with 10 TDs or more - he is the only player to wear the winged helmet that can claim that distinction.

    In 2004, Edwards was named the program's first Biletnikoff Award winner as the nation's top receiver after hauling in a record-setting 97 catches for 1,330 yards and 15 touchdowns.

    Physically imposing at 6-3, 206 pounds, Edwards could single-handedly take over a game with his ability to sky high above defensive backs, never more evident than when he led an improbable triple-overtime 45-37 comeback win over Michigan State in 2004 by catching fourth-quarter TD passes of 36 and 21 yards, and the final score of the game on a 24-yard reception.

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    Just Missed

    Jim Smith - 1973-76

    A 1976 first-team All-American, Smith led Michigan in receiving yards in three seasons and in catches twice. He finished with only 73 career grabs for 1,687 yards and 14 touchdowns, but as the predecessor, he helped create the path for Carter.

    Derrick Alexander - 1989-93

    Some felt that if Alexander had not blown out his knee in the 1991 season opener that season would have belonged to him and not Howard. However, fate had a different desire.

    Alexander came back strong in 1992, recording career highs in catches (50), yards (740) and touchdowns (11), and finished his career with 125 receptions for 1,977 yards and 22 scores.

    Amani Toomer - 1992-95

    Almost always associated with his four-year receiver teammate, Mercury Hayes, Toomer was the more prolific of the two, ranking 10th in catches (143), fourth in yards (2,657) and eighth in TDs (18).

    Tai Streets - 1995-98

    Streets sort of ebbed and flowed through his career, going for 44 catches and 730 yards before a 28-reception campaign in 1997 (albeit one in which he had six TDs, including two in the Rose Bowl) before a monster senior season, hauling in 67 for 1,035 yards and 11 scores.

    Marquise Walker - 1998-2001

    Before Edwards, Walker was the one to push Carter aside, setting a program record with 176 career receptions after a program-record season of 86 catches in 2001. He played Robin to Terrell's Batman for two seasons, and if he had been the No. 1, he might have challenged Edwards for career supremacy.

    Mario Manningham - 2005-07

    Only two receivers in Michigan history with at least 100 receptions - Howard (4.2) and Carter (4.4) - produced a touchdown with greater frequency than Manningham, who caught one for every five receptions he made. The team's go-to target in 2006-07, Manningham had 137 catches for 2,310 yards and 27 touchdowns in three seasons.

    Who is the biggest snub? You can vote here.




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