Sunday, July 17, 2011

Desmond Howard inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame

On a beautiful New Year Day in 1991 I took my seat behind the Michigan bench to watch the  Wolverines play in the annual Gator Bowl game against Ole Miss.

Michigan is supposed to be arriving at the Rose Bowl over the holidays to play football, not the Gator Bowl.

It was only the second time I'd ever seen Michigan play football, the other was the 1988 Hall of Fame Game in Tampa, where Michigan beat Alabama, 28-24, in one of the great games in Wolverine history.

It wasn't the best of season, 1990.

For the first time since I started watching the Wolverines, Bo Schembechler wasn't my coach.

Because of continued heart and health issues, the winning est coach in Wolverine football had stepped down.

Gary Moeller took over for Bo and guided the Wolverines in that 1990 season, going 8-3, and the team was chosen to play on New Years Day in Jacksonville, Florida.

What I saw that day was one of the greatest offensive explosions in Michigan football.

Desmond Howard, then a Sophomore, was part of a Wolverine machine that tallied over 700 yards of total offense that day as Michigan whipped the Rebels, 35-3.

Little did I know I was watching a future Heisman Trophy winner, and a future inductee into the College Football Hall of Fame.

Desmond Howard electrified Michigan fans with acrobatic catches, terrific runs, and brilliant punt and kickoff returns in every game.

Howard and the Wolverines had a spectacular 1991 season, going 10-1 in the regular season, including an un defeated 8-0 in Big Ten play, winning the Big Ten Championship and a berth in the Rose Bowl.

Howard did everything on the field that fall of '91, and he did it bigger, and better, than any other college player, becoming the Wolverines second ever winner of the Heisman Trophy.

He was drafted by the Washington Redskins, 4th overall, in the 1992 NFL Player Draft, played here in Jacksonville for the Jaguars in their Inaugural 1995 season, played for the Detroit Lions,the Oakland Raiders, and was the Most Valuable Player in Super Bowl XXXI, returning a record 99 yard kick off as the Green Bay Packers beat the New England Patriots.

20 years later Howard is now a regular on ESPN's College Game Day, a frequent speaker around the country, and as of last night, he's now the 30th Michigan Wolverine player in the College Football Hall of Fame.

Here's some cool things about Desmond Howard...

...he's great on Twitter, and you can find him here, @DesmonHoward ...

... he has his own web site with all his info, at Desmond ...

...and there's also a new book coming out this fall, "I wore 21, The Legend of Desmond Howard."

Desmond Howard is another reason why I love being a Michigan fan.

Go Blue!

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