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You’re Nuts: Which former Michigan football player do you respect the most?

Your (almost) daily dose of good-natured, Ohio State banter.

University of Michigan QB Tom Brady SetNumber: X56323

From now until preseason camp starts in August, Land-Grant Holy Land will be writing articles around a different theme every week. This week is all about Ohio State’s rival. We are talking all things TTUN. You can catch up on all of the Theme Week content here and all of our ”That Team Up North” articles here.

As much as it pains us to admit it, there have been some really good players to come through Ann Arbor in all sports. The Columbus Blue Jackets have recently used first round picks in the NHL Draft on Zach Werenski, Kent Johnson, and Adam Fantilli. On the hardwood, Columbus standout Trey Burke led the Wolverines to the title game of the NCAA Tournament. There have also been plenty of Michigan alums that have made their way to the NFL and MLB throughout the years.

As Ohio State fans, we have become programmed to hate everything maize and blue. Even though we’ll never stop loathing those that have played for That Team Up North, there are some players that we respect over time for what they have done on and off the field. We have seen it go both ways in the rivalry as there have been Ohio State players that have been shown respect for what they have done by some of the most rabid Michigan fans.

Since this week of the offseason we are diving into everything Michigan, and because this is a safe space, today we want to know what Michigan player you respect the most. It doesn’t mean that you are going to go out and buy their jersey tomorrow, but the Michigan alum that you can acknowledge their talents and achievements.

Today’s question: Which Michigan player, past or present, do you respect the most?

We’d love to hear your choices. Either respond to us on Twitter at @Landgrant33 or leave your choice in the comments.

Brett’s answer: Tom Brady

I’m sure my choice here is going to shock a lot of people, especially since I’m a Yankees fan and Derek Jeter went to Michigan. The reason I’m picking Tom Brady here is because I’m pretty sure it is required by law since I’m a Bills fan and I had to watch Brady and the Patriots beat Buffalo so many times over the years. Brady was 33-3 against Buffalo. Thankfully I drank pretty heavily through a lot of those games, so the losses just run together. I feel about Tom Brady like Pedro Martinez felt about the Yankees. All I can do is tip my hat and call Brady my daddy.

Honestly though, as much as we have made fun of Brady about over the years, there will never be a quarterback that accomplishes as much as Brady did. Tommy didn’t eat a strawberry for the first 40 years of his life and somehow he went on to win seven Super Bowls in his career. Not only will Brady be a first-ballot Hall of Famer, he was married to one of the most beautiful women in the world for 13 years. Now that his playing career is over (then again you can never count out Touchdown Tom), he’s going to make stacks of money as a commentator. Even though he went to Michigan, I’d love to live the life Brady has lived so far.

Brady’s results against the Buckeyes were mixed, which makes him a little easier to respect. Ohio State won the 1998 edition of The Game 31-16 in Columbus, which was Brady’s first start against the Buckeyes. Ohio State sacked Brady seven times in the game. Michigan got some revenge the next year in Ann Arbor, winning 24-17 at home. Brady did throw the game-winning touchdown pass in the fourth quarter, but the season wasn’t the best for Ohio State, as the Buckeyes finished the year with a 6-6 record. If Ohio State had to deal with Brady destroying them for 3-4 years, then my opinion might be a little different.

Matt’s answer: Barry Larkin

I might be cheating here a little bit, but I’ll be damned if I give too much credit to Charles Woodson, Jake Long, Tyrone Wheatley, or a guy that people called Shoelace (you’ll never hear me praise Desmond Howard. So, I am opting to go with a former Wolverine who played football in Ann Arbor for less than a season, then moved over to play baseball exclusively. If I have to praise a former Michigan Man, I’m at least going to make it one who is from Ohio, barely played football there, and became an icon back in the Buckeye State.

As someone who grew up in the 1980s and ‘90s as a diehard Cincinnati Reds fan, Lark is an essential part of my childhood. While I eventually moved to catcher, when I was first falling in love with the game, I played shortstop, so much of what I knew of the position was from Barry and my favorite player of all-time, Cal Ripken Jr. Those two Hall of Famers were baseball to me; and while my affection for Larkin was, essentially. because my parents were both Reds fans. Cal was my favorite player because one time when I was 8 years old, I counted all of my baseball cards and I had more of him than anyone else.

Through sheer luck, two of my idols just so happened to be two of the greatest players and role models in recent baseball memory.

Anyway, back to the Michigan of it all, after being a multi-sport athlete at Moeller High School, Larkin planned to play both football and baseball at That School Up North, but quickly decided to stick to baseball, and thank goodness for that. He went on to be a two-time Big Ten Player of the Year and two-time All-American before being drafted by his hometown Cincinnati Reds.

A 12-time All-Star, World Series champion, NL MVP, and three-time Gold Glover, Barry Larkin is Reds baseball for the millennial generation. Even today as a part-time analyst for the team’s TV broadcasts, hearing his voice, insight, and passion for the team (he still always refers to the Reds as “we”) awakens a nostalgia and childlike excitement in me as a fan.

So, Wolverine or not, I admit that I respect Barry Larkin.