After the graduation of Vincent Smith in 2012, the University of Michigan football program made it so that the No. 2 jersey would have to be earned in honor of the program’s last Heisman Trophy winner cornerback Charles Woodson. While it was not implicitly stated, the number will be held for a defensive back that exhibits legendary status on and off the field. In recent seasons hallowed numbers such as Desmond Howard’s No. 21, Tom Harmon’s No. 98 have been reserved for for the best of the best at a position. While it has not been officially labeled a “legendary number” the No. 1 also carries high esteem as it is reserved only for a special talent at wide receiver who would follow in the footsteps of Anthony Carter, Derrick Alexander and Braylon Edwards — the last player to wear the number for the maize and blue.
According to the photo below posted on June 12th, it seemed as if it was a foregone conclusion that Peppers, a 6’1 210 pound athlete from Paramus NJ would be wearing the No. 2 this upcoming season.
This photo spread through the various sports blogs, chatrooms and Facebook groups with many fans questioning whether a player that had yet to prove anything was worthy of such a great number.
Well those critical fans can rejoice in knowing that according to MGoBlue.com the talented but young freshman will not be wearing Woodson’s number. Instead a returning veteran will be — Blake Countess.
While Countess did not come to Ann Arbor with high level of fanfare that Peppers is arriving with, the redshirt junior from Owings Mills MD has the potential to do the legacy of the number proud. Countess bounced back from a torn ACL that derailed most of the 2012 season to make All- Big 10 first team (media) in 2013 after finishing seventh in the nation with six interceptions. Having a year to get fully healed from the injury, U-M fans should expect to see more production from cornerback and definitely will be proud to see him wear the No. 2 when the season opens August 30th against Appalachian State.
As for Peppers, while some have already named him a “Woodson Part 2” due to his potential to be a game changer in all three aspects of the game, he is looking forward to establishing his own number legacy and will be wearing the No. 5.