Only Two Michigan-Based QBs Make ESPN’s Top 75 of 2000s
The state of Michigan just doesn't have the best luck when it comes to quarterback play. Ironically, the greatest quarterback of all time played for the Michigan Wolverines, Tom Brady. Brady didn't enter the league with pomp and praise, instead being drafted 199th overall after his Michigan career was mired with a constant battle with Drew Henson.
We of course know the rest of his story.
But since Brady entered the NFL in 2000, the college football landscape has seen some elite talents take the field. As the sport becomes more and more quarterback focused and as quarterbacks arrive on campus more and more ready to play, the talent has sky-rocketed.
ESPN released a ranking of the top 75 quarterbacks since 2000. Eleven of the top 15 played after 2010. And it pains me as a graduate of the University of Alabama to tell you that the Crimson Tide has five names on its own.
With that in mind, only two of the 75 quarterbacks on the list played their collegiate ball in the state of Michigan.
It's worth noting when you see who missed this list, whether you believe it justified or not, that the list is based solely on these quarterback's college careers.
The first name shouldn't be too surprising. He's the player featured in the image accompanying the article. He was the last player to grace the cover of the EA Sports NCAA football video games. From the University of Michigan, the man they called "Shoelace", Denard Robinson was named the 50th-best college football quarterback since 2000.
Robinson scored 91 touchdowns, threw for 6,250 yards and ran for another 4,495. He was one of the most lethal dual-threat quarterbacks the Big 10 had seen, and certainly broke the mold for what Wolverine fans were used to seeing at the position overall.
Robinson turned the ball over too much and Michigan football on the whole wasn't nearly as exciting outside of Robinson, but much of that had more to do with Rich Rodriguez's ability as a head coach at the highest level. Robinson himself was a star.
The second name on the list from a Michigan school was actually right next to Robinson's at 51st. And no, it wasn't Kirk Cousins. In fact, there weren't any Michigan State Spartan quarterbacks on this list.
No, the 51st-best quarterback since 2000 according to ESPN is Dan LeFevour, the quarterback of the Central Michigan Chippewas from 2006-2009. LeFevour led CMU to three MAC titles as a starter, something the Chippewas haven't done since. His production also helped springboard Brian Kelly's career as a coach. LeFevour threw for over 12,000 yards and rushed for nearly another 3,000 while scoring a total of 149 touchdowns. Throwing to Antonio Brown probably helped a bit.
It's disappointing that more names from the Mitten State didn't make the list, but it's understandable. Quarterbacks tend to either play in the SEC, Texas or California. And outside of Cousins, good luck pointing to another quarterback that realistically could crack the list. The 75th name on the list was Matt Ryan, this is a difficult club to be in.
Joey Harrington did make the list though. We'll mark that in the "unlucky with quarterbacks" column and forget about it.
Check out the full list from ESPN here. Or check out the best players born in Michigan to ever suit up in the NFL. Spoiler alert, there aren't many quarterbacks there either.