January 3, 2013

Borton's Blog: By the gallon

Michigan features plenty of building blocks for Team 134, although several of them lack experience. One rock-solid piece of the 2013 team has operated under the radar far too long.

Redshirt junior Jeremy Gallon hasn't been ignored, certainly, but the 5-8 receiver often gets the short end of the stick when it comes to real recognition. He just posted the sort of season that should have folks talking about more than when Michigan will reinstall the lanky, DBs-as-footstools wideouts of the pre-slots-galore era.

Gallon, on aching legs, did everything he could to boost Michigan over the top in the Outback Bowl, and he very nearly did. His nine catches for 145 yards and two touchdowns gave the Wolverines a chance to win.

Had Jadeveon Clowney not given ESPN another Appalachian State unending-replay moment - and nearly delivered Vincent Smith's head into Appalachia - Gallon might have wound up the MVP of the game.

Of course, that would involve modifying a silly system in which MVP votes are cast with 10 minutes remaining on the clock, meaning most valuable honors go to the best 50-minute performer. But that's another blog for another time.

Had Clowney not separated both a winged helmet and the football from Smith, had the Wolverines retained possession, and had they taken it down and scored again … well, Gallon's trophy case would likely need expansion.

As it was, Gallon garnered the ultimate Brady Hoke compliment.

"Jeremy is a football player," Hoke said. "He runs good routes. He's tough. He doesn't shy away from contact or anything."

And while Gallon set personal bests in catches and receptions on New Year's Day, this wasn't anything new. The little guy came up big all season long.

He posted a team-leading 49 catches, 829 yards and four touchdown grabs, often soaring above defenders to secure them. He backed down from no blocking assignment, and played even when he found himself in some serious pain - like he did against South Carolina.

"Gallon is an amazing receiver, as you guys have seen the whole year," junior quarterback Devin Gardner pointed out. "You probably don't know, but he was hurting. He was hurting really badly. He fought through it. I'm happy and thankful for Gallon doing what he did for the team, and for the seniors."

He'll keep on fighting, and step into 2013 as the centerpiece of a Michigan receiving corps that will need serious help from younger players. Hoke is working toward getting the Wolverines back to a deep roster of long, soaring wideouts who can go and get it.

But if you let him go and get another Gallon right now, he'd sprint toward the opportunity.


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