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August 3, 2013Since the final play of the Wolverines' Outback Bowl loss to South Carolina, Michigan coaches, players and fans alike have eagerly awaited the start of the 2013 season - and another chance to win the program's first Big Ten Championship since 2004.
Now, with the calendar turning over to August, the season is just around the corner.
To count down to the season, The Wolverine is naming the best player to ever wear each jersey number, No. 99 to No. 1.
We'll highlight 3-5 jerseys a day, all the way to the morning of Aug. 31, the day the Wolverines finally kick off the season at The Big House against Central Michigan.
Sam Sword, linebacker (1995-98)
Sword first cracked the starting lineup as a redshirt freshman in 1995, starting the last four games of the season. Against Penn State, Sword racked up 11 tackles, a tackle for loss and a fumble recovery - showing Michigan fans a glimpse of what was to come in the next three years.
From 1996-98, Sword started 34 of 35 games - finishing with an impressive 39 career starts - and compiling 377 total career tackles, which still ranks eighth in program history.
Sword tallied more than 100 tackles in a season twice, finishing with 108 in 1996 and a 127 in 1998. Surrounding by one of the best Michigan defenses of the modern era in 1997, Sword registered 91 tackles, 12 tackles for loss, two sacks, two pass breakups and a fumble recovery,
He was a first-team All-Big Ten selection in 1997 - but the bigger prize was the national championship rings he and his fellow Wolverines claimed after topping Washington State in the Rose Bowl and maintaining their perfect 12-0 recover.
Fred Grambau, defensive tackle (1969-72)
As a sophomore, who hadn't played a down the previous season, in 1969, Grambau shined, tallying 43 tackles, two tackles for loss, a pass breakup, a fumble recovery and a forced fumble in 10 appearances.
The promising start to his career was derailed in 1970, when he was forced to miss the season because of a knee in injury. But he got back into the fold in 1971, compiling 110 tackles over the next two years.
Grambau played in two Rose Bowls, and after the 1972 season, during which he tallied a career-high 66 tackles, he was selected as a first-team All-Big Ten performer.
Grambau went on to play for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats of the CFL for two seasons, earning All-CFL honors in 1974. Unfortunately, lingering knee problems forced an early retirement.
Phil Seymour, defensive end (1967-70)
Early in his career, Seymour played both ways, starting as a defensive end and playing backup tight end behind all-star Jim Mandich.
He shined on the defensive side of the ball, where he was a first-team All-Big Ten selection in 1968 and 1970 - missing a big chunk of the 1969 season due to injury.
Seymour tallied 150 total tackles, including a career-high 92 in 1968. He also compiled seven career pass breakups, three fumble recoveries and a forced fumble.