What if these players had finished out their Michigan careers?
#10 – Justin Fargas: What if Fargas had not transferred to USC after his third year at Michigan? His best game at Michigan came in his freshmen season in the mud at Northwestern. In that game Fargas toted the rock 31 times for 126 yards to lead Michigan to 12-6 victory. Fargas suffered a broken leg later that season. Fargas was moved to safety during the 2000 season and then transferred. He played one season at USC rushing for 715 yards and 7 TDs.
Fargas was selected in the third round of the 2003 NFL Draft by the Oakland Raiders and is still with them.
#9 – Will Peterson: What if he had not been dismissed from the team? He played two seasons at cornerback for Michigan (1997-98). He intercepted 4 passes and returned one for a touchdown in 1998. He was kicked off the team with three games left in the 1998 season. Peterson was charged with larceny and possession of marijuana. In addition to that he apparently had some issues with some of the coaches. “I feel what happened at Michigan is in the past,” Peterson said. “I can’t even see that kind of behavior in me. I wonder how I ever got into those situations in the first place.”
Peterson transferred to Western Illinois where he was a star player and was eventually drafted in the third round of the 2001 NFL Draft by the New York Giants.
#8 – Jon Vaughn: What if the speedy halfback had not declared for the NFL Draft after his redshirt sophomore season? He opened the 1990 season with a bang going for 201 yards at Notre Dame and following that up with 288 yards and 3 TDs against UCLA. The 288 yard game is the 3rd best rushing game in school history. Vaughn finished the 1990 season with 1,364 yards and 9 TDs with a 6.3 yards per carry average. He was the Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year. What if Vaughn had played two more years instead of going pro?
Vaughn was selected in the 5th round of the 1991 NFL Draft by the New England Patriots and he played in the league for 5 years.
#7 – Kelly Baraka: What if the 5 star speedster had ever made it on the football field? He possessed tremendous speed and balance as a runner. He was a State of Michigan 200 meter champion as a sophomore. He once beat Charles Rogers in a 100 meter with a time of 10.3 seconds. Sadly, Baraka ran afoul of the law and never suited up for Michigan.
#6 – Trevor Pryce: What if he had not transferred to Clemson? Pryce played two seasons at Michigan and showed flashes of dominance. He finished his collegiate career at Clemson and was a star there. He was a first round draft pick in the 1997 NFL Draft. Had Pryce stayed at Michigan he had the chance to become one of the best defensive linemen in school history.
#5 – Drew Henson: What if the Yankees had not lured Henson away from Michigan prior to his senior season? He was poised to be the starter on a very good team that could have contended for a National Championship. Instead he left to play minor league ball for the Yankees and his baseball career ultimately fizzled. Michigan was forced to start a not quite ready John Navarre. He did an admirable job and guided Michigan to an 8-4 record but I can’t help but wonder what if Henson had played that season?
#4 – David Bowens: What if he had not struggled academically. Bowens said his struggles were due to poor time management and the emotional turmoil that followed the shooting of a close friend. Ultimately Bowens was forced to transfer to Division 1AA Western Illinois. Bowens recorded 12 sacks in 1996 for Michigan and that ties him for the top spot on the All Time list. Had he been able to finish his career at Michigan he likely would have been one of the finest defensive linemen to ever don the winged helmet.
#3 – Matt Gutierrez: He was slated to be the starting QB in 2004 until a shoulder injury sidelined him. True Freshmen Chad Henne stepped in and led Michigan to a Big Ten championship and became a four year starter. What if he had not suffered the shoulder injury? Gutierrez was highly regarded by his teammates. He possessed all the intangibles that you could want in a QB but due to the circumstances he never had his chance at Michigan.
#2 – Jason Forcier: What if Tate’s big brother had not transferred to Stanford in 2007? The dual threat QB would have been a senior in 2008 and the ideal candidate to run Rich Rodriguez’s spread option offense last year. I can’t help but wonder how different the season would have turned out with a senior QB that was a perfect fit for this offense. I don’t think 3-9 would have happened.
#1 – Antonio Bass: What if the class of 2005 recruit had not suffered a devastating and career ending knee injury in the spring of 2006? He was a highly regarded dual threat quarterback in high school (Jackson, Michigan) and moved to wide receiver at Michigan. If healthy would he had a shot at playing QB for Michigan last year? Either way had he stayed at receiver or if Rodriguez would have moved him back to QB, Bass had superstar potential.
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