Best Father-Son Duos Since 1980

Tag: Troy Woolfolk

19Jun 2022
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Best Father-Son Duos Since 1980

Chris Hutchinson (left) and Aidan Hutchinson (center) make up the best father-son duo at Michigan in the past 40 years

Happy Father’s Day to all you Michigan fan dads out there!

I’m no Michigan football historian. If you asked me what the team’s record was back in 1929 or who the starting running back was in 1954, I would stare at you blankly and then walk away. They barely kept stats back then, so did it really happen if there were no TFLs?

I’m here to say it didn’t.

But I can make an argument for the best father-son duos to play for Michigan football since the beginning of the 1980s. If you disagree, you’re wrong. But it’s your prerogative to argue in the comments, anyway.

1. Chris Hutchinson (1989-1992) and Aidan Hutchinson (2018-2021)
Chris wore #97 and was an All-American at defensive tackle in 1992. He was a three-year starter and a captain who set the school record with 11 sacks in 1992, and he had 24 sacks for his career. Aidan also donned #97 and started for three seasons at defensive end, topping his dad with 14 sacks in 2021. He finished his career with 16.5 career sacks and was the #2 overall draft pick by the Detroit Lions in 2022.

Hit the jump for more.

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13Jul 2019
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The All-Rodriguez Team: Defense and Special Teams

Brandon Graham

This is the second installment of the All-Rodriguez Team (offense here), the brightest and best of the players coached by Rich Rodriguez and his bumbling henchmen defensive colleagues.

And I’m choosing players for a 4-3, not that moronic 3-3-5* they tried to shoehorn in there.

DE: Brandon Graham (2009)
64 tackles, 26 tackles for loss, 10.5 sacks, 2 forced fumbles, 1 fumble recovery
Graham was the single most dominant defensive player during Rodriguez’s tenure.  He put up ridiculous numbers for a bad defense, even though he was double-teamed frequently.  And the best thing about Graham was the way his motor improved throughout his career.  He ate his way into playing defensive tackle as a freshman, but by his senior year in 2009, he never stopped going 100%.  That year turned him into a first round pick by the Philadelphia Eagles.

DT: Mike Martin (2009)
51 tackles, 8.5 tackles for loss, 2 sacks, 1 forced fumble
Martin seemed like a better player at the beginning of 2010 than in his sophomore year, but a couple sprained ankles slowed him down as a junior.  Even as a crippled junior, though, he would have deserved to be on this team.  Undersized for a nose tackle at 299 lbs., he still defeated double-teams on the regular.

DT: Ryan Van Bergen (2009)
38 tackles, 6.5 tackles for loss, 5 sacks, 1 fumble recovery, 1 touchdown
Van Bergen’s production in 2010 was virtually the same as 2009, but technically, all thirteen games he started in 2010 were at the defensive end position.  I need a tackle, and he’s my man.  He’s another high-motor guy who played well at DT despite having the body of a strongside end.  I was tempted to choose Terrance Taylor here based on overall talent, but Taylor really didn’t produce much in his only season under Rodriguez (2008: 35 tackles, 1.5 sacks).

DE: Tim Jamison (2008)
50 tackles, 10.5 tackles for loss, 5.5 sacks, 2 forced fumbles
Jamison didn’t really stand out in 2008, but I think Michigan fans were shell-shocked by how bad the team was overall.  And while Jamison wasn’t a huge difference maker, he would have fit in just as well on a good defense, too.

LB: Steve Brown (2009)
80 tackles, 8 tackles for loss, 1 sack, 3 pass breakups, 1 forced fumble
I don’t know if Brown was miscast as a safety or if he was just coached poorly in his first three years, but he took a quantum leap as a senior when he was moved to the SAM linebacker position.  Brown never came off the field, playing linebacker on first and second downs and then becoming the nickel back on third downs.  Brown’s position change was perhaps the best personnel move of Rodriguez’s tenure, and Brown parlayed it into being a late draft pick by the Oakland Raiders.

LB: Kenny Demens (2010)
82 tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss, 1 pass breakup
I will be the first to admit that I was not enamored with Demens during his first couple years, but he made me a believer in the second half of the season.  He only started seven games after backing up Obi Ezeh for the first half of the year, but he still ended up third on the team in tackles.  I still think Demens makes some poor decisions due to being overaggressive in attacking the line of scrimmage, but that’s probably better than whatever Ezeh did from 2008-10.

LB: Jonas Mouton (2010)
117 tackles, 8.5 tackles for loss, 2 sacks, 2 pass breakups, 1 forced fumble, 2 fumble recoveries
Based on statistics alone, Mouton was borderline First Team All-Big Ten.  He averaged 9.8 tackles a game (which was .9 more than teammate Jordan Kovacs and 1.1 more than the next best Big Ten player, Indiana’s Tyler Replogle) and led the conference in tackles, despite playing in only twelve of Michigan’s thirteen contests.  But players on bad defenses don’t get much respect, especially when they make some inexplicably bad plays (see the long TD run by Illinois’s Jason Ford).  With a solid supporting cast, I think Mouton’s play would have stood out more.

CB: Donovan Warren (2009)
66 tackles, 4 interceptions, 7 pass breakups, 1 touchdown
Warren thought his junior season would propel him to NFL stardom, but just like Ernest Shazor, he left early and didn’t even get drafted.  Four interceptions isn’t too shabby, and it helps that one (vs. Iowa) went for a touchdown and another (vs. Indiana) was a fantastic diving interception that preserved a victory for the Wolverines.

CB: Morgan Trent (2008)
41 tackles, 3 interceptions, 2.5 tackles for loss, 2 pass breakups
Michigan fans will hate me for this, but Trent beats out James Rogers.  This just shows how poor Michigan’s defense was over the past three years, because everybody’s whipping boy was the second-best cornerback.  The thing that bugged me about criticism of Trent was that he took a lot of heat on message boards for playing 10 yards off the line of scrimmage, but that was clearly a coaching decision.  I think Michigan fans realized this by 2010, and if Trent had played for Michigan a year or two later, he might not have drawn as much ire.  Trent wasn’t the most agile corner, but he did have good speed and was a better tackler than many gave him credit for.  All that being said, I would actually like to put Troy Woolfolk here, but I need a free safety.

FS: Troy Woolfolk (2009)
46 tackles, 1 pass breakup
Woolfolk could fit on this team at cornerback or safety, but Michigan’s horrible defense was horribler once Woolfolk moved to corner for the second half of the year.  The Wolverines gave up 23 points per game with him at safety, an average that ballooned to 37 points per game (not counting FCS soup can Delaware State) once he switched to cornerback.  His statistics aren’t great, but stats don’t tell the whole story.  He was a consistent presence, a solid tackler, and had the speed to prevent some big plays.

SS: Jordan Kovacs (2010)
116 tackles, 2 interceptions, 8.5 tackles for loss, 1 sack, 1 pass breakup, 1 forced fumble, 1 fumble recovery
For two years, I’ve been hoping that someone more athletic would take Kovacs’s job.  But I’ve got to give credit where credit is due – Kovacs has been the best guy so far.  He rarely gets out of position, and I didn’t see a more dependable open field tackler on the team.  His 116 tackles (second only to Jonas Mouton in the Big Ten) speak for themselves, but he fills up the stat sheet in other ways, too.  You can’t help but love the guy.

P: Will Hagerup (2010)
33 punts, 1440 yards, 43.6 yards per punt, 11 punts inside the twenty
This was the most difficult choice of the entire All-Rodriguez team, a head-to-head matchup between Hagerup and Zoltan Mesko 2009.  Mesko averaged 44.5 yards per punt in 2009, but fully one-third of Hagerup’s punts were downed inside the twenty yard line (only 28% of Mesko’s were downed inside the twenty).  If you have a good offense (which this squad does), then you want a guy who can pin the opposing team deep.  It doesn’t matter if you can boom a punt when your offense moves the ball down the field before having to give it up.  But if you do need a long punt, Hagerup has a 72-yarder to his credit.  Both players would be good choices, though.

K: Jason Olesnavage (2009)
11-for-15 on field goals (73.3%), 42-for-43 on extra points (97.7%)
Special teams weren’t a strength under Rodriguez, but Olesnavage was pretty solid.  Along with being nearly perfect on extra points, he was 9-for-10 on field goals longer than 30 yards (only 2-for-5 from 29 yards in).

PR: Martavious Odoms (2008)
10 returns, 126 yards, 12.6 yards per return, 1 touchdown
Do I have to choose?  Seriously, this is painful.  Punt returns have been atrocious since 2008.  Odoms is really the only choice, even though he seemed to muff a punt every other game.  That’s not an exaggeration, either.  I wish it was.  I can either choose Odoms (who did have an exciting 73-yard touchdown against Purdue), or a handful of guys who averaged somewhere around two or four yards a return (Donovan Warren, Greg Mathews, Jeremy Gallon).  I would like to choose Drew Dileo, who looks like the best returner for the near future, but he only had 2 returns for 13 yards in 2010.

KR: Darryl Stonum (2009)
39 returns, 1001 yards, 25.7 yards per return, 1 touchdown
Partially due to the defense giving up a ton of points, Stonum had the most kickoff return yards in any season in Michigan history.  He beat Steve Breaston (2004: 28 returns for 689 yards) by 312 yards.  His 94-yard touchdown return against Notre Dame was one of the most exciting plays of the year.

*For clarification purposes, the 3-3-5 itself is not a moronic concept.  It can work, just not when your personnel is more suited for a 4-man front and your defensive coordinator is clueless about how to run it.

This content was originally posted on April 4, 2011.

7Aug 2012
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Troy Woolfolk Answers Your Questions

Troy with his dad, former Michigan running back Butch.  (Image via

Former defensive back, Troy Woolfolk, answered quickly and emphatically when I asked him if his Michigan career went according to expectation.
“Not at all,” Troy said.  “I would say it was nothing like I thought it was going to be.”
In retrospect, his answer should have been obvious.  During his time at Michigan, Troy experienced a career-altering injury and frequent position changes while acclimating himself to three different head coaches and four separate defensive coordinators.  Of course, Troy made significant contributions both in the locker room and on the field, despite all of the unpredictability and adversity.  He finished his Michigan career with 91 tackles, five pass breakups, and 45 game appearances, including 23 as a starter.  He was recently kind enough to take some time out of his evening to reflect on his career, talk about his future, and answer many reader questions.

Being the son of Butch:  “It put a lot of pressure on me.  Everybody knows he was extremely good, and they would think that his son would go and do the same thing.  But it was also good because he was able to give advice because he had been down the same road.  And he got hurt as well, so he walked me through that and helped me keep a level head.”

Coming to Michigan:  “I really didn’t have an interest in coming to Michigan initially.  I thought I was going to stay in Texas with all the variety of schools there, or possibly Nebraska.  But right around the time I was thinking about signing, Michigan had a camp.  And he [Butch Woolfolk] was like, ‘Just go check it out and see how you like it.’  And when I went to the camp, that’s when I fell in love with the atmosphere in Ann Arbor and the coaches.  And at the end of the camp, Lloyd Carr offered me on the spot, and it was kind of a spontaneous decision, so I just went with it.  It’s kind of funny because a week before that, I wasn’t even considering Michigan and then a week later I became a Wolverine.”

Switching between corner and safety:  “It helped me with the knowledge part of the game. . . . But I think it also hurt me because I never got the chance to craft the art of playing either of those two positions.  So like I was never really comfortable in my corner stance nor comfortable being back there at safety.  I even played some nickel, so I never really got comfortable because I was always switching. . . . I preferred corner because it was much easier.  With corner you’re just worried about one guy whereas with safety, you have to scan the whole field, see if it’s run or pass, call calls.  So I’d say corner, even though it’s one of the most physically demanding positions.  I’d rather do that than think; I just want to play football.”

Constant coaching changes:  “It’s the same thing as with the positions:  it was hard to ever get comfortable with the coaches. . . . [As a player] you have to allow yourself to be coached, and it’s hard to do that with someone you’re not comfortable with and not trusting – which is why I think when Rich Rod was here we had a lot of trust issues and a lot of individuals on the field who didn’t want to listen to the coach and didn’t think he knew what he was talking about. . . . When Coach Hoke got here, he got a sense of trust already installed in us because he was already a coach at Michigan, and he was more able to connect with the players. . . . The main difference between the coaching staffs is that Coach Hoke stresses physicality.  We would do drills that had nothing to do with football, but just to see the toughness in the player.  We’d do this one drill where there was just this towel on a mat.  And at the beginning there’re two people holding it, and one person had to eventually take it from the other person.  It gets really rough down there; people get bloody noses and stuff.  It teaches you into becoming a man and how to hold yours. . . . [If Coach Hoke came to Michigan in 2008], we probably would have won a National Championship in 2011.”

The injury:  “I feel like I either didn’t properly rehab it or came back too early because throughout the whole [2011] season, it was giving me problems.  I just knew it wasn’t how it used to be, and it’s just really unfortunate because I was in the best shape of my life before that happened. . . . In the Dallas [Cowboys] camp, we did two-a-days, and on the first practice everything was good, but on the second practice it got fatigued and sore, and the more I practice on it, the stiffer it gets.”

The future:  “Right now Plan A is to use my Michigan degree to get a job. I’m still working out and keeping football on the back burner so that if my ankle ever does get right again then maybe, but right now that’s the B Plan.”

2012 breakout Michigan player:  “Jake Ryan.  He’s extremely athletic.  He’s fast for his size, too.”

Most impressive Michigan teammate:  “Mario Manningham.  To watch that boy play was crazy.  He’s always finding some way to get open.  To see someone that quick and that fast and that athletic is just a crazy thing.  I’d say he’s the best athlete I’ve seen since I’ve been at Michigan.”

Most difficult player to tackle:  “The only one I can really think about is the Iowa running back this year (Marcus Coker).  You needed to get some help to bring that boy down.”

18Jul 2012
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Ask a Question: Troy Woolfolk

Texas native and former secondary starter Troy Woolfolk has volunteered his time for an interview. If you have any topics or questions that you would like addressed, post them in the comments section, and I’ll try to get to them.