Since Desmond Howard became the first Michigan player to receive a Legends Patch, there has been much debate surrounding which players deserve the award as well. In an effort to settle some of the debate, we will be breaking down a former Michigan football player that we believe should be analyzed as a nominee for a Legends Patch. This does not mean our writers believe they should be formally nominated in some way, but only that their credentials should be reviewed. If you have an opinion please comment or contact our writers via Twitter.
Nominee: Rick Leach
One of the finest athletes in Michigan history, Leach three times he was named All-Big Ten quarterback and three times placed in the voting for the Heisman Trophy, finishing third as a senior when he was voted Michigan's and the Big Ten's Most Valuable Player. Named Player of the Year by several athletic clubs and television networks, he was co- most valuable player in the 1979 Rose Bowl and Hula Bowl. All Michigan's career passing, total offense and touchdown records were broken by the lefthander as well as the season record for touchdown passes (17). He set an NCAA record for most touchdowns accounted for (82) and broke Big Ten records for total offense (6,460) total plays (1,034) and touchdown passes (48). He won the Big Ten batting championship as a junior and became one of the few athletes in modern times to become All-American in both football and baseball. He was a first round draft selection by the Detroit Tigers of the American League. - Bentley Historical Library
Does Rick Leach Deserve A Legends Patch?
Thomas Beindit - Yes
This one was a hard one for me. I have a soft spot for Rick Leach because of what he did during the 'Ten Year War' and what he did to defend and stick up for Rich Rodriguez when he was head coach at Michigan. However, his stats don't really jump out at you. His senior season in 1978 was pretty good and he broke a ton of offensive records at Michigan. There's no doubt that some of the problem with his stats are due more to the defensive period of football that was the 1970s, but still, it makes you second guess his accomplishments. Despite this, I think the fact that he was named All-Big Ten three times and was a Heisman finalist three times gives him the edge. His stats may not have been that pretty, but in the 1970s, he was a tremendous athlete and did what it took to win games, which is what counts. Plus, beating Woody Hayes in his last three games against Michigan, including two games in Columbus, is pretty good for a Michigan player too.
Kyle Curtiss - No
I've given my opinion on John Navarre, and while Michigan is a great program for quarterbacks, and for those quarterbacks to go onto the NFL, Leach does not fit into the "Legends" category. I'm not looking for pretty good players to receive these patches. They must shine. Leach was a good player at Michigan...I'm not going to dispute that. Records can be made and broken, and games can be made to be legendary, but it is even harder to make a player legendary.
Tyler Fenwick - No
Rick Leach was a very fine athlete for the University of Michigan in his four years. After all, he competed in both football and baseball, and even basketball during his freshman year. Looking from the aspect, he is a worthy candidate because of everything he contributed to the athletic programs at Michigan, but, specifically looking at football, I don't believe Leach put up quite the performance we're looking for in a Legends Patch nominee. Don't get me wrong; he was a good quarterback. But we're looking for elite. Not to mention, I don't see where he might have had a bigger impact off the field. Some candidates can make it in on my watch if they stick with a solid career and have something else to show for it off the football field.
All writers are entitled to their own opinion and those may or may not represent the held beliefs of Hoke's Mad Magicians as an entity. Readers are welcome to comment below or contact the writers via Twitter with their thoughts.