Monday, July 17, 2006

Dynamic Duos

U of M has had a string of standout receivers since the Bo era including Anthony Carter, Greg McMurtry, Desmond Howard, Derrick Alexander, Amani Toomer, David Terrell, Marquise Walker, Braylon Edwards and Jason Avant. Many, if not all, of these great receivers had to contend with double-coverages and defenses designed to stop them because defensive coordinators knew the ball was going to be thrown to them. Nevertheless, these receivers put up great numbers. However, receivers really get to shine when they have an equally talented partner-in-crime on the other wing so that defenses do not know who to key on. Here is my list of some of the best receiving duos in recent Michigan football history:

#3 Duo: 1998- Tai Streets and Marcus Knight

Tai Streets (67 rec., 1,035 yds., 11 tds.) and Marcus Knight (42 rec., 603 yds., 1 td.) wreaked havoc on opposing defenses in the post-National Champional season. Streets was the scoring threat while Knight kept the defenses honest as he was a great possession receiver. Defenses could not afford to focus too much on Streets as quarterback Tom Brady would repeatedly find Knight for first downs. The dynamic duo of Streets/Knight were by far Brady's favorite targets as they caught more than 50% of the passes he completed (214) on the season. Brady's season completion amount still stands as the fifth-best season total ever posted by a Wolverine quarterback. As Brady's main targets, the Streets/Knight duo was instrumental in leading the Wolverines to a 10-3 record in 1998.

#2 Duo: 2000- David Terrell and Marquise Walker

David Terrell (67 rec., 1,130 yds., 14 tds.) and Marquise Walker (49 rec., 699 yds., 4 tds.) were quarterback Drew Henson's main targets in 2000 when the Wolverines finished 9-3. Terrell was a member of the #1 jersey club and he wore the distinction well. He earned All-American honors in 2000 for his outstanding senior season. Terrell actually had more receptions (71) in his junior season but his overall statistics drastically improved with the emergence of Walker in 2000. In his senior year, Terrell doubled the number of touchdowns he scored (going from 7 the previous year to 14 in 2000) and he improved his yard per catch avg. from 14.6 to 16.9. These increases are directly attributable to the assistance Terrell was getting in 2000 on the other wing from Walker whearas in 1999 teams were able to game-plan just for Terrell. This dynamic duo also helped QB Drew Henson post what is still the fifth-highest season total for Highest Quarterback Efficiency Rating (159.4).

#1 Duo: 2003- Braylon Edwards and Jason Avant

Braylon Edwards (85 rec., 1,138 yds., 14 tds.) and Jason Avant (47 rec., 772 yds., 4 tds.) helped make quarterback John Navarre's senior year a memorable one. Navarre set U of M single-season passing records for most passes attempted, most passes completed and most passing yards. U of M finished the regular season 10-2 and were the Big 10 Champions and played in the Rose Bowl versus eventual National Champion USC. The ultimate dynamic duo of Edwards/Avant was the catalyst of the Michigan offense that was so successful that season. Go Blue!

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