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Posted on Tue, Dec 13, 2011 : 1:27 a.m.

Quarterback Denard Robinson named Michigan football team's MVP in a close player vote

By Kyle Meinke

LIVONIA -- Denard Robinson has been described as a selfless leader by teammates and coaches.

That might help explain why the junior quarterback was named the Michigan football team's Bo Schembechler MVP, and why he did not prepare an acceptance speech.

"I thought Dave Molk or Mike Martin would win it," Robinson said.


Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson, above, won his second straight team MVP award on Monday night.

File photo

That tidily sums up the Wolverines' annual football bust, which was held Monday night at Laurel Manor in Livonia. There were a lot of laughs, a few tears and a whole lot of reverence for the departing seniors, who have endured more than most classes do at Michigan.

Robinson won the award via a player vote that coach Brady Hoke said was "probably as close a vote as I've seen." It's the junior's second consecutive team MVP award.

The team's 10-2 season and Sugar Bowl bid -- it'll play Virginia Tech on Jan. 3 (8:30 p.m., ESPN) -- helped generate a festive atmosphere that had lacked for the past three busts, each of which had a lowlight, culminating in Rich Rodriguez's singing of Josh Groban's "You Raise Me Up" at last year's event.

This year, there was no singing, but plenty of celebrating.

That includes honoring Robinson, who finished 133-for-237 passing (56.1 percent) for 2,056 yards, 18 touchdowns and 14 interceptions this year. He also rushed 208 times for 1,163 yards and 16 scores.

MICHIGAN FOOTBALL BUST’s coverage of the 91st annual Michigan Football Bust held Monday night in Livonia:

Denard Robinson named MVP in a close player vote

Seniors deliver humorous speeches, and David Molk’s resonates

Desmond Howard compares failed Rich Rodriguez era to Cherry Coke

Linebacker Marrell Evans not expected to return next year after transfer issues derail season
He finished first in the Big Ten in total offense and third in touchdowns, despite transitioning to offensive coordinator Al Borges' "spread-West Coast" hybrid offense.

Hoke endorsed the MVP vote not because of Robinson's numbers, though, but because of his leadership.

Even in receiving his award, Robinson didn't say much, but did take time to apologize to his teammates for throwing so many interceptions.

The junior has started each of Michigan's 25 games the past two seasons, despite dealing with an assortment of injuries, including a staph infection that landed him in the hospital this year.

He kept it all quiet, refusing even to tell teammates.

"It affected me a lot in games and practices," Robinson said. "But, I kept pushing it because I knew my teammates would do the same for me. I had to be accountable."

The rest of the awards:

Hugh R. Rader Memorial Award (top offensive lineman): Senior center and captain David Molk continues to add to his postseason haul. He already won the Rimington Trophy as the nation's top center, and was named the Big Ten's Offensive Lineman of the Year. Molk, a fifth-year senior, delivered an impassioned speech to close the seniors' series of statements.

"Unless you’ve been a fifth-year senior here, you don’t know (what we've been through)," he said. "You didn’t live it, you didn’t feel it, you didn’t see the pain, you didn’t hear the anguish, you didn’t hear the hate. There was a time we got booed by you guys, and that hurts.

"But the reality is, this is Michigan. We come back, and we never stop. We’re a team that recovers, we’re a team that continues and there’s nothing that can stop Michigan -- absolutely nothing in the world."

Roger Zatkoff Award (top linebacker): Junior Kenny Demens, who led Michigan with 86 tackles and was the only linebacker to start all 12 games.

Robert P. Ufer Bequest (senior with most love for U-M): Seniors Kevin Koger and Ryan Van Bergen. Koger, a tight end, had 21 catches for 235 yards and four touchdowns, all career highs. He was nicknamed "Hypeman 86" because of his vocal leadership, and was thanked by Robinson for helping to keep his head up during tough times.

Van Bergen, a defensive end, exploded onto the scene this year, recording by far his best season. He finished with 41 tackles, including 12 for loss and five sacks. He recovered three fumbles and forced another. He was not a captain, but acted like one for much of the season.

Richard Katcher Award (top defensive lineman): Senior defensive tackle Mike Martin, who won this award three times in a row to conclude his career. The captain had 54 tackles, including 5.5 for a loss and three sacks. His numbers weren't indicative of his play and leadership, though, as he often disrupted opposing offenses despite constant double-teams. He was a consensus second-team all-Big Ten player and is one of the strongest defensive linemen in the country.

Dr. Arthur D. Robinson Scholarship Award (top student): Senior defensive lineman Will Heininger, who is a four-time Academic All-Big Ten Conference choice. A two-time Big Ten Distinguished Scholar who is enrolled in the School of Kinesiology, Heininger is majoring in sport management with a minor in economics. He started all 12 games this year, recording 23 tackles, including four for loss and one sack.

He hails from nearby Pioneer High School.

Kyle Meinke covers Michigan football for He can be reached at 734-623-2588, by email at and followed on Twitter @kmeinke.


beanie wells

Wed, Dec 14, 2011 : 5:41 p.m.

sounds like this year's banquet wasn't near as fun or interesting as last year's... i knew success would spoil you guys.


Tue, Dec 13, 2011 : 6:04 p.m.

And a nice job by @kmeinke on twitter last night keeping us up to date on the remarks and awards.


Tue, Dec 13, 2011 : 4:57 p.m.

Dare I say it D. Rob................ HEISMAN!!! 2012 and 2013!!! Another prediction.... Al Borges will win the Otis Sistrunck look-alike contest!! Is it possible to trade the U-M Alumni Association-organized prize package valued at approximately $4,200 which includes Luggage tags, document wallet and engraved Sugar Bowl name badge for a trip to the Heisman ceremony?? I will be there to represent all of us when D.Rob accepts the award!!! Yes my is now official!!!! MEEEEEEEEEANchigan football has returned from the lowest of low!! Or so i've been told by this "guy that I know!"


Tue, Dec 13, 2011 : 5:01 p.m.

Hey!! I know that guy too! Great predictions Meanie!

Lorain Steelmen

Tue, Dec 13, 2011 : 4:49 p.m.

Denard is obviously a great athlete, but clearly, he is an even better human being! I expect that he will stay the course, during the bowl, and again, next year, as he is so well grounded! He is what we all refer to, as a 'Michigan man'. I am glad DRob responded to RR's parting admonition, that he should 'buy in, 110%' with the new coaches, and their program. He was a rallying force, to all the seniors and underclassman, that built on the last three years, and re-set Michigan, to the program that Bo & Mo envisioned in'69! I hope that Mo, Hanlon, et al, where there last night, to see this great bunch of kids. I'm sure they were very proud, as are all of us. There is more out there, to be won, but with hard work and perseverence, they will accomplish those goals. What is the definition of a tough kid? Those that were there last night saw that. It is NOT just a bunch of thugs, that take 'cheap shots', when they can...but rather of group of kids, that pull together, and achieve goals as a team, the right way. Unlike their counterparts in East Lansing, this group TRUELY are, 'leaders and best'. Now, gentlemen, its' time to focus on VA Tech...there is 'unfinshed business' to be taken care of. Go Blue!


Tue, Dec 13, 2011 : 3:55 p.m.

Denard's smile "lifts me up", and look at those arms- no tattoos!


Tue, Dec 13, 2011 : 2:03 p.m.

The caption on the picture says Desmond Howard!! Hello!!! Am I seriously the only one who caught that!!


Tue, Dec 13, 2011 : 3:44 p.m.

What is a caption? LOL

Blu n Tpa

Tue, Dec 13, 2011 : 3:31 p.m.

It's was the smile.


Tue, Dec 13, 2011 : 2:15 p.m.

Thanks for fixing that! HAHA


Tue, Dec 13, 2011 : 1:52 p.m.

DR is one for the ages. A classy guy and one heck of an athlete.


Tue, Dec 13, 2011 : 2:22 p.m.

And the greatest smile in the entire world of Intercollegiate Sports!

Blu n Tpa

Tue, Dec 13, 2011 : 1:49 p.m.

David Molk, please know one thing. NO ONE EVER booed you or your teammates. Yes, the 5th year seniors have had to endure a lot of crap over the last 5 years. I for one am glad that you got to enjoy the kind of success most Michigan players had taken for granted for so long. Any booing you heard was directed toward the coaching staff of the WCiMFH. You should be aware that the players don't get to control what happens by the higher ups at "Bo Hall". Neither do the fans. We all had to suffer through that period. To all of the past and present players of Michigan football. YOU ARE MICHIGAN! WE ARE MICHIGAN! THIS IS MICHIGAN! GO BLUE!


Tue, Dec 13, 2011 : 1:47 p.m.

Nice the award for DR is well deserved; but don't forget the guys in the trenches who made it possible for DR. The defense has seen such improvement all year that it's practically un-believeable. No quarterback survies without the blocking & center is the key. Individual effort rewarded is fine; but the team improvement, a bunch of kids coming together to play ball, and hang in till the last whistle was blown that's impressive. Coaching guides the players make the plays. Hats off to one of footballs best examples of the Phoenix.

Jerome Blue

Tue, Dec 13, 2011 : 1:27 p.m.

Good God, look at his arms! I wish I had a body like that! Yeah, but then I'd have to work out to get it. Hand me another pop-tart...


Tue, Dec 13, 2011 : 10:14 a.m.

Hard work and perserverance payed off for Denard. He was the difference in several Michigan wins this season. Other times, he got the offense going with his feet. He overcame a lot to get to where he was at by the end of the season. Congrats to Denard. The entire team derserved to celebrate the success of this season. They know their work is not yet complete as they prepare for one more BCS Bowl game. GO BLUE!!!


Tue, Dec 13, 2011 : 6:17 a.m.

Congrats to DR who is demonstrating that you don't have to be perfect to be a leader. You only have to be accountable (sounds like Hoke, huh?), a good teammate, humble, and most of all, lead by example. What a great award for this young man. And well deserved. And to all the others who won well deserved awards.