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Posted on Thu, Feb 16, 2012 : 11:05 a.m.

Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson is third-best Heisman Trophy candidate, according to noted oddsmaker

By Kyle Meinke

It took Denard Robinson just two starts to propel himself into Heisman Trophy consideration.

Now heading into his third season as a starter, Robinson has yet to become a Heisman finalist — although one noted oddsmaker gives him a good shot at getting to New York as a senior.

Danny Sheridan, one of the country's preeminent handicappers, is giving the Michigan football team's star quarterback 7-to-1 odds to win the Heisman Trophy next year. That's the third-best odds in the country, trailing USC quarterback Matt Barkley and Wisconsin tailback Montee Ball.

Robinson is tied at 7-to-1 with Oklahoma quarterback Landry Jones.


Denard Robinson has rushed for 35 touchdowns and thrown 40 touchdown passes in 38 games at Michigan.

Melanie Maxwell |

Robinson announced earlier this off-season he would return to the Wolverines after having his pro stock evaluated by the NFL Draft advisory board. He's entering his third year as a starter, although this will be the first time he's returned to start in the same offensive scheme.

He operated the spread-option offense of Rich Rodriguez his sophomore year, and opened the season by torching Connecticut and Notre Dame to jump into early Heisman talks. He eventually set an NCAA single-season record for rushing yards by a quarterback.

Last season, Robinson ran a hybrid offense that blended components of the spread with the West Coast offense preferred by his new offensive coordinator, Al Borges. His numbers were down, but the offense actually had a slight uptick in scoring (33.3 points per game, up from 32.8).

Borges has said he expects Robinson to make a leap next year, especially in the passing game, as he becomes more accustomed to the new offense. However, Borges also has said he plans to continue to diversify the offense, which could make the unit better but also will impact Robinson's numbers and his viability as a Heisman candidate.

Robinson's Heisman campaign will be put to an early test, as the Wolverines open the season by playing defending national champion Alabama in Dallas. The Crimson Tide finished No. 1 last season in scoring and overall defense.

Alabama will be replacing most of its secondary, however, after cornerbacks Dre Kirkpatrick and DeQuan Menzie and All-America safety Mark Barron each left.

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



Tue, Feb 21, 2012 : 11:03 p.m.

For reasons that are more than obvious, Denard Robinson has ZERO chance of winning the Heisman in 2012. I'll take 7-1 all day from anybody who thinks that it can happen. Nice kid. Great attitude. Mediocre talent who dominates against teams like Minnesota and disappears against far more talented teams like MSU.


Sun, Feb 19, 2012 : 4:13 p.m.

Dear anti- Denard posters: Explain to me how the 1200 yards and 16 TDs Denard ran for are less valuable than the 2200 yards and 20 TD's he contributed by throwing? As I see it that's 36 TDs and 3400 yards vs 15 interceptions. Anti-Denads-You say Denard doesn't run time of the clock with a traditional running game. In addition to his 1200 yards (which take as much time of the clock as any running play) Touissant ran for over 1000 yards himself. Michigan was 30th in the country out of 200 teams in time of possession. Go Denard. You are the best.


Fri, Feb 17, 2012 : 6:50 p.m.

I think we will see a much improved Denard next season as far as passing goes. He will have a better understanding of the system, and Borges will have a better understanding of Denard. He wont ever be a great passer, but if he can become effective enough to make the passes when the defense gets greedy then he will be very difficult to defend. UM will also need a WR or two to step up. I think Roundtree will bounce back this year, and hopefully Gallon can have another solid year. There's also the possibility of someone new stepping up and making some noise as well. The future looks bright, and next season provides a tough schedule to really gauge how far UM has come. Im pretty excited for it, because I think Denard and UM will be ready. Go blue


Fri, Feb 17, 2012 : 5:45 a.m.

First off, you TRuBlu fans need to thank the hated RR 4 recruiting Denard. If he did not come to Mich, who would have been QB last season? Secondly, IfMich should upset Alabama, who lost alot of good players to graduation or lost elgibility, then there is no reason why Mich should not run the table with their conference schedule. This is the weakest the Big Ten has been in years and Mich should be the cream that rises to the top. But with every football season there will be alot of "buts..."


Fri, Feb 17, 2012 : 6:43 p.m.

I couldnt stand RR, but the silver lining has definitely been Drob. Ill give credit where credit due there. I'm glad UM is bringing in a pro style guy (Morris) next year, as I think that is the best way to play football. But I'm a big fan of Denard, and its been definitely been a wild ride with him at QB. I hope he ends his career on a high note, and then UM gets back to playing smash mouth football.

Terry Star21

Thu, Feb 16, 2012 : 9:28 p.m.

With the improvement DRob has made and our great coaching the sky is the limit for next year. Denard has been there, done that and when he beats up on bama in September, it should put him at the top of the Heisman - but it won't matter, DRob is about the team, the team, the team. I continue to read with much humor the outsiders comments on this site. It wasn't enough that berating comment after comment, week after week last season, they ate their words over and over. Their back again, stupid and hungry to see how bad they can really look. Keep it up, we love a good laugh. MgoBlueForTiM....bashing bama begins the DRob Heisman realization.


Thu, Feb 16, 2012 : 9:24 p.m.

As the next season approaches, someone will have to come up with another Denard Robinson song, this one based on the Carly Simon song: Anticipation! Have some faith: Brady Hoke has exceeded expectations from the start. It's proper to focus on DRob and the Wolverines offense but - remember 1997 - that too was a very tough schedule and it was conquered: BY THE DEFENSE. The Heisman that year went to defense player Charles Woodson. I'd love to see Denard get one too but in the end who cares: so long as someone on the Michigan team gets one. Most of all: we want a B1G championship and a BCS championship. For now: I'll stick with the idea that Hoke and his coordinators are top flight and consistently produce results "above expectations." Actually, last year, they produced beyond all expectations.


Thu, Feb 16, 2012 : 9:34 p.m.

Nailed it, Tru2Blu76. If we time-travelled back a year and revealed to the Michigan fanbase that Michigan would finish the year 11-2 with a win over Ohio and a BCS win over VaTech in the Sugar Bowl, would most of us believe it? Have faith that our coaching staff and team will deliver in 2012 and bide your time until then by soaking up some replays of what was an amazing turnaround season for Michigan. The future is looking bright! Go Blue!


Thu, Feb 16, 2012 : 9:23 p.m.

Shoelace should switch sides of the field and become the next Honeybadger

Lorain Steelmen

Thu, Feb 16, 2012 : 9:04 p.m.

As usual, the 'silly season' is beginning, with all this Heisman talk. It only brings the critics out from under their respective rocks, with all that ridiculous smack talk. But, DRob is a tremendous kid, with incredible athletic ability. If he stays healthy, I expect he'll mature as a passer, and his abilty to 'see the field', WILL imporve. Let's it. if the game 'slows down' for him, like I think it will, he'll be in NYC, in December. A lot will depend on his new center, and right tackle, and UM's receivers. Hoke will need to find a new Molk, Huyge, and Hemingway. But if these new kids, step forward, UM, and Drob, will be collecting a LOT of hardware next year.


Thu, Feb 16, 2012 : 10:32 p.m.

This is the silly season for fans, too. So many of these posters think they know what is going to happen, a lot of it negative. One thing, always expect the unexpected. There will be a reciever stepping up. The new Center will do just fine. Molk is be missed but I don't forsee disaster. This team will have a few more pleasant surprises for us in 2012.


Thu, Feb 16, 2012 : 8:01 p.m.

If DRob can figure out how to throw accurately and consistently beyond 10 yards, he's got a great shot to win the Heisman and lead the team to another great season. Subtract a couple or three ints off last year and we'd have been playing in a very different game in January. I don't believe he'd have had a shot for the Heisman under the former coach, as he'd have been playing half-crippled through the end of every season.


Sat, Feb 18, 2012 : 9:12 a.m.

He threw the interception that was returned for a TD at the MSU game. It is scary if the QB does that.

Wally the Wolverine

Thu, Feb 16, 2012 : 9:51 p.m.

I hear ya, Born, but there is always the double edge sword when we play the "if" game - subtract a couple of miracle catches and...


Thu, Feb 16, 2012 : 8 p.m.

The next two years under Denard and Devin will be the best. Then we go back to Lloyd Carr football. I'll have to drink a pot of coffee just to stay awake.


Thu, Feb 16, 2012 : 8:16 p.m.

I was all right with it, winning Big Ten Championships and going to Rose Bowls consistently. I think Borges will make it exciting if Morris lives up to his potential. And boring football is all right, just ask the fine folks down in Tuscaloosa, Alabama what they think about it. I would happily bore the country to death with a similar brand of football while watching Michigan lug away a crystal football every other year.


Thu, Feb 16, 2012 : 6:56 p.m.

zeeba and Wally - very honest and accurate assessments! Denard has a fairly strong arm and can zip the ball in when he wants to, but accuracy and decision making are not his strong points. He cannot get away with throwing jump balls to Hemingway in double or triple coverage when he gets in trouble any more. His lack of adequate height also allows a lot of balls to be batted down before ever getting past the line. I would personally love to see more of Devin Gardner at QB with Denard used in other roles since he is still dangerous with the ball in his hands. Either way, the Alabama game should be very interesting to start the season. Go Blue!


Thu, Feb 16, 2012 : 7:59 p.m.

Oh those batted down balls. We need a big tall guy like John Nevarre- we won't have those batted down balls.

Wally the Wolverine

Thu, Feb 16, 2012 : 6:20 p.m.

"Dumbing down" the passing routes (short, quick) will continue to be the modus operandi if DR is to avoid a lot of interceptions. He had a great receiver to bail him out of likely picks last year. I'm afraid we're going to need more of the same to duplicate our record this year.


Sat, Feb 18, 2012 : 9:09 a.m.

Denard had a good Nebraska and Ohio State game, both passing and running. The other games, his interceptions were scary, he had one average in every game last season and will cost the team big if he cannot stop those interceptions. If he plays like he did against Nebraska and Ohio State, then he will be a Heisman candidate in November.

Terry Star21

Fri, Feb 17, 2012 : 3:33 a.m.

Rude Jude...have not heard from Theo - but then 11-2, Sugar Bowl win, offensive/defense coaching honors would chase away a lot of naysayers. But Theo was my friend, we were the best of buddies.


Thu, Feb 16, 2012 : 9:49 p.m.

You're right on the money, Terry. Imagine what an offseason with Borges will do with him! Terry, have you heard from Theo lately? I know he rooted for the "previous administration," but I sure miss that guys rhymes.

Terry Star21

Thu, Feb 16, 2012 : 9:34 p.m. won't matter, if you watched the Sugar Bowl victory - DRobb could hit a fly from 60 yards. He would make Helen Keller look All-Pro !


Thu, Feb 16, 2012 : 7:57 p.m.

Your right. Michigan won 11 games in spite of Denard not because of Denard. he's terrible.


Thu, Feb 16, 2012 : 6:28 p.m.

Shaking my head thinking about Stonum. Which receiver is going to step up?


Thu, Feb 16, 2012 : 6:20 p.m.

Didn't we see this story last year? And the year before? Let's face it, Denard's a highly skilled athlete, but he's not a pro-style quarterback. His chances of winning a Heisman went out the door with RR and his spread offense. Yeah, he's fast and elusive, but he can't pass to save his life - he puts up more crippled ducks than Cabela's. U-M faces a much tougher schedule this year and teams have learned that the way to stop Michigan is to bottle up Denard and make him try to beat you through the air. College QBs rarely show big improvements as a passer between their second and third years as a starter, so I think you'll see more of the same next year - occasional flashes of brilliance, but an inconsistent passing attack overall.


Fri, Feb 17, 2012 : 6:28 p.m.

"College QBs rarely show big improvements as a passer between their second and third years as a starter" Says who? I'd like to see those numbers. It actually goes against all logic to think that as a player wont improve as they continue through their career. Heres some real statistics. Cade McNown- year 1 under Borges- 176 of 336 (52.4 percent). 12TD, 16INT 115.2 Rating. McNown year 2 under Borges- 189-of-312 (60.6 percent) 24TD, 6INT, 166.0 passer rating. And he is not the only player to blow up for a big year in his 2nd under Borges.


Fri, Feb 17, 2012 : 11:31 a.m.

zeeba, Did you just make up the statement that college QBs rarely show big improvement as passers between 2nd and 3rd years starting? Or can you cite examples? It's an interesting assertion. Especially if it's true.


Thu, Feb 16, 2012 : 7:56 p.m.

and of course the top rated dual threat QB in the nation- Devin Gardner should just quite. this high school junior is better than Gardner despite Gardners size, athleticism and 3 years experience in the program. Bellomy should just quite- he's even less of a Michigan man than Denard and Gardner.


Thu, Feb 16, 2012 : 6:28 p.m.

And if he works wonders with Denard, imagine what he'll do with Shane Morris!


Thu, Feb 16, 2012 : 6:27 p.m.

Well, we'll truly see how skilled Al Borges is at developing quarbacks, won't we? Denard doesn't have to be a great QB, mind you, just DECENT. Decent enough that defense cannot depend on single coverage. If Al can raise Robinson's game high enough to force defenses to send another guy or two back to defend the pass, we'll see that glorious Denard Robinson run game we've all missed. If he does that, then maybe Denard lives up to the hype, otherwise, expect a 7-5/8-4 type season.

Buster W.

Thu, Feb 16, 2012 : 5:49 p.m.

I would be VERY surprised if he's even a Top 5 candidate come December.


Thu, Feb 16, 2012 : 5:44 p.m.

The odds are probably better than 7-1 he doesn't finish the Alabama game.


Fri, Feb 17, 2012 : 6:17 p.m.

Haha I remember OSU fans saying the same thing about the OSU game.. How'd that go again? Oh yea, Denard lit the buckeyes running and passing. Tell me rightmind.. How did it feel to watch Denard have his way with your buckeyes? Your bitterness comforts me.

Terry Star21

Thu, Feb 16, 2012 : 9:30 p.m.

This is funny stuff, who in their right mind would say such trash - I'm busting with laughter !

Matt Patercsak

Thu, Feb 16, 2012 : 8:09 p.m.

I love Michigan, and I've always been a bama fan too. I think denard will get intercepted about 4 times. out defense will do fine, but denard robinson and fitz will not find any room. thomas rawls and devin gardner would be better starters for this game. Michigan State was plowed into the ground and then lit on fire by alabama.


Thu, Feb 16, 2012 : 7:53 p.m.

Yes they'll take him out ofter one series and put in a guy dressed up like Shane Morris. Maybe John Navarre. To quote one Michigan man's web site- "Denard doesn't fit into the DNA of Michigan, he makes bad decisions, and can't throw. " Denard, Gardner, Touissant, Dileo, and all those RR recruits should just quite. they aren't "Michigan Men".


Thu, Feb 16, 2012 : 6:13 p.m.

*rimshot* He'll be here all night, folks!


Thu, Feb 16, 2012 : 5:05 p.m.

Here comes all the "September Heisman" smack talk. It's not a Michigan fan making the prediction, so save the criticism for Danny Sheridan and those in his business. As a Michigan fan, I'm just hoping Borges is putting Denard through passing boot camp. If he lives up to half of the hype, he'll have to be AT LEAST a decent passer next year.


Sat, Feb 18, 2012 : 9:03 a.m.

September Heisman hype is on once again! haha


Thu, Feb 16, 2012 : 5:01 p.m.

If Denard can play as well on the road as does at the Big House, he'll be a contention. Besides that, he'll need to win Michigan some games that othewise would have been lost. He need to come up big in the important games like Alabama, MSU, NE and ohio. His decision making and passing mechanics need more work. Most importantly, he'll need to avoid significant injury. He should get good protection from his O-line. He has the leadership skills to carry this team as well as the confidence of the coaching staff. His ability to work hard and strive for improvement will help his cause.