Today’s post celebrates the birthday of Michigan Man Desmond K. Howard. According to the Wikipedia article linked below, Desmond Kevin Howard was born on this day in Cleveland, Ohio. He was an All-State performer at running back, but he was undersized. Bo recruited the super-talented Howard to Michigan, but probably wasn’t sure where he would play.
Desmond K. Howard enrolled at Michigan in 1988. He is listed as a defensive back on the 1988 Michigan Football roster. Howard was red-shirted in 1988, so, he didn’t see any action that season.
Howard’s first year on the varsity was not spectacular. He isn’t credited with any starts in 1989, for Coach Schembechler, but he did earn his first letter. Howard rushed the ball 5- times for 11-net yards which averaged out to 2.2 yards per carry. Definitely not good enough to be Bo’s starting tailback. Fortunately, Desmond put up some good numbers as a receiver (9 catches for 136 yards and 2 touchdowns) and as a punt returner (13 returns for 295 yards which averaged out to 22.7 yards per touch.). So, the coaches saw some good things from Howard in 1989, but they just weren’t sure how he would continue to develop.
Gary Moeller’s first year as head coach (1990) was Desmond K. Howard’s second as a player. Gary Moeller must have spent a lot of time in the off-season figuring out what to do with the speedy-Howard. Moeller decided to use him as a flanker/receiver on offense and expanded his role on special team by making him a kickoff and punt returner. He wanted Howard to touch the ball a lot in every game. It turned out to be a great decision by Coach Moeller.
Desmond K. Howard exploded onto the scene in 1990 with a breakout season. He got everyone’s attention with 63-catches for 1,025 yards and 11 touchdowns. Howard increased his kickoff return average from 22-yards in 1989 to almost thirty-yards (29.6) in 1990. His best effort was a 95-yard touchdown against Michigan State. Desmond also returned 6 punts for 55-yards which averaged out to 9.2 yards per return. He had a busy and very productive season in 1990 and helped Michigan to a record of 9 wins and 3 losses and a third-consecutive Big Ten championship. So, Howard earned his second varsity letter and had the coaches wondering if he could improve on his numbers in 1991.
As it turned out, Desmond K. Howard exceeded everyone’s expectations in 1991. He was very good in 1990, but he was flat-out SPECTACULAR in his final season as a Wolverine. Desmond set a ton of NCAA and Michigan Football records in his last year. You can read all about them in the attached Wikipedia article. I will highlight some of the “firsts” that Desmond put on the board in 1991:
Michigan posted a record of 38 wins, 9 losses and 1 tie from 1988 to 1991. That works out to a winning percentage of just over eighty-percent (.802). Very impressive, but not as good as their Big Ten record for the same period. The Wolverines of the Class of 1992 absolutely dominated the conference with a record of 29 wins, 2 losses and 1 tie. They won or shared four conference titles which is as good as it gets at Michigan. Their winning percentage over that four-year span was ridiculous −.922! Wow – you can say that Desmond played an important role on some outstanding Michigan football teams. I could go on and on about the accomplishments of Desmond Kevin Howard, but I will cut it off at this point. You know what the man did!
I hope that Desmond has a great day celebrating his birthday today, Happy Birthday Desmond K. Howard and thanks for your contributions to the great history of Michigan Football! Check out Desmond’s famous “Hello Heisman” video courtesy of bguman.
Click the link below to learn more about the life and times of Desmond Howard and the 1991 Michigan football team.
Part II. Trivia Question of the Day: May 14, 2018
Michigan once earned a conference championship with a record of 1-0-0. What season was it?
Part II. Trivia Answer of the Day May 14, 2018 1906
Yes, Michigan actually earned a share of the conference title in 1906 with a record of 1-0-0. They defeated Illinois by a score of 28-9. Minnesota and Wisconsin also went undefeated in the conference that season. Yes, it was a three-way tie for the title in 1906.
Of course, the Wolverines and Fielding Yost specifically, were having difficult y with some of the Western Conference’s eligibility rules at that time. So, Fielding Yost convinced the Michigan administrators to withdraw from conference play for the 1907 conference season. Michigan did not compete for another conference championship until 1917.
Part III. Trivia Question of the Day: May 14, 2018
Who is the first freshman quarterback to lead a Michigan football team to the Big Ten championship?