Today, I want to wish a very Happy Birthday to Michigan Man Jake E. Long. According to the Wikipedia article linked below, Jake Edward Long was born on this day in Lapeer, Michigan. He grew up to be a pretty big guy and an outstanding athlete at Lapeer East High School. Although many schools expressed interest in his talents, Jake Long had been a Michigan fan for his entire life. When Lloyd Carr offered him a scholarship, it was time to play some football for the Michigan Wolverines!
Jake E. Long enrolled at Michigan in the fall of 2003. Although he was pretty big (6’ 6” and 290 pounds), Long needed to get a little bigger and stronger to compete with the BIG boys in the Big Ten Conference. So, he burned his red-shirt and went to work with Mike Gittleson and his staff.
According to the 2004 Michigan Football Roster, Jake Long came back ready to play in 2004. Long’s hard work in the weight room paid off, big time! He was listed at 6’ 7” tall and 331 pounds on the 2004 Michigan Football Roster. Yes, he was ready to play with the BIG boys because he was one of them! Long started eight games at right tackle in 2004. He earned his first varsity letter on a team that finished with a record of 9 wins and 3 losses. Michigan posted a record of 7 wins and 1 loss in the conference and tied for the championship. Jake Long earned the John Maulbetsch Award for his outstanding play in spring practice. He also earned second team All-Conference honors in his first year on the varsity. So, Jake Long’s Michigan career was off to a good start in Ann Arbor.
Jake E. Long came back in 2005 to make an even bigger impact for the Wolverines. Unfortunately, a serious ankle injury in fall training camp kept him off the field for the first seven games. He played well upon his return to the lineup and started the last four games of the 2005 season. It turned out to be a disappointing season for Long and the Wolverines. Michigan’s record slipped to a record of 7 wins and 5 losses. It was the worst season in Lloyd Carr’s tenure. Michigan won five and lost three in the conference which tied them for third place. It was not a year to remember for Jake Long or his teammates.
Jake Long came back strong in 2006. And, so did the Wolverines. His teammates honored his talent and his tireless work ethic by voting him as a co-captain for the 2006 season along with LaMarr Woodley. Long started all thirteen games for Michigan. He put up some impressive numbers and helped lead the Wolverines to a record of 11 wins and 2 losses. Michigan finished with a record of 7 wins and 1 loss in the conference which earned them a second-place finish.
Jake Long earned first team All-American honors and All-Big Ten honors in 2006. He also won the Hugh Rader Award, the Dave Brandon Leadership Award and the Frederick Matthaei Award. Long was also named the best offensive lineman in the conference in 2006. It was easily the best season of Jake Long’s career at Michigan. The 2006 was definitely better than the 2005 campaign, but the last two games left a bad taste in the mouth of every Wolverine! Jake Long could have been a high draft pick in the NFL lottery, but he wanted to come back and help Michigan improve on their 2006 performance.
Expectations were running high in Ann Arbor to start the 2007 season. The fifth ranked Wolverines had a ton of returning stars (Long, Mike hart and Chad Henne) and plenty of very good players. Jake Long was elected as a tri-captain for the 2007 season along with Mike Hart. Everyone was expecting great things from Michigan in 2007. Unfortunately, Appalachian State and Oregon did not believe all the pre-season hype about Michigan. The Wolverines lost their first two home games for the first time since 1959. Michigan was now on a four-game losing streak dating back to the last two games of the 2006 season. It was time to see what the Wolverines were made of.
As it turned out, Co-Captains Mike Hart and Jake Long knew that Michigan was a very good football team. They picked their teammates up and led the way as the Wolverines won eight straight games. Michigan was right in the middle of the race for the Big Ten title with two games remaining in the season. Unfortunately, they lost the last two games of the regular season to Wisconsin and Ohio State to finish second in the Big Ten. Lloyd Carr had announced his retirement earlier in the season and the Wolverines sent him out on a high note with a 41-35 win over Florida in the Capital One Bowl.
Once again, Jake Long earned a ton of awards for his stellar play at left tackle in 2007. He repeated as a first team All-American and a first team Big Ten star. He won the Hugh Rader for the second straight season and also earned the Mike Gittleson Award for his tireless work in the weight room. Jake Long was a ferocious competitor who pushed himself, and his teammates, to be the best.
So, thanks to Jake Long for his notable contributions to the great history of Michigan Football. Please take a moment to appreciate everything that Jake E. Long did for Michigan. Of course, he had an outstanding NFL career which you can read about in the Wikipedia article that is linked below. Happy Birthday Jake Long and thanks for the memories. Go Blue!
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