This year’s Meyer Morton Award, which has been given out since 1925, went to Stevie Brown. It signifies the player that has shown the most progress in Spring drills.
Past winners include Jamie Morris, Stan & Braylon Edwards, Desmond Howard, Jim Harbaugh, and in 1932, future president Gerald Ford.
The PA announcer advised is designated for Michigan seniors, but traditionally this was not the case. Take Ford for instance, he was a senior and MVP in 1934 yet received the award two seasons prior.
I wrote about this last year after the Saline spring game [see ‘On the Meyer Morton’:
This is the oldest individual award given by the football program and its winners include the late Gerald Ford. I actually found this pic of Ford with the award (1932) when researching a post after his death:
You may have picked up this mention on the great mgoblog within Brian’s spring practice post today:
Will Johnson won kind of a weird award for a fifth-year senior and returning starter to pick up.
Brian’s right. It’s a little weird for a 5th year senior to be getting this award. I’m still digging for the reference, but I’m 90% sure I read somewhere that this honored was originally reserved for underclassman.
Take Ford for instance. The late president won the honor in 1932, a great year for Michigan football but Ford wasn’t really active on the actual team yet. He didn’t captain the team until two years later during the miserable season of 1934 [a.k.a. the Really Great Depression for M historians].
Looking briefly through the history of the award, it looks like it was presented to underclassman until the 1950s, then you started to see a few juniors take the award. In the 60s up through Bo and Lloyd Carr you start to see a mix of seniors and juniors. The last few years it’s gone to 5th year seniors (Henne last year, Breaston in 2006, & so on).
So the interpretation of the award changed over years and Saturday’s press release on mgoblue.com confirms it. It defines the award as “the Meyer Morton Award, granted to the senior football player that experienced the greatest development and showed the most promise during spring practice”. [Emphasis added]
I don’t know when that changed or why this changed, but it did. Quoting Brian, it’s definitely “weird”.
Now, I completely realize that no one really gives a crap about any of this. But— someone’s got to keep an eye on the tradition here, and an award that’s been given out since the 1920s matters. Rodriguez probably hasn’t even unpacked the stuff in his office yet and he thankfully handed out these awards. Certainly Coach Rod just followed Carr’s lead by giving this to a senior. I’d like to know why it changed and I’m guessing that Coach Carr has the answer.