Script by Inside The Huddle.
In the pantheon of Michigan football tradition, no defensive position group has produced more first-team All-Americans than defensive back, with 15, including cornerbacks Leon Hall, Marlin Jackson, Charles Woodson, Ty Law and Garland Rivers over the last 30 years.
Last season, Jourdan Lewis earned first-team All-American honors, ending a nine-year drought in which the Wolverines had not produced a first-team All-American.
Lewis achieved that feat as he put together the best campaign by any cornerback nationally according to data compiled by ProFootballFocus.com.
That esteemed site noted that Lewis allowed opponents to complete just 36.0 percent of their attempts when they threw in his direction despite the fact that he was the 10thth-most targeted defender in the country, QBs going his way 90 times.
The 5-11, 186-pound Lewis set a Michigan single-season record with 22 pass breakups, including a pair of interceptions. He set a U-M single-game record with six pass breakups in a heartbreaking loss to Michigan State.
He recorded one pass breakup in 11 of 13 games during his junior year, and was also a presence against the run, recording 52 tackles, including 3.5 for loss.
Lewis played in eight games as a true freshman in a reserve role and then started seven contests in 2014 before his breakout campaign as a junior last year. In that way, he reminds us of Leon Hall.
Hall started 10 games in his first two seasons, and had some big moments, recording a pair of interceptions in a 2003 win over Purdue his rookie year.
Like Lewis, Hall took over a permanent starting role as a junior in 2005 and then saved his best for last as a senior, setting the single-season record for pass breakups with 18 before Lewis knocked him off the mantle. Hall still owns the career mark for passes defended with 43, but has Lewis, with 32, nipping at his heels.
Similarly built at 5-11, 193 pounds, Hall was dynamic in pass coverage, and was of great help against the run, recording 180 stops in his four seasons.
With Hall anchoring the secondary, Michigan began the 2006 season 11-0 and set up a No. 1 vs. No. 2 showdown with the top-ranked Buckeyes. Michigan fell, missing out a chance to play for the national title.
In 2016, Maize and Blue fans are hopeful Lewis will take the Wolverines one step further, beating Ohio State, winning the Big Ten and earning a college football playoff berth.