The athletics programs at the University of Michigan can develop and produce some of the best talent in the country and compete with any other school, there’s simply no denying that fact. But this year specifically, those in Ann Arbor accomplished something that no other program can compete with.
The Wolverines’ were truly the leaders and best in 2017. Following the conclusion of this weekend’s NHL Draft on Saturday, Michigan is now the only school this calendar year to have at least one player selected in the respective drafts of the four major North American professional sports.
LEADERS and BEST.
— Michigan Athletics (@UMichAthletics) June 25, 2017
— RedditCFB (@RedditCFB) June 23, 2017
The official tally for the Wolverines is 24 draft picks in the MLB, NBA, NHL and NFL (one of the two NHL draftees above is signed on to play at Michigan, not at the school yet); eight more than any other school in the NCAAs.
Michigan stood alone following the selection of defenseman Luke Martin in the second round to the Carolina Hurricanes. The St. Louis native played in 35 games as a freshman for the hockey team this past season, potting one goal and totaling seven points.
Just a day before Martin was drafted, a potential future Wolverine heard his name called – Oxford, Michigan product Josh Norris. The 18-year-old centerman was selected No. 19 overall by the San Jose Sharks on Friday, after spending the previous two seasons with the U.S. National Team Developmental Program in Plymouth, Michigan.
Then there was the NBA Draft on Thursday. Only one former Michigan player was selected, big man D.J. Wilson. The 6-10 Sacramento-native was drafted No. 17 overall by the Milwaukee Bucks. Wilson entered the NBA Draft following a breakout junior season in Ann Arbor, and was perceived as a fringe first-round selection leading up to the event.
The bulk of Michigan’s draft picks came in either baseball or football, 11 picks in each sport were the highest among all NCAA Division I programs in that respective sport.
The Wolverines’ baseball team finished with 42 wins this season, their highest mark since 2008. Among the more notable selections taken from Michigan in this month’s MLB Draft were southpaw pitcher Oliver Jaskie, who went in the sixth round to the Seattle Mariners, as well as a pair of selections by the Detroit Tigers: infielder Jake Bivens (27th Round) and left-hander Grant Reuss (29th Round).
And in football, the 11 total draft selections edged out Alabama for the most among all FBS programs. That crop of draftees was highlighted by a pair of first-round selections: linebacker/defensive back Jabrill Peppers (No. 25 overall to the Cleveland Browns) and defensive lineman Taco Charlton (No. 28 overall to the Dallas Cowboys).
With the exception of a rare down year from the hockey program, the Michigan sports teams put themselves in a position to accomplish the ultimate goal of winning a championship. While all of them ended up falling short, the flooding of pro-ready talent being drafted speaks highly of the scouting and developing, as well as the resources available in Ann Arbor.