Brandon Graham (American football): Wikis


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Brandon Graham

Graham attempts to tackle Terrell Pryor during 2008 Michigan – Ohio State rivalry game.
Michigan WolverinesNo. 55
Defensive End Senior
Major: Undeclared
Date of birth: April 3, 1988 (1988-04-03) (age 21)
Place of birth: Detroit, Michigan
Height: 6 ft 1 in (1.85 m) Weight: 268 lb (122 kg)
Career history
High school: Crockett Technical High School,
Detroit, Michigan
Bowl games
2007 Rose Bowl, 2008 Capital One Bowl
Career highlights and awards
Stats at CBS

Brandon Lee Graham (born April 3, 1988 in Detroit, Michigan)[1] is an American football defensive end. He was the 2009 Big Ten Conference Co-MVP as recognized by the Chicago Tribune Silver Football award. He was the 2009 FBS tackles (TFLs) for a loss (per game) champion after finishing second in 2008 by .01 TFL per game. He was the 2008 & 2009 Big Ten Conference TFL (total) champion.

He has completed his senior season as starting defensive end for the 2009 Michigan Wolverines football team. He recorded 29.5 career sacks and 56 career TFLs for the Michigan Wolverines football team. In 2008, he led the Big Ten Conference in TFLs (20 in 11 games). In 2009, he posted 26 TFLs and 10.5 sacks in 12 games. As a member of the 2008 Michigan Wolverines football team he earned Second-team 2008 Big Ten All-conference recognition from both the coaches and the coaches and the media.[2] He was a finalist for the 2009 NCAA Division I FBS football Hendricks Award. He was a First-team 2009 All-Big Ten selection by the coaches and media.[3] He was named to several First-team and Second-team 2009 All-America lists by various publications. He was named 2009 Defensive Lineman Trophy recipient of the College Football Performance Awards, the only national trophy earned by Graham at Michigan.[4][5] Brandon Graham was also named MVP of the 2010 Senior Bowl

In high school, he was a highly decorated and highly rated linebacker who served as captain for the 2006 U.S. Army All-American Bowl. He was listed on numerous All-American lists and was a finalists for some of the highest individual honors a high school football player can earn.


High school

As a youth, Graham played football for the Police Athletic League Detroit Giants for seven years until joining the eighth grade team.[6] Born and raised in Detroit, Graham attended Crockett Vocational Tech, a school that began participating in Michigan High School Athletic Association (MHSAA) football competitions in 1996 and that did not have a proper locker room for its football team before moving in his senior season. Since the football field had no lights, parents had to shine their car lights on the field for late practices.[7] At Crockett, Graham. who had been playing competitive football since age seven,[8] was expected to make an immediate impact upon joining the football team's starting lineup as a sophomore,[9] and at the end of the season he was recognized as an honorable mention lineman 2003 All-Detroit selection by The Detroit News.[10]

As a junior, Graham served as linebacker, offensive guard, placekicker and punter for his team, and he led his team to the MHSAA state championships, while becoming one of three juniors named to the 2004 First-team All-Detroit team with one source listing him as a placekicker and the other as a linebacker on the team.[8][11][12] Crockett won Detroit Public School League Division 1 championship game at Ford Field and entered the Division 5 MHSAA semifinals with a 12–0 record, but Crockett lost 9–0 to defending state champion Lumen Christi Catholic High School.[7][13] In addition to recording 91 tackles (20 for a loss), he maintained a 3.8 grade point average.[12] In one game, he posted twelve tackles, four sacks, four forced fumbles, two blocked punts and scored on a 78-yard fake punt.[14] He was selected for the Associated Press first-team Class B all-state team as a linebacker.[15]

In high school, ranked Graham as the top class of 2006 high school football prospect in the state of Michigan, the number two inside linebacker prospect and the overall fifteenth best prospect in the nation.[16] listed him as the number three linebacker in the nation and described him as the number one overall prospect in the midwest.[17] Scout also described him as "arguably the best inside linebacker in the nation".[18] ESPNU ranked him as the number two inside linebacker and number thirty-one prospect in the nation.[19] Recruiting analyst Tom Lemming, listed Graham as the best linebacker in the country for USA Today.[20] The Atlanta Journal-Constitution listed him at 15th among their national top 25 prospects.[21]

Entering his senior season, he was the overwhelming selection as the best high school football player in the state of Michigan according The Detroit News.[8] He had run a 4.43-second 40-yard dash at the Nike Summer football camp.[8] As a senior, he intended to also play tight end and fullback.[8] One Detroit News preseason analysts listed him at linebacker, tight end and offensive guard.[22] During the season, after missing four weeks to a knee injury, Graham was chosen as one of 78 players to participate in the January 7, 2006 U.S. Army All-American Bowl at the Alamodome. He was also named as a finalist for both the Parade All-America High School player of the year (The high school equivalent of the Heisman Trophy) and the Walter Payton Trophy.[23][24] He was elected captain of the East team at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl and recorded four tackles as well as a blocked field goal in the game that also featured two of his Michigan teammates: (Justin Boren and Steve Brown).[25][26] There were only 16 finalists for the Parade award, including future Michigan teammate Stephen Schilling and future Heisman-winner Tim Tebow.[27] Graham led his team to a rematch against Lumen Christi, which they lost 35–21 in the MHSAA Division 5 district championship game.[28] In Graham's three years at Crockett, they went undefeated in the regular season and as a senior he was again selected to the All-Detroit first-team as a linebacker.[29] Graham was also selected as to the Associated Press Class B All-State football team as its player of the year.[30] The Detroit News selected him to the All-Class state Dream Team.[31] He was also selected as the All-class statewide best linebacker as part of the inaugural class of The Michigan Prep Football Great 8 awarded by the Mid-Michigan Touchdown Club for being best at his position in the state.[32] By his senior year, he had a 3.2 grade point average.[25]

For his athletic excellence, Graham received many honors. Among the recognition he received are Parade Magazine All-American, EA Sports All-American, USA Today All-USA High School All-America first team (No. 14 player in the nation by USA Today), Michigan Gatorade Player of the Year, first player from the state of Michigan to play in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl, 2005 Detroit News No. 1 Blue Chip prospect, and No. 2 on the Detroit Free Press Best of the Midwest rankings.[1] Additionally, he was recognized as one of ten top prep athletes in Michigan in 2005-2006, including men and women from all sports, as a 2006 McDonald's-Powerade Tomorrow's Winners honoree at the Michigan Sports Hall of Fame dinner.[33]

Name Hometown High School Height Weight (lb) 40 Commit date
Brandon Graham
Detroit, Michigan Crockett Vocational Tech (MI) 6′2″ 250.5 4.65 February 20, 2005 
Scout:5 stars.svg   Rivals:5 stars.svg   ESPN grade: 86
Overall Recruiting Rankings: Scout - 3 (LB)   Rivals - 15, 2 (ILB), 1 (MI)  ESPN - 31, 2 (ILB)

Note: In many cases, Scout and Rivals may conflict in their listings of height and weight.
In these cases, an average of the two was taken. ESPN grades are on a 100 point scale.
"Michigan Football Commitments". Retrieved 2009-10-01. 
"2006 Michigan Football Commits". Retrieved 2009-10-01. 
"ESPN". Retrieved 2009-10-01. 
" Team Recruiting Rankings". Retrieved 2009-10-01. 
"2006 Team Ranking". Retrieved 2009-10-01. 

University of Michigan


Lloyd Carr era

Graham arrived at Michgan measuring 295 pounds (134 kg) and 6 feet 2 inches (1.88 m).[34] Graham was initially listed as a linebacker at Michigan,[35] but before the 2006 NCAA Division I FBS football season started for the 2006 Michigan Wolverines football team he switched to defensive end.[36] Graham was (along with Greg Matthews, Carlos Brown, Brandon Minor and Steve Brown) one of five true freshmen to play in the season opening game.[37] Graham was the backup for 2006 Lombardi Award and 2006 Ted Hendricks Award winner LaMarr Woodley.[34] Graham also performed as a reserve defensive tackle during the season.[38] Graham made his first tackle for Michigan on October 28 against Northwestern and recorded his first sack and forced fumble on November 11 against Indiana.[1]

As the 2007 Michigan Wolverines football team prepared for the 2007 NCAA Division I FBS football season, Graham got some unusual news off the field when he found out that he had been given a perfect 99 rating in the NCAA 2008 EA Sports even though his star teammates Chad Henne, Jake Long and Mike Hart had not.[39] Also, off the field, Graham was issued a ticket playing loud music in a vehicle on July 24 and missed the September 18 court date after pleading not guilty. This caused a judge to issue an arrest warrant for failing to appear in court on a disorderly conduct charge.[40] The charges were dropped under the belief that he had been misidentified.[41] At the start of training camp, he weighed 262 pounds (119 kg) and was the projected starter at defensive end.[34][42] Although projected to as the starter, Graham played sparingly in the opening game loss to two-time defending FCS champions Appalachian State Mountaineers on September 1. Head coach Lloyd Carr noted his disfavor with Graham at the start of the season: "Brandon, he needs to get focused," Carr said, "and do the things that he's capable of doing."[43] He was disappointed in Graham's efforts in practice.[44] In the third game, on September 15 against Notre Dame Graham recorded 3.5 sacks in the rivalry game to help lead Michigan to its first win of the season.[45] The following week he had 1.5 sacks, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery in a victory against Penn State.[46] Over the course of the season, he started six games at defensive end.[47] He led the team in sacks with 8.5 and was second in forced fumbles with 3.[1] He ranked seventh in the Big Ten for both statistics.[48] He was a mid-season Ted Hendricks Award watch list candidate.[49]

Rich Rodriguez era

Graham, who had been troubled by conditioning issues the prior season arrived at spring practice in very good shape, which pleased newly arrived head coach Rich Rodriguez,[50] who was welcomed by a defensive line composed entirely of returning starters, including Graham.[51] Graham began the 2008 NCAA Division I FBS football season as a Hendricks award watch list candidate for the 2008 Michigan Wolverines football team.[52] However, the team began the season unranked in the Associated Press poll for the first time in 23 years.[53] On September 27 Graham had 3 sacks and 2 forced fumbles against the Wisconsin Badgers,[54] and he was named Big Ten Conference Defensive Player of the Week.[55] Prior to the October 25 Paul Bunyan Trophy game against Michigan State, Graham guaranteed a victory. Although the team lost 35–21, Graham again recorded three sacks.[56] Graham finished the season with 10 sacks.[57] He led the Big Ten with 20 tackles for a loss (TFL) and 1.82 TFLs per game and was second with 0.91 sacks/game.[58] He ranked second nationally in tackles for loss and tied for eleventh in sacks.[59][60] After the season, he was recognized as a 2008 Second-team All-Big Ten Conference selection by both the coaches and the media.[2] Graham was selected as the team Most Valuable Player.[61]

Graham began the 2009 NCAA Division I FBS football season as a watch lists candidate for the Bednarik Award, Hendricks Award, Lombardi Award, Lott Trophy, and Nagurski Trophy for the 2009 Michigan Wolverines football team.[62] He was also selected by ESPN as the 10th best player in the Big Ten Conference before the season started.[63] He concluded the season as the Chicago Tribune Silver Football recipient as the Big Ten co-MVP (with Daryll Clark). He was the seventh defensive player to earn the award and second in the last 25 years as well as the first co-recipient.[64] Graham was the first player from a losing team in eight years and only the second player to win who was not either Big Ten offensive or defensive player of the year.[65] He posted 26 TFLs in 12 games, which led the nation with 2.17 average tackles for a loss per game (ahead of conference rival O'Brien Schofield who was second with 1.884).[66][67] His total of 10.5 sacks ranked fourth in the Big Ten Conference.[67] Four times during the season, he recorded multiple sack games and he had three solo TFLs in four games. He ended his career at Michigan with 9 TFLs (8 solo and 2 assists) in his final two games, including a career-high 5 solo TFLs against Ohio State in the 2009 rivalry game, which was the final game of his career.[68] Graham was one of seven finalists for the Hendricks Award.[69] At the conclusion of the season he was a 2009 First-team All-Big Ten selection by the coaches and media.[3] He was a First-team 2009 College Football All-America Team selection by ESPN, and,[70][71][72] and he was a Second-team All-American defensive line selection by the Walter Camp Football Foundation, Associated Press, Sports Illustrated, College Football News and The Sporting News.[73][74][75][76][77] He was an honorable mention All-American by Pro Football Weekly (which had no second team).[78] Graham was again selected as the team MVP.[79] Additionally, Graham is 2009 Defensive Lineman Trophy recipient of the College Football Performance Awards.[4] As of December 2009, Graham was the only Big Ten player on Mel Kiper's "Big Board" Top 25.[65] Brandon Graham earned MVP honors at the January 30, 2010 Senior Bowl with five tackles, two sacks, one forced fumble.[80]


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External links

Preceded by
Shonn Greene
Chicago Tribune Silver Football (Big Ten MVP)
(shared with Daryll Clark)

Succeeded by
Preceded by
Jarron Gilbert
FBS Tackles for a loss Champion (per game)
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Shawn Crable
Big Ten Tackles for a loss Champion (total)
2008 & 2009
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Pat White
Senior Bowl MVP
Succeeded by


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