Michigan Football Preview 2016

2016 Michigan Football Preview

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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Page 115 of 179

114 ■ THE WOLVERINE 2016 FOOTBALL PREVIEW BY CHRIS BALAS H aving your name tattooed on someone's body can be a badge of honor … the biker with "Mom" stenciled through a heart on his left arm or the girlfriend who gets her boyfriend's name inked on the side of her neck. For Channing Stribling, though, having his image superimposed on former Penn State Allen Robinson's torso isn't even a dubious honor. The rendering is of Robinson reaching over Stribling for a 36-yard catch with 27 seconds remaining in 2013 to send the game to overtime — and while the play did lead to PSU's four-OT win, it was hardly a legend-builder. To begin with, PSU finished 7-5 that season to U-M's 7-6. Stribling was a true freshman, only months into his first college football season … and he nearly picked off a pass earlier in the drive that would have ended the game. He was in good shape on the Robinson catch, too, before slightly mistiming his jump. "I saw it," Stribling said of Robinson's tattoo. "It's crazy. Of course my teammates let me hear it. People from back home were calling me saying, 'You see that?'" Now 20 pounds heavier and with a wealth of game experience — and an incredible spring — under his belt, Stribling is con- fident he'd make the winning play if he had it to do over again. "I still think I could have made the play with better decision making, even going back to the play before that," he said. "But … you can't really dwell on it." He hasn't — and oh, how far he's come since then. Always boasting a wealth of potential, Stribling started to realize it last year in the first few games of the season, starting four games and picking off two passes. A hamstring injury suffered during Maryland week in the middle of the season slowed him, but he still came back and split time with fellow veteran Jeremy Clark. Stribling viewed this March and April as a potential turning point for his teammates coming off a 41-7 win over Florida in the Citrus Bowl, a chance to continue to build on what they'd accomplished and an opportunity to make a good impression on first-year defensive coordinator Don Brown. From a personal standpoint, he wanted to start his senior season in grand fashion, and it couldn't have gone much better. Head coach Jim Harbaugh called him the "Florida MVP" after a week in which he picked off at least five passes and was every bit as good as All-American corner Jourdan Lewis on the other side of him. And make no mistake — Lewis was really good. "I felt that was a starting point of a whole good spring for me," Stribling said. "We all wanted to keep it going from the bowl game into the season, and it started off well. "Besides my freshman year coming in, I felt that was the best spring I've had." Stribling was tabbed U‑M's "Florida MVP" by head coach Jim Harbaugh following a strong week of spring practice at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla. PHOTO BY LON HORWEDEL ELEVATING HIS GAME Senior Channing Stribling Is A Breakout Candidate At Cornerback Stribling's likeness has been tattooed on the torso of former Penn State wide receiver Al‑ len Robinson, com‑ memorating the lat‑ ter's 36‑yard catch in a 2013 matchup between the two. PHOTO COURTESY ALLEN ROBINSON

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