- Erin Kirkland/Daily
By Ben Estes, Daily Sports Editor
Published August 27, 2012
Perhaps being voted as the two captains for the Michigan football team shouldn’t have come as a surprise to safety Jordan Kovacs and quarterback Denard Robinson, given their prominence and the job they’ve already been doing as senior leaders.
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But that didn’t make it any less momentous for the pair.
Both Robinson and the fifth-year senior Kovacs said on Monday that they were “honored” to be voted by their teammates as the team’s two captains this season.
“I think I said in my speech right after I was announced captain, I said several times that I was honored,” Kovacs said. “I think it says a lot about my teammates and my struggles and what I’ve had to overcome to be where I am today. But it truly is an honor, and it’s something that I really appreciate.
“The only thing I can do is be the best leader I can be for this team. That’s how I’ll pay them back.”
Added Robinson: “It’s a dream come true to be a captain, to be a leader of a great football team that we have right here.”
The ascendancy to captain is the culmination of a maturation process for each player in their four years with the Wolverines.
The understated Robinson arrived in Ann Arbor in 2009 as a shy, quiet freshman, hesitant to get after teammates vocally even after rising to the starting quarterback spot as a sophomore. According to fifth-year senior receiver Roy Roundtree, Robinson turned a corner with his leadership last season, and has continued to make strides since. Redshirt junior offensive tackle Taylor Lewan said “now you can feel a presence when (Robinson) walks in the huddle.”
Kovacs had good reason to keep to himself when he first joined the Michigan football team, considering he was a lowly student-body walk-on in 2009. But his stunning rise into a four-year starter couldn’t have happened without him displaying the type of attributes that all coaches want to see in their captains.
Michigan coach Brady Hoke said that while the pair’s behavior has always been captain-worthy, Kovacs and Robinson are also both more assertive vocally.
“I think Jordan and Denard both, their actions speak so much more loudly than their words,” Hoke said. “I think the comfort level, though, (of) being a senior probably has allowed them to speak more prominently.”
Kovacs confirmed that he plans to get after teammates when needed, but perhaps he should focus his communication skills in other areas — his parents were a little upset that they found out about his captaincy on Twitter before he informed them himself, Kovacs said with a laugh.
ROUNDING INTO SHAPE: Roundtree has made it all the way back from the arthroscopic left knee surgery he underwent in the first week of camp. Declaring himself “100 percent" healed, Roundtree returned to practice on Sunday and he and Hoke both said he’ll play in the season opener against Alabama.
Though Roundtree admitted to being fearful when he first went down with the injury, he was confident he’d get past the setback rather easily once the prognosis came down from the team’s training staff.
The wide receiver felt some pain in his knee in the opening days of camp but played through it, until it finally “went out” on him on Aug. 9. He had surgery the next day, and while Roundtree himself wasn’t too apprehensive, others were.
“My parents, they were really worried, and I was like, you don’t have to come up here, I’m a big boy,” Roundtree joked. “There was no worries I’d be back.”
STILL SUSPENDED: The appearance of redshirt junior Fitzgerald Toussaint atop the depth chart that Michigan released in advance of this week’s opener against Alabama caused a rash of Twitter reaction, with plenty chiming on Hoke’s apparent reinstatement of the running back.
But Hoke stated again that still no decision has been made regarding Toussaint’s availability on Saturday. (The status is the same for defensive end Frank Clark, who’s also currently suspended.)
For the first time, though, Hoke admitted that he “probably has an idea” of what he will decide to do, and that the determination will be made “soon.”
Toussaint is due to appear in court on Tuesday for his DUI charge, but Hoke said the outcome of that will have no bearing on the running back’s status.
NOTES: Junior quarterback Devin Gardner, the subject of many questions about how much time he’ll see at wide receiver, appeared at both positions on the team’s depth chart — as the No.