Throughout the season, senior linebacker Larry Foote was the anchor of Michigan”s vastly-improved defense. Yesterday, Foote was recognized for his efforts when he was named Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year.

Paul Wong
Linebacker Larry Foote led Michigan”s defensive resurgence this year with 73 tackles.<br><br>DANNY MOLOSHOK/Daily

Foote amassed a team-leading 73 tackles including a staggering 26 tackles for loss along with six sacks on the season. He teamed with senior Eric Brackins and junior Victor Hobson to create one of the top linebacking groups in the country.

Foote”s stellar play was a major reason for the Wolverines” defensive turnaround. A year ago, Michigan”s defense was maligned throughout the season. Plagued by youth and inconsistency, the Wolverines blew big leads in games at Purdue and Northwestern, which cost Michigan an outright Big Ten championship.

Michigan finished the 2000 campaign with the second-worst defense in school history, so improvement for this year was a top priority for defensive coordinator Jim Herrmann and his players.

The Wolverines responded, due in large part to Foote. His intensity and leadership ability enabled the Wolverines” defense to climb out of the cellar.

Michigan led the Big Ten in rush defense and total defense and finished second in pass defense to Ohio State. The Wolverines were the only Big Ten team to give up fewer than 100 yards per game on the ground.

Foote was joined on the All-Big Ten first team by senior wide receiver Marquise Walker, senior left guard Jonathan Goodwin and junior defensive end Dan Rumishek.

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