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The Michigan DB I Really Wanted

April 26, 2011

This afternoon we all received the good news that Penn Hills product Cullen Christian, a 4* defensive back in 2010, will be transferring from Michigan to Pitt.  Christian, recruited by Tony Gibson at Michigan, played in 11 of their 13 games in 2010 as a true freshman.  After sitting out (and redshirting) in 2011 due to the transfer, Christian will have three years of eligibility remaining.

Christian was actually the second Michigan DB to transfer to Pitt since Todd Graham assembled his coaching staff of former Michigan coaches.  Another true freshman, Ray Vinopal, decided about a month ago to leave Ann Arbor for Pittsburgh.  Vinopal played in all 13 games which included 6 starts.  He will also have three years of eligibility remaining after redshirting a year.

But there is another Michigan defensive back that caught my eye.  He’s not your average defensive back though.  He actually played quarterback for Southeast Missouri State in 2007 where he had 1 rush for 4 yards and was 0-1 with 1 INT.  He transfered from SEMO to Michigan in 2008 to be a walk-on.  After sitting out and redshirting in 2008, he played in 9 games in 2009, mostly on special teams, before missing the entire 2010 season with a broken clavicle.

By my calculations, if he received a medical redshirt for 2010, he would still have 2 years of eligibility remaining…one to be burned by a second transfer, and one year to play for Pitt.  This could all come together nicely.  So who is this you ask…and why am I interested in a special teams player?  Well, you could say his father is kind of a legend in Pittsburgh.  So I introduce to you Jared Van Slyke (#31).

Yes, Jared is the son of former Pittsburgh Pirates great (and my favorite player of all time) Andy Van Slyke.  Can you imagine the hometown reaction of Van Slyke attending his sons games at Heinz Field?  He had the second largest ovation of any Pirates player at the final game of Three Rivers Stadium, only behind Roberto Clemente.  Can you also imagine the sheer awesomeness of a Jared Van Slyke/Andrew Taglianetti defensive backfield, even if only for a play?  Instant flashback to the early 90s.

Yes, I know this is just a pipe dream…but during the offseason when I need something to write about, one can hope, right?

In the mean time, if you want to check out my Andy Van Slyke collection, check out this link.


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