ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- At some point in the future, a Michigan wide receiver will wear the famed No. 1 jersey.
The question now is when.
“Eventually, someone is going to wear the No. 1,” Michigan receivers coach Jeff Hecklinski told ESPN.com this week. “I don’t know who it is going to be, because somebody has to be good enough and earn it that way.
“But again, eventually, that’s going to happen at some point in time.”
Hecklinski was quick to add he did not know if that would happen this season, next season or at a point beyond that. The No. 1 jersey has not been worn by a Michigan receiver since Braylon Edwards wore the number in 2003 and 2004.
In all, six Michigan receivers have worn the number: Anthony Carter (1979-1982), Greg McMurtry (1986-1989), Derrick Alexander (1990-1993), Tyrone Butterfield (1994-1996), David Terrell (1998-2000) and Edwards.
All but Butterfield played in the NFL.
“When you get it, there’s a certain thing that goes with it,” Terrell said. “Now adding all that extra stuff into it, it wore it down, man. Now, let’s see what happens. If they go and do it, they know the ones. Coaches know. Lloyd (Carr) picked me for it. I don’t think they were wrong.
“They know how to pick things. These people know what their job is.”
Hecklinski, though, said the No. 1 jersey isn’t something that will be promised during recruiting.
“It’s earned,” Hecklinski said of the jersey. “I don’t control that. Coach (Brady) Hoke doesn’t control that. You’ve got to earn that. Your play dictates that. Coach Hoke has a say on it, but he doesn’t say, ‘Oh, I think this could happen or think that could happen.’
“We just watch you play. It’s the same thing when people say is a kid going to redshirt? We don’t determine that. If he’s ready to play, he’s going to play. If he’s not ready to play, he’s going to redshirt. So that’s where I think, there are things that are earned throughout your career. Those are goals you should have.”
Between its current roster and recruiting, Michigan has several viable candidates for whenever the school chooses to dust off the No. 1.
Senior Jeremy Gallon is one of the best blocking receivers in the Big Ten and has the potential for a 1,000-yard season this year. In its 2014 recruiting class, Michigan has a commitment from the No. 8 wide receiver and No. 72 overall prospect, Drake Harris (Grand Rapids, Mich./Grand Rapids Christian). In the 2015 class, the No. 1 athlete and No. 3 player overall in the ESPN Junior 300, George Campbell (Tarpon Springs, Fla./ East Lake), has also verbally chosen the Wolverines.