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New Michigan helmet stickers to tell story of a player's career

Angelique S. Chengelis
The Detroit News

Michigan’s maize football-shaped helmet stickers remain but with a new twist this season.

The stickers, which Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh brought back to the helmets during his first season in 2015, used to feature a wolverine in blue and could be awarded for any number of in-game achievements. Players accumulated helmet stickers each season and would start over the next with a clean helmet.

New UM helmets stickers.

Now, the stickers represent anything from a win —  the familiar maize sticker with a wolverine but with the overall number of the victory (the first win of the season will produce a sticker with 965) —  to rivalry games, to All-Big Ten honors and academic honors, and a captain will have a sticker with a “C.”

Images of the new decals first appeared in a video from the first day of practice last Friday from the Michigan social media account.

“We modified the helmet decal and how they’re awarded to basically now tell the story of a player’s entire career,” said Dave Ablauf, Michigan associate athletic director for football.

“It’s a great way to reward the guys. We’ve always given ours players their helmet at the end of the their career, and this provides them with a keepsake that tells the complete story of their career rather than just that final season.”

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Ablauf said Harbaugh, entering his seventh season at Michigan, and the staff all worked on this project.

“The new decals recognize not only their achievement on the field as a team or in areas of team success, but it still has the individual successes that a player has if you were voted player of the game offense, defense, or special teams, we’ll still do that.  It also includes your accomplishments in the classroom, it includes your accomplishments if you were an All-Big Ten performer or an MVP or an All-American.”

The first helmet decal each player received this year is the area code representing his hometown.

“Everyone came from somewhere, and this recognizes their hometown, this recognizes all the people they represent, their family, their community where they came from,” Ablauf said. “A lot of guys have talked about how special that is and how unique and it’s meaningful to them.”

achengelis@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @chengelis