ANN ARBOR -- On Tuesday, Michigan coach Brady Hoke announced that Jeremy Gallon will be the third wide receiver to represent former Heisman winner and U-M great Desmond Howard by wearing No. 21 in part of the Michigan legacy jersey program.
Gallon, who previously wore No. 10, is a fifth-year senior and is looked as the go to target for quarterback Devin Gardner heading into the season opener with Central Michigan this Saturday.
Although, he was the logical choice, Gallon said he was still taken by surprise when he was told of the number change.
“I was so happy, man. I was so honored to be wearing his jersey and representing him. And representing everything he has done for this program. I really didn’t know what to think,” Gallon said. “I wasn’t expecting anything. I was just ready to come out and play football. I wasn’t expecting no jerseys at all, just wearing No. 10 and making the best out of No. 10. And when they came to me about the jersey – it was a blessing.”
Former U-M wide receivers Junior Hemingway (2011) and Roy Roundtree (2012) wore Howard’s No. 21 in their senior season as well. Hemingway, was the first recipient of the legacy jersey, when he received the honor before the Michigan “Under the Lights” contest versus Notre Dame on Sep. 11, 2012.
While donning the No. 10 jersey, Gallon had 84 receptions for a 1,331 yards and 8 touchdowns in his first three years of his Michigan career. He also has caught a reception in 26 consecutive games heading into this season.
“I had my moments with 10,but now it’s on to bigger and better things,” Gallon said.
Gallon hasn’t had a chance to talk with Howard since the number change, but did have an opportunity to sit down with the U-M great just a week earlier.
“We spoke with each other and we was talking about my life and he was talking about his life, his mindset on football, my mindset and just getting to know each other,” Gallon said. “It wasn’t until that moment till I was thinking, ‘Why is this man talking to me? Why is this big guy talking (to) somebody small like me?’ When coach Hoke came to me and asked me to wear his jersey, again, I was amazed that somebody as big as him around here wants me to represent him.”
Gallon continued: “I met him plenty of times around here. Just that was the first time I actually sat down with him. And had that type of conversation with him, as far as talking about myself and my life, where I come from and how things were growing up. Him expressing himself and talking about the same things. It was the first time I actually sat down with somebody like that and had that type of conversation.”
Gallon’s message to Howard is simple.
“I’ve been trying to reach out with him just to tell him – Thank you! I won’t let him down,” Gallon said. “I’m going to represent him the best way that I can the Michigan way, the right way. And do all that I can to keep that number going.”
Howard had many great moments as a Wolverine, but one has stuck out the most to Gallon.
“The one that most people know is him catching the winning touchdown in the back of the end zone versus Notre Dame,” Gallon said. “That’s my favorite catch. I love diving balls. That was my favorite moment with him.”
Is that a little foreshadowing with Notre Dame game coming up on Sep. 7?
“No, it’s just my favorite moment with him so far,” Gallon said, with a chuckle.