Behind the Numbers: #21-30
Behind the Numbers - #21
Winner, winner, chicken dinner! The third edition of the Behind the Numbers series begins with #21. Long after prohibition had ended, quarterback Robert Jenkins was drinking the sweet tea, as he was the first player to wear number 21 back in 1941.
Since 1941, number 21 has made 22 catches for 368 yards and seven touchdowns. Its mark was left on the defensive side of the ball recording 468 tackles, 12 interceptions and seven forced fumbles. When looking at the number 21, it was a defensive player to be deemed the best.
Cornerback William Reed (1996-1999) drank from the strong juice glass as he compiled 199 tackles, three interceptions, two forced fumbles, and blocked three field goals during his time at WMU.
Pouring onto the field for the Broncos this year wearing number 21 is junior running back Antoin Scriven. Scriven has rushed for 101 yards and six touchdowns during his short career.
Behind the Numbers - #22
If going by the motto, "First the worst, second the best," then having two number two's must be double the success. With 31 players wearing #22, there has been much success on the field during its years.
The 31 players have managed to amass 5,927 yards and 31 touchdowns. Defensively number 22 has had 285 tackles, 17 interceptions and seven forced fumbles. This defensive player has had huge success wearing the double two's.
Free safety Dennis Robinson (1984-1987) was the best player to wear number 22. During his career at WMU he had 202 tackles, 14 interceptions and four forced fumbles. Robinson is first in career touchdown saves (15) and most touchdown saves in a single game (3 vs. Michigan State, 1986). He was Second Team All-MAC in 1985.
Shouldering the success of number 22 this year for the Broncos is junior running back Dareyon Chance. Chance has had 219 yards and two touchdowns during his career so far.
Behind the Numbers - #23
There have been many good players to wear the #23 in various sports. Adding to that list of great players are the 39 Broncos dating back to 1941 and quarterback Robert Mellen was the first to wear jersey number 23.
During the 71 years that number 23 has been in Kalamazoo, its amassed 2,015 yards, four touchdowns, 123 tackles, and one interception. Donning the number 23 just a few years ago, this two-way player is already the best player to wear jersey number 23.
Aaron Winchester (2008-2011) was the ultimate all-purpose player as he compiled 1,629 yards and one touchdown as a running back, receiver and kick returner. Winchester also made an impact defensively recording 84 tackles, two forced fumbles, and one interception.
Behind the Numbers - #24
The youngest jersey number out of 21-30, #24 will celebrate its 55th birthday this season, as it will step on to the field at Waldo Stadium yet again. Fullback Jesse Madden back in 1957 was the first player to wear number 24.
During the years number 24 has racked up 2,677 yards, 13 touchdowns, 407 tackles, nine interceptions, and nine forced fumbles. Ironically, the 24th player to wear number 24 is deemed the best ever.
Tarrence McEvans (1995-1997) made a significant impact on the defensive side of the ball compiling 168 tackles, three forced fumbles and four interceptions in his three years.
Behind the Numbers - #25
Halfway in the 21-30 jersey number series makes a shift towards the offensive side of the ball where 23 of the 34 players to ever wear #25 played on offense. The first was quarterback John Wells back in 1944.
Though many offensive players have worn number 25 and have compiled 88 catches, 1,468 yards and 18 touchdowns. It's the defensive side of the ball that has the overwhelming stats. Number 25 has recorded 681 tackles, eight forced fumbles and 34 interceptions. The next player honored shares his name with WMU's Athletic Fund.
Mike Gary (1979-1983) was a free safety specialist at WMU. During his years he had 160 tackles, three forced fumbles, 12 touchdown saves and 13 interceptions. Gary ranks in the top 10 in career interceptions and was Second Team All-MAC (1983). He is the son of legendary head football coach Mike Gary who found the Mike Gary Fund, which provides direct financial support for all varsity men's and women's sports at WMU.
Junior walk-on safety Jeremy Renda will wear number 25 for the Broncos this year.
Behind the Numbers - #26
Quarterback Homer Doxey was the first player in the program's history to wear #26. Since then 34 players have called number 26 theirs and 14 of those hallowed players have been running backs.
While slashing and dashing through teams, number 26 has gained 3,287 yards and 24 touchdowns. Defensively number 26 is just as impressive compiling 397 tackles, 10 interceptions and five forced fumbles. A first for the Behind the Numbers series, a true running back was chosen as the best.
Jim Vackaro (1992-1995) is the best player to wear jersey number 26. During his years of carving up defenses, Vackaro accumulated 2,954 yards and 23 touchdowns. He is top five in career rushing yards (2,954) and attempts (625). He also earned Second Team All-MAC in 1984. He is also a member of WMU's All-Century Team.
Sophomore cornerback John Henry will be number 26 this season for the Broncos. Henry had three tackles last season.
Behind the Numbers - #27
The second youngest jersey number in the 21-30 jersey series has had exactly 27 players to wear #27. Dating back to 1956, number 27 was worn first by running back Lloyd Swelnis.
The 27 players have produced 330 catches, 4,543 yards, 21 touchdowns, 235 tackles, four interceptions and four forced fumbles during the 56 years number 27 has been roaming the field. The player to receive the best number 27 honor is a wide receiver that has etched his name in the WMU record book.
Jamarko Simmons (2004-2008) had 260 receptions for 3,019 yards and 17 touchdowns during his career at WMU. Simmons is top 10 in career yards (3,019), receptions (260) and touchdowns (17). He is top 10 in single season receiving yards (1,276) and receptions (104). Simmons also is top five in single game receptions (14 vs. Indiana, 2007). He was First Team All-MAC in 2007 and 2008 and earned Sports Illustrated All-American.
Sophomore safety Trevor Ishmael will wear number 27 for the Broncos this year. Ishmael had 26 tackles last season.
Behind the Numbers - #28
Many say it takes 28 days to start or break a habit. In 1944, running back Mallet Jackson started the habit of wearing #28 and being successful.
Since then, success has flowed throughout many players in which the number has combined for 2,157 yards, 13 touchdowns, 270 tackles, five forced fumbles, and 17 interceptions. For the best statistical success wearing number 28, you can go no further than the defensive backfield.
Pierre Hixon (1990-1993) made a habit of on the field success during his career. Hixon recorded 111 tackles, three forced fumbles, and 11 interceptions. That career success not only gave him the title as best player to wear number 28, but First Team All-MAC in 1993.
Behind the Numbers - #29
If offense wins games and defense wins championship, then #29 has won many championships with its defense. Out of the 26 players to wear number 29, 16 have been defensive players. Though the first player to wear the number was quarterback Hilton Foster back in 1944.
Number 29 has had offensive statistical success compiling 2,025 yards and 17 touchdowns. But defense is where the number 29 stakes it claim as it recorded 347 tackles, six forced fumbles and four interceptions. The player chosen as the best number 29, made his fame as well on the defensive side of the ball.
Rick Lucas (1994-1997) was a forceful linebacker during his time at WMU. Lucas recorded 151 tackles, 16 sacks and three interceptions. As a sophomore in 1995, he was Second Team All-MAC.
Carrying the ball and number 29 this year for the Broncos is junior running back Tevin Drake. Drake had 586 yards and five touchdowns last season, as he led the Broncos in rushing yards.
Behind the Numbers - #30
The final installment of the Behind the Numbers series 21-30 is #30. Running back Harold Troop back in 1942 was the first player to wear number 30, and with that began much statistical success.
Statistical success started back in 1942 and through all the years number 30 has racked up 1,681 yards, 19 tackles and five interceptions. But the man that had the best stats wearing number 30, is also accountable for over half of it's yards and touchdowns.
Bruce Boyko (1987-1989) had 106 catches, 1,306 yards and eight touchdowns throughout his playing career as a Bronco.