Hart IS the best back Michigan has ever had (Hart vs. Harmon)

 Hart vs. Harmon

  Hart Harmon
Total Rush Yards 4,655 2,134
TDs 39 33
Total Yards/Games Played 137 143

 The Michigan Daily recently picked up this thread as well.  Let me first say that, it is no contest who is the best overall player ever to wear the maize and blue.   Harmon wins hands down (see below summary on Harmon’s career) However, I think Mike Hart is the best running back we have ever had.  It is hard to make the comparison – games played/year; years played; complete career vs. partial; running back vs. guy to played two ways HB/QB/punter/place kicker.  The best stats on a head to head basis I think are yards per carry and rushing TDs per game.  On these metrics, it splits one for Hart and one for Harmon.  I have not been able to get fumbles stat on Harmon – Help? 

On balance, I think you have to look at total career rushing yards, yards per carry, fumbles, and rushing TDs. 

These stats go Hart’s way 3:1 Mike Hart is the best back we have ever had.  

Hart Career to date Rushing Stats:

Att: 929

Yd+: 4785Yd-: (130)

Net Yd: 4,655

Yd/Att: 5.0

TD: 37


100+ Games:22

200+ Games: 5

Avg Yds/Game Played: 122

Games Played: 38


Rush TDs/Games Played: 0.97 

Career Recieving Stats:

Recp: 65

Yds: 552

Yds/Recp: 8.5

TD: 2

Lng: 39 

Total Avg Yds/Games Played: 137

Total Avg TDs/Games Played: 1.02

Games Played: 38  

Harmon Career Rushing Stats:

Att: 398

Net Yd: 2,134

Yd/Att: 5.36

TD: 17

Passing: 1,304

Avg Yds/Game Played Rushing: 122

Total Avg Yds/Games Played: 137

Rush TDs/Games Played: 0.71


Career QB Stats:

Yds: 1,304

TD: 16 

Total Avg Yds/Games Played: 143

Total Avg TDs/Games Played: 1.37

Games Played: 24  


In his three seasons, old ninety-eight scored 33 touchdowns, kicked two field goals and kicked 33 points after touchdowns for 237 points, and threw 16 touchdown passes. He gained 3,438 yards rushing and passing, and played almost every minute of his three-year career. A solid 193 pounds, Harmon was a power runner noted for his cutbacks through tackles-usually with his ripped jersey. He was probably the finest ball carrier in the country in his time. Against Ohio State in his final college football game, Harmon went 11 for 12 throwing the ball for 151 yards and 2 TDs. He also ran for 139 yards and 2 TDs, kicked four extra points and intercepted three passes as the Wolverines trounced Ohio State 40-0.  In his final game at Michigan, Harmon led Michigan to a 40-0 victory at Ohio State, scoring three rushing touchdowns, two passing touchdowns and four extra points. When he left the field, the fans in Columbus gave him a standing ovation.  He became Michigan’s first Heisman Trophy winner following the 1940 season and also received the Chicago Tribune’s Silver Football as the Big Ten’s MVP.  He played 8 games and never left the field – the full 60 mins!



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3 responses to “Hart IS the best back Michigan has ever had (Hart vs. Harmon)

  1. cblue

    From Mr. Navin
    Impressive research. But I tend to think the case you made supports Harmon. Played both ways, played both QB and HB on offense, won a Heisman and beat OSU convincingly. Hart has done none of those things. Yet.:-)

    I’ll definitely agree that Hart is the best in our lifetimes though. Hands down. No RB has been tougher, more reliable, or a better leader than Hart. Oh, and I should mention that he’ll have 5000 yds before he’s done at UM.

    Let me pose one other question…Is Hart the best UM offensive player at any (skill) position in the last 40 years?

    My view – is that Hart is still the best guy from a stats point of view – hard to argue the OSU and Heisman as trump cards in close comparison…

  2. cblue

    Hmmm – I think has Harmon on the stats – but the ever important OSU win still hangs out there…we shall see. I think if UofM runs the table (unlikely) Harts still won’t get the Heisman.

    Best offensive player in the last 40 years is tougher. If he got the playing time, it was likely Brady. However, he only had two years of stats and a 25-20 record and 2-0 bowl record. As a result, I go with Hart.


    He sat on the bench his first two years as teammate and future NFL quarterback Brian Griese led the Wolverines to a national championship in 1997. When he enrolled at Michigan, Brady was seventh on the depth chart and had an intense struggle to get some playing time. At one point, Brady hired a sports psychologist to help him cope with frustration and anxiety and even considered transferring, frustrated by what seemed like a lack of opportunity.[9] Brady battled for the first string quarterback position with Drew Henson and ultimately started every game in the 1998 and 1999 seasons under Michigan head coach Lloyd Carr. During his first full year as starter, he set Michigan records for most pass attempts (350) and completions in a season (214).[10] Brady was All-Big Ten (honorable mention) both seasons and team captain his senior year. The Wolverines won 20 of 25 games when he started and shared the Big Ten Conference title in 1998. Brady capped that season off with a win over Arkansas in the Citrus Bowl. In the 1999 season, Brady led Michigan to an overtime win in the Orange Bowl over Alabama, throwing for 369 yards and four touchdowns.

    Brady led Michigan to an Orange Bowl victory in the 1999 season. In the 2000 NFL Draft, Brady was selected by the New England Patriots in the 6th round (199th overall).

    Widely regarded as one of the best playoff quarterbacks of his era,[2] Brady has won three Super Bowls (XXXVI, XXXVIII, XXXIX), two Super Bowl MVP awards (XXXVI and XXXVIII), and has been invited to four Pro Bowls, all with the Patriots. Additionally, Brady was Sports Illustrated’s Sportsman of the Year in 2005, and was named to the AP All-Pro Team in 2005

  3. cblue

    From Aaron:
    Looking at performance at UM alone, I’d say the debate is Hart or AC. When you consider that AC played for Bo, his accomplishments were amazing. I’d vote for Hart with his overall importance and impact on the team being the deciding factor.

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