With 75 days until the 2016 Michigan Football season, we look at All-American defensive end William Yearby. The Alabama native was 6-foot-3, 235 pounds and below are some of his career highlights/achievements:
- Yearby enrolled at the University of Michigan in 1962 and played college football for the Michigan Wolverines football team from 1963 to 1965.
- He was a member of the 1964 Michigan Wolverines football team that won the Big Ten Conference championship, played in the 1965 Rose Bowl, and was ranked #4 in the final AP Poll.
- He was selected by the Central Press Association, Football News, and Newspaper Enterprise Association as a first-team defensive tackle on the 1964 College Football All-America Team.
- As a senior, he was selected as a consensus All-American.
- He was named the Most Valuable Player on the 1965 Michigan Wolverines football team.
- Yearby was selected in the first round of the 1966 AFL Draft by the New York Jets.
- In December 1965, Time magazine described Yearby as “a vicious tackier, always on target, always gets his man — and not 5 yds. downfield, like most college kids.”
- The following week, Time noted that “Jets Owner Sonny Werblin signed Michigan’s 230-lb. tackle Bill Yearby to a contract at $1,000 per pound.
- He played only one season, 1966, for the Jets.
- Yearby was projected to play tight end for the Jets.
- In 1966, a bad knee limited him to spot appearances as a fill-in defensive end and special-teamer.
- In 1967, Yearby’s knee was still not right, and he was farmed out to the Bridgeport Knights of the Atlantic Coast Conference, who were the Jets’ minor league affiliate.
- While playing linebacker for the Knights, Yearby hurt his knee again, and his pro football career was over.
Yearby passed away on December 20, 2010.