Sept. 29, 2010
By Richard Retyi
Michigan freshmen Jibreel Black and Will Hagerup were once accepted as a part of Hoosier nation -- younger brothers of Indiana defensive lineman Larry Black and punter Chris Hagerup. On Saturday, Will and Jibreel will enter a familiar stadium but expect to receive a very unfamiliar welcome.
"It can be a wild crowd," says Black. "The student section is right behind the visiting bench."
"I hope my family doesn't boo me," jokes Hagerup. "I don't know, Indiana fans seem nice."
It won't be the first time the Wolverine freshmen set foot in The Rock.
Black and Hagerup each have older brothers that play for the Hoosier football team -- Will's brother Chris is a punter and Jibreel's brother Larry is a defensive tackle. On Saturdays, Jibreel and Will made the trip to Bloomington to watch their brothers compete at Memorial Stadium. Will remembers his freshman brother booming a 67-yard punt against Michigan State. Jibreel remembers going to every home game as a sophomore and junior.
Chris is three years older than Will and helped pave the way for his little brother's journey in football. Chris had natural talent and kicked and punted for Whitefish Bay High School in Wisconsin from his sophomore year on. Chris earned a scholarship and went to Indiana, inspiring his younger brother to do the same.
Jibreel's brother Larry is only two years older, allowing the brothers to play side by side for one year in high school. Larry lined up at defensive tackle and Jibreel played defensive end at Wyoming High School in Wyoming, the pair wreaking havoc on opposing offensive lines. Larry got a scholarship to Indiana and Jibreel wanted to follow in his footsteps and team up with his brother in college.
"I really wanted to be a Hoosier," says Jibreel.
But it didn't turn out that way in the end.
Will and Chris have their own brand of competition but never on the football field.
"We played a lot of tennis against each other," says Will. "Video games, soccer, baseball. Things like who can throw faster."
Jibreel credits his brother with getting him involved in football, which he didn't start playing until his freshman year of high school.
"I had a knack for it but my middle school didn't have a team," Jibreel says.
Now the younger brothers find themselves in a familiar setting but seeing the game from a unique vantage point -- looking across the field at their older brothers wearing different colored uniforms.
"I usually watch our offense, but I'll probably be watching Larry on Saturday," says Jibreel.
Will's entire family will be in attendance. Parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins.
"Indiana is a fun place," Will says. "Visiting teams get booed, but I don't think they'll be extra mean to me."
Jibreel's reception might be a little icier. He went to all of Indiana's games as a sophomore and junior in high school, as well as most of Indiana's home games as a senior, until the day he decided he didn't want to be a Hoosier any longer.
"This will be the first time I've been back since I decommitted," says Jibreel
"Indiana has a lot of tradition and a lot of pride," he says. "It's going to be a wild crowd."