New college football trophy plays homage to historic Black player

Northwestern quarterback Ryan Hilinski is sacked by Michigan defensive ends Mike Morris (90) and Aidan Hutchinson during the first half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Oct. 23, 2021, in Ann Arbor, Mich. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio) (Carlos Osorio, Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

College football trophies have a tendency to be quirky, whether it’s the Old Brass Spittoon, the Little Brown Jug, the Iron Skillet, the Bronze Boot or the Golden Egg.

But the newest trophy that’s been created is a nice tribute to not only Black history, but one of the most significant moments in college football history.

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With a 33-7 win over Northwestern on Saturday, the University of Michigan became the initial winner of the George Jewett Trophy, which from now will be handed out to the winner between Michigan and Northwestern.

Jewett may have died 113 years ago, but he is a tremendous historical figure in college football, given he was the first African-American football player to ever play at both Michigan and Northwestern, as well as in the Big 10 conference overall.

Born and raised in Ann Arbor, Jewett was a standout in track, football and baseball in high school and spoke four languages -- English, German, Italian and French -- according to an article on

He went to play for Michigan’s football team after enrolling at the university in 1890, and went on to score 298 points for the Wolverines during the 1892 season.

A year later, Jewett left Michigan to complete his medical degree at Northwestern following a reported dispute with the dean of the medical school at Michigan.

At Northwestern, Jewett played for the school’s football team in 1893 before starting a career in the medical field.

The trophy itself is a large one, given it is 36 inches tall.

It is also made of bronze and features Jewett in a football uniform and a lab coat with books, a football and a medical bag.

The trophy also allows Jewett to face either the U-M or Northwestern sides that are along the base.

During the game on Saturday, members of the Jewett family were honored on the field during a ceremony.

Check out Michigan Football’s announcement of the trophy by clicking here.

About the Author

Keith is a member of Graham Media Group's Digital Content Team, which produces content for all the company's news websites.

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