Former Michigan fullback Rob Lytle, the seventh all-time leading rusher in school history and a 1976 All-American, died on Saturday of a heart attack. He was 56 years old.â†µ
A native of Fremont, Ohio, Lytle played at Michigan from 1973 to 1976. At the time he finished his career with the Wolverines, he was the school's all-time leading rusher. Lytle rushed for 3,317 yards and 26 touchdowns in 556 carries. Michigan was 38-5-3 overall during Lytle's career.â†µ
For his senior season in 1976, Lytle ran for 1,496 yards and 14 touchdowns. He finished third in the Heisman Trophy balloting (behind Pitt's Tony Dorsett and USC's Ricky Bell) and was named first-team All-American. Lytle also won the Big Ten's Most Valuable Player award and was named first-team all-conference.â†µ
His 3,615 all-purpose yards are the 10th-highest total in Michigan football history.â†µ
"Somebody was talking about the greatest backs in history of the Big Ten and they happened to interview me and I said Rob Lytle belonged in that category," former U-M offensive line coach Jerry Hanlon said today. "Not only was he a great runner, but he just as well enjoyed knocking down a linebacker or safety as running a 25 yard touchdown.â†µ
Lytle went on to play seven seasons in the NFL with the Denver Broncos, finishing with 2,013 yards from scrimmage and 14 touchdowns in his career. In his rookie season, the Broncos made it to the Super Bowl.