Devin Gardner dons No. 98 jersey

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Michigan unretired Tom Harmon's No. 98 jersey and allowed quarterback Devin Gardner to wear it against Notre Dame.

Gardner wore No. 98 -- with a Michigan Football Legend patch -- Saturday night for the 17th-ranked Wolverines.

"It's difficult to say how honored I am to wear No. 98," Gardner said in a statement released by the school before the game. "You see Tom Harmon photos and prints all over our building, knowing all of the things he accomplished on the field for this program and then representing our country, and to have the opportunity to speak to his family today, it's kind of surreal. I'm extremely humbled and blessed."

Harmon became Michigan's first Heisman Trophy winner in 1940. He ran for 2,134 yards, connected on 100 passes for 1,304 yards and 16 touchdowns and scored 237 points. He also played defense, kicked and punted for the Wolverines.

"The best football player in the history of Michigan football could easily be Tom Harmon," athletic director Dave Brandon said.

Michigan unretired four numbers last season, honoring former President Gerald Ford (No. 48), Bennie Oosterbaan (No. 47), Ron Kramer (No. 87) and the Wistert brothers, Albert, Alvin and Francis, all of whom wore No. 11.

"The legends program as we've envisioned it has been a huge success," Brandon said. "It's terrific to bring back these legendary figures that have made such an impact in the whole creation of what is today Michigan football.

"We saved the best for last."

His son, Mark Harmon, star of hit TV show "NCIS" was part of the pregame ceremony.

"I think my father would be proud. He'd be embarrassed, but he'd be proud," Mark Harmon told reporters before the game. "He'd be embarrassed because he was a humble man, and he thought no one did it alone."

Harmon was a triple threat with his passing, running and punting as the tailback in Michigan's single-wing attack. He was the first player chosen in the 1940 NFL draft, picked by the Chicago Bears, but chose to sign with the New York Americans of a rival league.

He served in the Air Force during World War II and was awarded the Silver Star and the Purple Heart after twice bailing out of crippled planes. He returned from the war to play for the Los Angeles Rams in 1946 and 1947, but his legs were injured in combat and he was unable to match his earlier success. He died of a heart attack in 1990 at age 70.