Michigan Wolverines: Rebuilding the Defense — Defensive Backs — Part II
Blake Countess will play corner and maybe some nickel. Go back and watch him at nickel and it appears that he had some good success, even considering the observation that his speed was not fully recovered from his Alabama game injury. Such injuries usually demonstrate more speed and mobility about 18 months after an ACL tear. Even with his difficulties, Countess accounted for six of Michigan’s seventeen interceptions; a trait that demonstrates he understands what is going on and knows how to react. Blake came to Michigan highly rated and has worked hard to recover from his injury. He is simply a nice foundation around which to place younger players.
Of all the Cass Tech defensive backs that have made their way to Michigan, Jourdan Lewis has a chance to be the best. He is somewhat small, but has excellent start and recovery speed. He also is not afraid to mix it up. With good coaching, and experience that will boost confidence and decision making, Jourdan could become one of the top corners in the league. He seems to fit the in your face, up close and personal alignment of the cover two defense.
Michigan wanted bigger corners and filled that need with the commitment of Channing Stribling. Channing likes to mix it up but was somewhat limited by his light frame. He will grow and where he ends up in the defensive backfield may still be up in the air.Raymon Taylor got toasted going down the stretch. Many times he was locked up as receivers ran past him. A cornerback needs to have a short memory and therefore must accept the mantra that last year was indeed last year. Raymon was recruited as an athlete, but early on it was clear defensive back was his destination. He will play considerable time this year and must execute assignments, physically and mentally, much better than last year to protect Michigan from giving up big plays.
Expect some of the young reserves to see a few plays in most games.
The safety position at Michigan has been maligned for years. Strangely, several who were maligned ended up doing well either after transferring or graduating.Jarrod Wilson finds himself in a strange position as he is by far the elder statesman of the safety group. Jarrod is hard working and very coachable. He has good physical traits. His success this year depends on achieving a greater understanding of the new scheme and having the confidence to let it fly. Wilson is a decent hitter and his recruitment was thought to be a first step toward improving the safety position.
Dymonte Thomas is one of the better athletes on the team and was the next step in improving the secondary. He is another Michigan recruit who, as is becoming a certain custom, started off trying out for a cornerback spot. Safety is his current destination. The talent is certainly present. Dymonte as an athlete could play other positions, but safety seems the safe bet for success. What will need to disappear is hesitancy and Thomas will need to work on quick reactions to what occurs on the field. He was the highest ranked defensive back recruit Michigan signed for years, until the guy below.Jabrill Peppers is a prized recruit. He has an incredible combination of size and speed for a cornerback or safety. There seems to be two types of fan reactions to Peppers: first is the fan group who has already anointed him as the next Charles Woodson; the second group finds that hard to believe and so extreme and unneeded skepticism has taken root. This guy is a total physical specimen with plenty of extreme confidence. He may end up being a special type of player who is also a special type of person. His focus and perceptive abilities are strong. Like everything else, time will tell.
Delano Hill is a guy with good size, capable of a good hit, and a player who has decent skills both against the run and pass. Once committed to Iowa, Michigan stepped up the recruiting process and Delano then switched his commitment. He is another young Michigan defensive back with decent skills. It would not be a shock to see him play quite a bit this year.
Jeremy Clark is an unusually tall safety at 6’ 4” and is now over 200 pounds. He was an under the radar recruit who could provide strong run support. His strong suit may be run support.
So, there you have it, a familiar scene, plenty of candidates and much remaining to be seen. But that will be the case for many positions groups this year, indeed, the entire team.
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Written by GBMWolverine Staff — Doc4Blu
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Tags: Blake Countess Channing Stribling Coach Greg Mattison Delano Hill Dymonte Thomas Football Jabrill Peppers Jarrod Wilson Jeremy Clark Jourdan Lewis Michigan Football Michigan Wolverines Raymon Taylor