The secondary is a position Michigan has had a lot of trouble recruiting over the recent years. Despite that, this is an area of strength for Team 133 as they return all key contributors from a year ago. Let’s take a look at the projected depth chart for the 2012 season.
Freshmen likely to redshirt: Terry Richardson
Looking at the corner position, the duo of Floyd and Countess is pretty good. Unfortunately for corners, most people only remember bad plays versus their good plays. Floyd had a shaky start to 2012 however rebounded well. His size is key as he’ll likely lineup on the strong side of the formation where he’ll be able to get his hands dirty in run support. To be considered for All Conference honors, he’ll have to do better in man coverage this year and show he is a true corner who can play zone or man. Blake Countess is another person in the secondary who is poised for a run at All Conference honors. Blake is easily the best pure cover corner on this roster. He has the hips and just enough speed to stay glued onto the receiver. He has good recovery speed and instincts which is tough to teach. The knock on Countess has been his size despite proving to be pretty good against the run however he has bulked up this offseason. Countess has been said to be the most improved defender on this team which is scary considering the season he put together as a true freshmen. At the nickel, Courtney Avery is a very similar corner to Countess. Avery is a very quick athlete, who, when put on an island can stick on the quicker slot receivers with relative ease. Some folks want a corner in the nickel who can be a run defender while others want guys who can cover the slot. Avery can provide a little of both. Although not the biggest or toughest corner, he is very smart and understands how to push a play back inside. He’ll be a key defender this year as he’ll continue to grow into a potential starter in 2013.
Michigan will return both starters at the safety position. Jordan Kovacs is the leader of the defense. He provides the leadership needed but also is the main communicator of the secondary. He makes sure the coverage’s are what they should be and helps with alignment across the back seven. He is also a great blitzer from the strong safety spot and is great in run support. He is not known for his coverage however his high football IQ puts him in the right spot to make plays when they are to be made. He’ll fight for All Conference honors this year as well. At the free safety spot, Thomas Gordon comes in as the projected started. He played well last year and showed a few glimpses of just what he is capable of. He doesn’t have the greatest height you would like in your free safety, however he is a great zone defender who is also very physical against the run. Being in the same defense for consecutive years while lining up next to Kovacs, one would think Gordon is primed to have a great year. He’ll also be pushed by true freshmen Jarrod Wilson who is more in a mold of a free safety then Gordon. Nothing will make you work harder then true competition therefore Wilson’s role is key to the development of Gordon. Kovacs will not have much competition as his backups are Marvin Robinson and Josh Furman, both who have had off-the-field issues. Robinson, overall, is a much better athlete however he is still learning the defense and learning the angles in both run support and zone coverage. When it all clicks for Robinson, he could turn out to be a great depth player this year and could replace Kovacs in 2013. Furman is very athletic and provides depth at both free safety and strong safety. It’ll be interesting to see his role over the course of the next two years.
Outside of early enrollee Jarrod Wilson, Michigan has 3 other freshmen who will try to make an impact for team 133. Whether the impact is on special teams or on the scout team will be determined. Terry Richardson is a great corner who has great acceleration and closing speed but is simply not ready physically. Jeremy Clark has the height but needs to develop physically before he can push for playing time at the free safety position while Allen Gant simply has too many upperclassmen ahead of him.