Michigan Football Preview 2019

Digital Edition

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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Page 109 of 179

108 ■ THE WOLVERINE 2019 FOOTBALL PREVIEW BY CHRIS BALAS T here's not much flashy about Michigan senior safety Josh Me- tellus. The former Pembroke Pines (Fla.) Flanagan three-star prospect was the least heralded of three teammates who traveled north to Ann Arbor four years ago as part of head coach Jim Harbaugh's first full recruiting class of his own, join- ing "the two Devins" (linebackers Bush and Gil), and — fair or not — some even sur- mised he was offered just to help land future All-American Bush. His offer list did include some Florida schools, only their names included "Atlan- tic" and "International," while Middle Ten- nessee State, South Alabama and Georgia Southern were also in pursuit. To be blunt, he was almost an afterthought like the "player to be named later" in a blockbuster Major League Baseball trade. Metellus didn't pay attention to any of it (or if he did, he wouldn't admit it). He started grinding the second he got to Ann Arbor, determined to make an early impact. Three years later he's become one of the most experienced, reliable defenders on a unit that has finished in the top two nation- ally in pass defense the last two seasons (No. 1 in 2017 and No. 2 in 2018). He has played in 33 games in his career, having started 25 at safety, has racked up 113 tackles, intercepted three passes and broke up 11 more, many with reckless aban- don for his body. The big hitter was an hon- orable mention All-Big Ten honoree two years ago and a first-teamer (Associated Press) last year after tying for the Wolverines team lead with three interceptions and notch- ing 48 tackles (fifth on the squad) during the 2018 campaign. Once a two-star prospect, he'd gotten so good that some wondered if he might forego his senior year for a shot at the NFL. He asked for and received his NFL evaluation before announcing Dec. 30 — just a day after a humbling Peach Bowl loss to Florida — that he'd be back for one more year. "I just want to thank all the true fans who have stuck with this team through the ups and downs of this past season," he wrote. "Although it wasn't what we wanted, it still was a great learning experience that I wouldn't go through with anyone else. "This team is special and is going to do special things. I'm excited to come back and play my final year with these men. We are ROCK SOLID Steady Senior Safety Josh Metellus Returns With One Goal In Mind

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