The Wolverine

April 2021

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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42 THE WOLVERINE APRIL 2021 DEFENSIVE BACKS BY THE NUMBERS 9 Defensive backs on U-M's spring roster were ranked as four- star recruits coming out of high school by or better. Daxton Hill was the only five star, but five more were listed as top-250 prospects na- tionally by the outlet. 12 Touchdown passes allowed by U-M in six games last year. The Wolverines allowed less than one or just over one per game in each of the previous four seasons under Jim Harbaugh — last year it was two per contest. 13 Passing plays of 30 yards or more allowed by Michigan last year. That was 69th na- tionally and made worse in noting the team played only six games, and 54 of the teams that fared bet- ter played in the same amount or more. WHO'S GONE Ambry Thomas opted out prior to last fall and is the only scholarship defensive back U-M must replace. WHO'S BACK FIFTH-YEAR SENIOR SAFETY BRAD HAWKINS He left the final contest of the year with an injury and was inconsistent, but still finished fourth with 39 stops. REDSHIRT SOPHOMORE CORNERBACK GEMON GREEN Green was one of the pleasant surprises last year and his nine pass breakups led the team by five. REDSHIRT SOPHOMORE CORNERBACK VINCENT GRAY Struggled in coverage and was picked on for much of last fall, but still notched 25 tackles and three pass breakups. SOPHOMORE SAFETY DAXTON HILL The former five-star is probably the team's most gifted athlete, and he's just scratching the surface of his potential. TOP NEWCOMER FRESHMAN SAFETY ROD MOORE The hard-hitting 5-11, 180-pounder will arrive this sum- mer, after earning first-team All-Ohio honors as a senior. "If nothing else, they got a lot of experience last year when some guys got thrown into the fire. They love Vince Gray's attitude and Gemon Green has got a great mentality to be a lockdown corner. He just wasn't ready to play yet. Ideally, they would have had two seniors at corner. "Safety play needs to be top-notch, and there's no reason it shouldn't be. Now they have to find some depth, so the guys they've recruited need to step up." — Michigan football sideline reporter Doug Karsch QUOTABLE POSITION BATTLE TO WATCH N ickel corner is going to be key, and the Wolver- ines need a fifth player to emerge. There are plenty of candidates, but the smaller guys with fluid hips — fresh- men Andre Seldon and Eamonn Den- nis, neither of whom tallied a statistic last year — could be the guys to watch. BY CHRIS BALAS T here's experience, potential star power … and yes, a whole lot of question marks in the defensive backfield after a season in which the Michigan secondary struggled mightily in pass coverage. The 2020 Wolverines al- lowed 255.5 yards passing per game, 96th of 127 teams nationally last year, and that was without facing Ohio State in the finale (canceled due to COVID). They were 70th in pass efficiency defense and had a hard time getting off the field on third down, ranking 101st nationally (opponents converted on 46.24 percent). U-M was playing without its best corner in opt-out Ambry Thomas and was breaking in a new starting corner (Gemon Green) and safety (Daxton Hill). All of the defensive backs struggled at one point or another in man coverage in former coordinator Don Brown's aggressive scheme, but each of the four starters in the backfield returns for another crack at it. SPRING FOOTBALL ANALYSIS . SPRING SCHOLARSHIP ROSTER No. Name Class Ht. Wt. Hometown 13 Eamonn Dennis Fr. 5-10 180 Worcester, Mass. 9 Sammy Faustin R-So. 6-2 200 Naples, Fla. 4 Vincent Gray R-So. 6-2 190 Rochester, Mich. 22 Gemon Green R-So. 6-2 181 DeSoto, Texas 33 German Green R-So. 6-2 181 DeSoto, Texas 28 Darion Green-Warren Fr. 6-0 180 Torrance, Calif. 20 Brad Hawkins 5th-Sr. 6-1 218 Camden, N.J. 30 Daxton Hill So. 6-0 192 Tulsa, Okla. 24 George Johnson R-Fr. 6-0 193 Stuart, Fla. 14 Quinten Johnson R-Fr. 5-11 200 Silver Spring, Md. 31 Jordan Morant Fr. 6-0 207 Parsippany, N.J. 6 R.J. Moten Fr. 6-0 213 Delran, N.J. 7 Makari Paige Fr. 6-3 192 West Bloomfield, Mich. 16 Jalen Perry R-Fr. 6-0 185 Dacula, Ga. 27 Hunter Reynolds* R-Jr. 6-0 192 South Orange, N.J. 0 Andre Seldon Fr. 5-8 172 Belleville, Mich. 5 D.J. Turner R-Fr. 6-0 182 Suwanee, Ga. Position coaches: Co-defensive coordinator and cornerbacks coach Maurice Linguist (first year at U-M), and safeties coach Ron Bellamy (first year at U-M) * Former walk-on PHOTO BY LON HORWEDEL DAXTON HILL

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