Thursday, March 24, 2011
Spring superlatives: Michigan
By ESPN.com staff
The spring superlatives series, which examines the strongest and weakest position groups on each Big Ten squad, marches on with Michigan.
Strongest position: Wide receiver
Weakest position: Defensive back
- Key returnees: Roy Roundtree (72 receptions, 935 yards, 7 TDs); Darryl Stonum (49 receptions, 633 yards, 4 TDs); Junior Hemingway (32 receptions, 593 yards, 4 TDs); Kelvin Grady (17 receptions, 211 yards)
- Key losses: None
- The skinny: It's a close call between the receivers and the offensive line, but Michigan brings back everyone on the perimeter and must replace two starters (Stephen Schilling and Perry Dorrestein) up front. Several receivers made significant strides last season as Denard Robinson blossomed with his passing skills. Although Michigan's wideouts must limit dropped passes and adjust to a new system, they boast the experience and talent to help the unit this fall. Roundtree is a bona fide All-Big Ten candidate and Stonum, Hemingway and Grady all can stretch the field.
- Key returnees: S Jordan Kovacs (116 tackles, 8.5 tackles for loss, 2 interceptions, 1 sack, 1 forced fumble); CB Troy Woolfolk (46 tackles and a pass breakup in 12 starts in 2009); CB J.T. Floyd (66 tackles, 1 interception, 1 forced fumble, 4 pass breakups); S Cameron Gordon (77 tackles, 3 interceptions, 2 fumble recoveries, 3.5 tackles for loss)
- Key losses: CB James Rogers (40 tackles, 3 interceptions); S Ray Vinopal (33 tackles, 1 interception, 3 passes defended)
- The skinny: The secondary's struggles in 2010 were well documented as opposing teams consistently found gaps and attacked down the field. Several young players who had no business being on the field so early were tossed into the fire and got burned. The good news is Michigan should be healthier with Woolfolk's return, and players like Gordon, Floyd and Courtney Avery should benefit from a year under their belts. Michigan needs improved fundamentals from its defensive backs and far fewer breakdowns that lead to big gains for the opposition. The kicker position also could fit here after a disastrous 2010 season.