Donovan Warren said today that he is "heavily leaning" towards forgoing his senior season and entering the NFL draft. Donovan confirmed that he has submitted his name to the NFL's advisory committee for feedback on how the NFL sees his draft stock, but says that he plans on making his final decision within two weeks.
Obviously Donovan has been the sole bright spot of the secondary the past two seasons and it wouldn't be helpful, to say the least, for him to leave early and create an open starting cornerback spot. I think based on his comments today, that he's gone and in a way it's not surprising. He's been dogged by some minor injuries the past two seasons, but when completely healthy, he's shown he can be a shut-down cornerback. With the uncertainty of the NFL and the CBA, I would expect several junior players leave early for the draft with the belief that a new CBA will lead to a rookie salary cap.
If Donovan's gone, where does that leave Michigan? I think that Troy Woolfolk definitely stays at cornerback now, it would be nice to see his speed and athleticism at safety, but he's now Michigan's most experienced returning cornerback since Boubacar Cissoko was kicked off the team and Donovan's all but gone. The competition for the other starting cornerback spot should be high. Justin Turner might be the favorite, given his recruiting hype and the fact that he has a year in the system already, but Cullen Christian will probably be the other leading contender. Other players to keep an eye on would be Tony Grimes, a cornerback recruit who is all but a Michigan lock, and Teric Jones, who saw some playing time at cornerback this year. Players who are likely on the outside looking in are James Rogers, Adrian Witty, Terrence Talbott, and Courtney Avery. Rogers is a player who has bounced from position to position without ever generating much buzz and at least one of the freshmen cornerback will likely redshirt. The only upside in this scenario is that Michigan still has impressive depth at cornerback and I think that J.T. Floyd probably still moves to safety this offseason.