Less than one week after the former All-Big Ten first-team selection announced he would transfer from Michigan for his fifth and final season, cornerback Blake Countess is on an official visit to Arizona and former Michigan head coach Rich Rodriguez, according to a report from Daniel Berk of the Arizona Daily Star:
Former Michigan CB Blake Countess is in Tucson for an official visit. All Big 10 first-team in 2013. Likely to decide in next couple weeks.— Daniel Berk (@DSBerk) May 19, 2015
This is the first reported visit for Countess, who will be eligible for the 2015 season as a graduate transfer. When Countess committed to Michigan as a four-star recruit in December 2010, Rodriguez was still the head coach at Michigan. Rodriguez was fired less than a month later after Michigan was trounced by Mississippi State in the 2011 Gator Bowl, ending his third season in Ann Arbor with a 15-22 record. Nonetheless, Countess affirmed his commitment to Michigan when Brady Hoke was hired to replace Rodriguez.
Countess had a promising start to his career before a disappointing redshirt junior season in 2014. He worked his way into the starting lineup as a true freshman during Michigan's 11-2, Sugar Bowl-winning season in 2011. In 2013, after sitting out the 2012 season with a torn ACL, he tallied six interceptions, which matched the most by a Wolverine in a season since Charles Woodson had eight in 1997, and 169 interception return yards, which were the third-most in the nation. However, last season, Michigan switched its base defensive coverage from soft zone to man press, and Countess struggled in the new scheme. After he was burned against Notre Dame and Rutgers in the first few weeks of the year, Countess was demoted from starting corner to nickelback.
Countess still was expected to compete for a starting spot on the outside alongside Jourdan Lewis in 2015. But, two days after Michigan announced that Stanford graduate transfer and cornerback Wayne Lyons would spend his final season in Ann Arbor -- a not-well-hidden secret -- Countess announced he'd transfer from Michigan.
Stay tuned to Maize n Brew for more updates on this developing story.