The Michigan Wolverines have many returning pieces from last year’s defense, but the back end has been named by several as a bit of a concern with some vacated spots from last year. Much of this conversation has had to do with a cornerback room that no longer features Ambry Thomas and Lavert Hill.
Outside of Vincent Gray, some are still unsure of who Michigan will have penciled in at cornerback. Weeks of buzz have suggested a potential change for Daxton Hill moving from safety to corner and a versatile role for him, which head coach Jim Harbaugh addressed earlier this week on the radio.
“The talent, Dax might be our most talented player on the team, arguably. Very, very trusted, very good communicator in the backend,” he said. “Really knows the safety position and also the nickel position. He’s really, really good. Playing both safety and covering in the nickel slot. He’s been really good. Brad Hawkins, he is playing his best football since he’s been here, too. He’s a returning starter, so that’s saying something. Doing extremely well. Makari Paige, Hunter Reynolds – those two have been really good. Compliment both the Green brothers – German Green playing safety and special teams and Gemon Green is competing for the starting corner position alongside Vince Gray. Been happy with both safeties. Caden Kolesar, also playing safety and special teams. Those are the ones that are right there in the mix at safety and doing a really good job.”
There has been the chatter that Hill would get time at corner, but per Harbaugh it appears we have been talking about the wrong safety making a position change.
“Corners, there’s battles going on,” Harbaugh said. “Vince Gray – who’s starting. Who’s on the other side of Vince? You got Gemon Green — Sammy Faustin has moved from safety to corner. He’s doing a really nice job the last week since he’s been there. Also, I mentioned George Johnson and DJ Turner, Eamonn Dennis, Andre Seldon. All guys that are competing very strongly at the corner position.”
Regardless of who starts where, Michigan feels good about its positional flexibility on the back end of the defense and Harbaugh feels it gives them a chance to get the best group possible on the field at all times.
“Versatility is always a good thing, no doubt,” he said. “The players that are the most talented and give the most effort, the cream rises to the top and I think we’re seeing that. It does allow Coach Zordich and Don Brown the ability to — when a player has the versatility to do the best things for our team and get the best matchups, et cetera. I think all those things are a big bonus.”