The Michigan Wolverines have a handful of question marks on the defensive side of the ball, namely on the back end in the cornerback room. This time last year, Lavert Hill and Ambry Thomas formed one of the best secondary duos in the country. Hill would move on via graduation, while Thomas opted out ahead of the season to prepare for the 2021 NFL Draft.
This leaves redshirt sophomore Vincent Gray as the No. 1 cornerback on the roster, and by all accounts he has performed well in practice and is up to the task. The question now becomes who starts opposite him on the boundary and while the competition is ongoing, it does appear there is a leader for the spot.
Defensive coordinator Don Brown spoke on the Inside Michigan Football radio show on Monday night and updated the progress of the cornerback room.
“Obviously, we wish Ambry nothing but success. But DJ Turner’s been working really hard. Jalen Perry also working really hard... and Gemon Green has really played well,” Brown said. “He’s a guy that’s been with us for a period of time, always had the athletic ability, conceptually. He’s kind of put it all together, so we feel really good about him.
“Young guys, George Johnson and Andre Seldon, are really doing well. This Kechaun Harris, who is a former track guy here, he shows that track speed every day. And we’ve got a young guy from Massachusetts, Eamonn Dennis, who can flat out fly. Most of his high school play was on the offensive side, well he’s learning to play corner, and the one thing that shines is 4.38 forty. We’re trying to get him up to speed, but he’s with the best corners coach in the country, so he’ll be just fine.
“But we’re challenging those guys every day. Vincent Gray is the unquestionable leader, and who’s going to be the second guy? Well, that’s why we call it practice. And one day, one guy looks really good. Another day, another guy looks really good. I’d also lean on that Gemon Green’s done a good job there. I would say he’s probably the leader in the clubhouse right now, but that challenge is far from over.”
For those who might need a refresher on Green, he was a member of Michigan’s 2018 recruiting class and was a three-star prospect (No. 382 overall player), per the 247Sports composite rankings. His twin brother, German Green, also plays for Michigan at safety and was a three-star prospect, as well. The two were a package deal out of DeSoto, Texas and committed to the Wolverines in April 2017.
Green, who stands at 6-foot-2 and 181 pounds, has long been a player the staff have been waiting to put it together on the field, as several have mentioned him as a high-ceiling player. It appears that work has been put in and he is at the very least in the running for an expanded role this year.
Padded practices began on Sept. 30 and there is still over two weeks until Michigan plays its first game, so there is plenty of time for this battle to play itself out on the field. Green developing into a trustworthy cornerback could be good news for a room that has a lot of unknowns at the moment.