There are many uncertainties surrounding college football right now. The 2020 season is still in jeopardy, and even if a season does occur it will do so likely in empty stadiums with a conference-only schedule. Still, it is never too early to take a look at the Michigan depth chart and the players slated to contribute whenever football does resume. Join us as we comb through the roster and answer key questions heading into this fall.
Sammy Faustin, redshirt SO
247 Composite Ranking: 3 stars (CB 54, Overall 592)
2019 Stats: 2 tackles
Like most places on the roster, the backup safety positions are a wide open battle. Brad Hawkins and Daxton Hill are essentially locks for the starting roles, but the depth chart after them is uncertain. This leaves room for someone like Sammy Faustin to force his way into the rotation with a quality preseason camp.
Faustin saw limited action as a redshirt freshman, appearing mostly on special teams, but getting three games at safety. With some cornerback experience in high school, he also seems like a candidate for the nickel spot, giving him multiple paths for playing time this fall. He is quite unproven, but has the skill set to at least see an increased number of snaps in 2020.
Does Faustin have the best case for a backup safety role?
A modest recruit, Faustin was likely an appealing prospect because of his size. He has great length and decent athleticism, making him a player that could fill a couple different roles in the defensive backfield and worth taking a flyer on. While he did not get a ton of playing time in 2019, the fact that he got on the field is a good sign for his odds of a role this fall.
Faustin was noted for being strong in coverage as a recruit, having good fluidity and backpedaling and offering solid ball skills. He does not possess elite speed, though, and does not look like an outside corner at the collegiate level, but given his size and his makeup, he should be able to fit into a few places in the Michigan defense.
I think free safety makes a ton of sense for Faustin, and while he is not going to surpass Hill, he could be a decent rotational option when needed. The other spot for him would be as the slot corner, as he can track players inside and can use his length to make passes tough over the middle. This route may be easier to find the field, but without a ton of clear safety choices, the Wolverines could opt to keep Faustin deeper in the formation.
Regardless of where he is used, Faustin seems like a relatively safe choice as a backup. He is unlikely to become a star, but his build and his experience make him a reliable piece for the secondary rotation. It is difficult to project which young players will see real snaps this fall, but Faustin should be one of the first names to be called at safety.