During the Jim Harbaugh era of Michigan Football the program the best players at the cornerback position have predominantly been four-star recruits, and have been mid-round NFL Draft prospects. Here is a look at the top five corners of the Harbaugh era.
5. Channing Stribling (2013-2016)
Three-star recruit — No. 580 overall, No. 36 ATH in 2013 class
Stribling’s career at Michigan wasn’t always consistent, he did get burnt on occasion, but he had a lot of good Saturday’s wearing maize and blue. Stribling had an especially strong senior season in 2016, where he led the Big Ten in pass breakups during conference play. Stribling had 68 tackles, 22 pass breakups, and 6 interceptions during his Michigan career. While Stribling hasn’t found a legitimate home as a pro, he has made a living and sure has traveled around — since 2016, Stribling has been a member of the Cleveland Browns, Indianapolis Colts, San Francisco 49ers, Colts again, Los Angeles Chargers, Memphis Express, Hamilton Tiger-Cats, Seattle Dragons, the Tiger-Cats again, and currently playing for the Philadelphia Stars in the USFL. That’s a lot of traveling.
4. Lavert Hill (2016-2019)
Four-star recruit — No. 132 overall, No. 12 CB in 2016 class
Hill is one of just four Michigan corners to return multiple interceptions for touchdowns, and ranks sixth all-time in program history with 29 pass breakups. Hill was named first-team All-Big Ten in both 2018 and 2019. In all, Hill accumulated 56 tackles and six interceptions during his Michigan career. Hill went undrafted, was signed by the Kansas City Chiefs, then signed by the Eagles before joining the practice squads of both the Cardinals and 59ers last season.
3. Ambry Thomas (2017-2019)
Four-star recruit — No. 90 overall, No. 12 CB in 2017 class
Thomas’ Michigan career will be defined by his 2019 season in which became a testament of his willpower. Thomas was diagnosed with colitis in June of 2019, lost 35 pounds due to colon inflammation, but battled back and regained his strength and weight before the start of the season. Thomas would go on to record 38 tackles, three sacks, and three interceptions in 2019.
Thomas was drafted by the San Francisco 49ers with pick No. 102 in the third round. Thomas appeared in 12 games during his rookie campaign in 2021 and had 23 tackles and one interception.
2. David Long (2016-2018)
Four-star recruit — No. 65 overall, No. 7 CB in 2016 class
Long is the highest ranked recruit and highest drafted player on this list, but he comes in at No. 2 nonetheless. Per Pro Football Focus, “in 595 coverage snaps in his three seasons at Michigan, he was targeted 60 times and allowed all of 18 receptions — the vast majority of which were throws underneath — for 130 yards and a passer rating of 24.3. On targets 10-plus yards downfield, Long yielded only four completions on 29 attempts for 59 yards while breaking up 13.” While Long may have had just 37 tackles and 3 interceptions, his impact can’t be evaluated solely on statistics, he shut opponents down.
Long was drafted by the Los Angeles Rams with pick No. 79 in the third round of the 2019 NFL Draft. Long picked up a Super Bowl ring with the Rams this February and has 57 tackles and one interception in the NFL.
1. Jourdan Lewis (2013-16)
Four-star recruit — No. 116 overall, No. 10 CB in 2013 class
Lewis was a star at Michigan, and shined way more than he ever failed. 135 total tackles, 37 passes defended, and 6 interceptions. Lewis was a two-time All-American, 2016 consensus first team All-American, 2016 Big Ten Defensive Back of the Year, as well as a Jim Thorpe Award and Chuck Bednarik Award semifinalist. While Lewis made a lot of great plays throughout his Michigan career, none encapsulate his time in Ann Arbor more than an insane interception late in the 4th quarter against Wisconsin to seal the deal for Michigan.
Jourdan Lewis had the best interception of the year in college football against Wisconsin . pic.twitter.com/W1Er76fpnc
— Scott Bell (@ScottBellDMN) April 29, 2017
Lewis was drafted by the Dallas Cowboys in the 3rd round of the 2017 NFL Draft and has 237 total tackles, 7.5 sacks, and 7 interceptions throughout his five year NFL career.