Gemon Green came in to 2021 as the top cornerback on the Michigan Wolverines. However, DJ Turner had an absolutely lockdown season and quickly emerged as an unheralded star to the Wolverines defense, and dethroned Green for the top spot. Now, five-star true freshman Will Johnson will be pushing for a starting role. Will Green give him a chance to take it? Let’s dig into the fifth-year’s journey so far and what 2022 could bring.
The story so far
Gemon and his twin brother, German, both came to Ann Arbor in 2018 out of Desoto, Texas. The three-stars both redshirted their freshmen seasons.
In 2019, Gemon started to make a few plays on special teams. Then, he played corner in the blowout of Notre Dame. He was poised to compete for a larger role in 2020 based on his progression.
Then, Ambry Thomas opted out of the 2020 season and all hell broke loose in the Michigan secondary. Vincent Gray went from a good option at CB2 to the top guy and that second spot was up for grabs. Green eventually won the job and statistically was much better than Gray in a secondary that struggled mightily overall.
The 2021 season wound up being very advantageous for the Wolverines with Turner’s aforementioned leap. He took control of the top spot on the depth chart because of his dominant play, but Green started the season there and lost the gig to the younger player. By season’s end, he was fighting with Gray for snaps on the outside in coverage. Now, this is because Gray had a bounce-back season, but I don’t think we saw Green take that next step so many had hoped for.
Green started only six of 12 games last season and registered just one interception. Mike Macdonald’s scheme helped the entire cornerback room perform at a much higher level in the Big Ten Championship run.
Outlook for 2022
Green let a younger player surpass him once, and if he isn’t careful, it could happen again. Will Johnson will have a learning curve coming into the collegiate game, but five-star guys usually see the field early and often. Johnson’s unique combination of size and speed is going to be really appealing to Jesse Minter.
Green has the potential to be a really solid starting corner in this Michigan defense. Johnson has a chance to be a superstar.
At the very least, Green will be subbing in for different packages similar to his role last season. He will more than likely be the Week 1 starter but if Johnson comes in and is making plays and shutting down receivers early on, things may be reevaluated.