Michigan has young talent to replenish its secondary. Will it be enough?
Note: This is the second story in an ongoing offseason series examining Michigan football’s position groups. They have the young talent to do it, with some more ready than others, and the scheme to make it happen. ■ Safety appears a bit more fluid, and deep, suggesting another five-man backfield could be in the cards for Michigan this fall. It’s certainly possible, and could give Michigan another option in its ongoing effort to improve forcing turnovers. Read more on Michigan football:Kickoff time unveiled for Michigan season opener; first night game setQB Shea Patterson, No.mlive.com
Michigan’s Brad Hawkins, Vincent Gray, Donovan Jeter sign with NFL teams after going undrafted
Five Michigan players realized their NFL dreams when their names were called during the 2022 draft. Cornerback Vincent Gray, safety Brad Hawkins and defensive tackle Donovan Jeter were the latest to latch on with NFL teams Saturday night as undrafted free agents. The trio joins defensive tackle Christopher Hinton (New York Giants) and linebacker Josh Ross (Baltimore Ravens) to ink undrafted free agent agreements. Like most Michigan defensive backs in 2020, Gray had a rocky season in his first season as a starter. Buy Wolverines gear: Fanatics, Nike, Amazon, LidsBuy Wolverines tickets: StubHub, SeatGeek, TicketmasterStream Wolverines games live: fuboTV, ESPN+, Slingmlive.com
NFL draft 2022: A guide to Michigan’s long list of prospects
It’s NFL draft week, with the annual three-day event set to kickoff on Thursday night (8 p.m. It sure looks that way, but there’s intrigueESPN draft analyst Todd McShay said Michigan safety Dax Hill could be an option for the Eagles to take in April's NFL Draft. He’s beefy, he’s smart and he’s reliable, all the traits necessary to play at the next level. Of Michigan’s prospects this year, Stueber probably interviewed best — helping his case in a draft class populated by defensive ends and wideouts. He’s long, has good footwork and is a natural cover-corner, which should make him appealing at the NFL level.mlive.com
Michigan’s Brad Hawkins ‘frustrated’ by combine snub, but eager for NFL shot
But safety Brad Hawkins, a three-year starter for the Wolverines and third-team all-Big Ten selection in 2021, was curiously left off the list. That left Friday’s pro-day workout in Ann Arbor, an event overshadowed by a potentially fatal injury to linebacker David Ojabo, as as vital part of the defensive back’s portfolio to show NFL teams. “I just continue to keep my head straight and grind away.”In a way, that comment described Hawkins’ Michigan tenure prophetically. But there are questions about Hawkins’ sideline-to-sideline speed and his play in coverage, clouding his future at the NFL level. “It was really, as I see it, just one opportunity,” Hawkins said of Friday’s pro-day workouts.mlive.com
‘Dude’s about to be elite.’ NFL draft hopefuls predict Michigan football’s next standout player
INDIANAPOLIS — The NFL Scouting Combine is typically known as a place for outgoing Michigan players to look forward. He’s going to be a guy behind the Aidan Hutchinson spot, the edge spot,” Ross said. “Kris Jenkins is also a great football player — and I feel like he’s really going to flourish this year,” Hinton said. Up front, outgoing tackle Andrew Stueber likes what Karsen Barnhart brings to the table along the line. “Greg Crippen is going to be a great player as well.mlive.com
NFL Combine 2022: Hutchinson, Ojabo highlight Michigan’s 8 prospects headed to Indy
It’s one of the biggest and most important events of the NFL draft every year, and can help make or break a prospect’s stock. Highlights: Third-team all-Big Ten (2021); 21 starts at corner(*As of August 2021, via Michigan.) The redshirt junior never earned an invite from a post-season all-star game, forcing NFL scouts to rely on his game film. Highlights: Second-team All-American (AFCA, 2021); First-team all-Big Ten selection (coaches, 2021); 22 starts along offensive line(*As of February 2022, via the Senior Bowl.) Stueber enters combine week riding high as part of Michigan’s best-in-the-nation offensive line and a strong showing at the Senior Bowl.mlive.com
Eight Michigan players earn NFL combine invites
Eight players from the University of Michigan have earned invites to the NFL’s annual scouting combine in Indianapolis. It can be an exhausting week for players, but an important one that helps solidify or impact a player’s draft stock. He currently projects as a late-Day 1 or early-Day 2 pick, and his performance in Indianapolis could help sway NFL teams. Both players got plenty of experience at Michigan, and won a lot of games, which isn’t lost on NFL teams looking for plug-and-play special teams contributors. The only Michigan player to declare for the NFL draft and not receive a combine invite was receiver Daylen Baldwin, the transfer from Jackson State.mlive.com
Michigan DB Vincent Gray declares for NFL draft
Another member of Michigan’s vaunted defense is declaring for the NFL draft. Vincent Gray, a senior defensive back and two-year starter for the Wolverines, announced on Instagram Saturday plans to enter the 2022 draft. “Thank you to the University of Michigan and entire Michigan football program for the opportunity of a lifetime,” Gray wrote. Post-season grades: Michigan, Jim Harbaugh a smashing success in 2021“This defense gives us a great chance to compete against receivers,” Gray said in late-October, ahead of the annual game against Michigan State. Another starter, safety Brad Hawkins, is out of eligibility.mlive.com
Michigan football’s 7 lowest-ranked recruits from 2018 help pave way for playoff season
Michigan football landed another top-10 recruiting class during the early signing period last week, but it’s the bottom third of Jim Harbaugh’s most criticized class that has elevated the Wolverines to a playoff appearance.
Michigan CBs had rivalry game circled after deep-ball debacle last year
ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Vincent Gray says Michigan’s secondary was ill-prepared and looking past rival Michigan State last year when the Spartans took to the air and pulled off the upset. MSU’s 27-24 win in Ann Arbor not only derailed a hot start for Michigan, but exposed the team’s flaw defending the pass. Then-Michigan State quarterback Rocky Lombardi threw for a career-high 323 yards and three touchdowns in the game, while receiver Ricky White turned in a career performance himself with eight catches for 196 yards.mlive.com
Live updates: Michigan, Western Michigan kick off 2021 season
Michigan and Western Michigan will meet for the eighth time on Saturday, with this matchup kicking off the 2021 season for both teams. Continue to refresh this page as MLive will be providing live updates throughout the game. Kickoff is slated for noon at Michigan Stadium. Michigan vs. Western Michigan score predictions from MLive’s beat writersThe Wolverines have won all seven previous meetings between the two schools, including a 49-3 drubbing in 2018. However, they are coming off a 2-4 season and will be debuting a new-look defense Saturday under first-year coordinator Mike Macdonald.mlive.com
What we’ll be watching for in Michigan football’s opener vs. Western Michigan
But with practices closed to media, Saturday’s season-opener against Western Michigan at Michigan Stadium (noon, ESPN) will give us a first glimpse of this 2021 roster. Michigan vs. Western Michigan score predictions from MLive’s beat writersHere is what we will be watching for:How comfortable will Michigan look in its new defensive scheme? Installing a new system takes time and it likely will take a few games for the players to get adjusted. Can’t wait.”RELATED: With fans back in 2021, protecting home-field advantage a top priority for Michigan footballWho will surprise on Saturday? Michigan will need some of those players to break out in 2021 if it is going to have a successful season.mlive.com
Michigan’s new defensive scheme ‘a really good change,’ CB Vincent Gray says
ANN ARBOR -- Michigan senior cornerback Vincent Gray felt reinvigorated after meeting new defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald for the first time. The 34-year-old former Baltimore Ravens assistant is bringing a new energy and a new scheme to the Wolverines – a fresh philosophy that Gray welcomed. “I did think it was gonna be a really good change,” Gray told reporters Tuesday outside of Schembechler Hall. “It’s night and day.”Michigan asked a lot out of its cornerbacks under previous defensive coordinator Don Brown. But over this offseason, being around Coach Macdonald and Coach Clink – and even Coach Mo (Linguist) in the spring – we just learned so much more about what the offenses would bring to us.mlive.com
D.J. Turner pushing older Vincent Gray for starting CB spot at Michigan
With Michigan set to begin preseason camp on Friday, much of the discussion remains centered around the defense. Michigan State first exposed those deficiencies in a Week 2 upset win in Ann Arbor, then Indiana followed up a week later. But with both players, Vincent Gray and Gemon Green, back and several underclassmen waiting in the wing — opportunities will be had during the month of August. Meanwhile, on the other side, Gray — the senior and most experienced player of the group — is locked in a battle with the emerging D.J. Turner has emerged as a real threat to Vincent Gray’s starting spot.mlive.com
Michigan’s secondary could benefit from change in defensive scheme
Don Brown’s aggressive, man-press defensive scheme was welcomed by his players because it put them in control of the game. But a new defensive coordinator, Mike Macdonald, and new scheme could help alleviate some of that pressure and responsibility in 2021. We’ll get into that in a moment, but first, a look at who’s back in the secondary for Michigan this fall. Departing: Jared Davis (walk on)Returning: Andre Seldon (cornerback), Vincent Gray (cornerback), D.J. If Michigan elects to drop more defensive players back against opposing offenses, you could see better results in the back end.mlive.com
Michigan defense a work in progress, but secondary takes step forward in coverage
But Michigan was able to take away the deep go and post routes that have plagued them for much of this season. Redshirt sophomore Gemon Green received the highest coverage grade of any Wolverines player all season, an impressive 90.2 mark out of 100 from Pro Football Focus. “Gemon Green had a very good game and was particularly good in man-to-man coverage,” Harbaugh told reporters Monday. “Good to see that progress made there,” Harbaugh said on Monday’s “Inside Michigan Football” radio show. “Coverage was much improved.”But overall, the defense remains a work in progress.mlive.com
Two OL inching closer to return, plus 4 other things we learned about Michigan football this week
Here are five things we learned about Michigan football this week heading into Saturday’s game at Michigan Stadium. Gray was asked by a reporter who he expects to start at quarterback for PSU but misheard the question and thought he was asked who will start for Michigan. “From the looks of it, I think Cade is going to be starting at quarterback for us this Saturday,” Gray said. Offensive line coach Ed Warinner said Wednesday that both are practicing this week and could be available for Saturday’s game. He is a naturally good football player.”Get Wolverine Confidential texts straight to your phone from our Michigan football writers.mlive.com
Vincent Gray, Michigan DBs work to avoid getting ‘too handsy’ with opponents
Redshirt sophomore Vincent Gray said he and his fellow cornerbacks, a group that includes starter Gemon Green and backups Jalen Perry and D.J. Turner, were told to make better use of their hands while lining up at the line scrimmage. And, to avoid using their hands trying to defend a route-running receiver. Instead of complaining about it, we’re really trying to work around it and play through it. We’re just trying to work harder and not do that.”“But,” a resigned Gray said.mlive.com
Michigan’s struggling secondary works to clean up the penalties
Michigan’s secondary has struggled in one-on-one man coverage this season, giving up more pass plays of between 20 and 30 yards than any other Big Ten team. The Wolverines' defensive backs remain a penalized bunch, earning 10 flags for pass interference or holding in their first four games. Combined, Hill and Green have combined for five, or half, the penalties against the secondary. “For whatever reason, we’ve had officials at our practices — and there weren’t many flags,” Zordich said. Michigan’s secondary drew three flags in a loss to Indiana — including one against safety Brad Hawkins — and two in the 49-11 rout to No.mlive.com
No. 13 Wisconsin routs Michigan 49-11 in 1st game in 3 weeks
Wisconsin wide receiver Chimere Dike (13) gets away from Michigan defensive back Vincent Gray (4) during the first quarter of an NCAA college football game in Ann Arbor, Mich., Saturday, Nov. 14, 2020. 13 Wisconsin build a big lead in a 49-11 rout of Michigan on Saturday night. “It was great to get back to playing.”The Wolverines (1-3) fell behind 28-0 at halftime, their largest deficit at home since the Big House opened in 1927, and are off to their worst start since 1967. The team announced that 10 players would not be available to play at Michigan, but didn't say why they were out of the lineup. POLL IMPLICATIONSThe Badgers might up a little after slipping in the two weeks they were idle after rising to No.
Michigan secondary coach: ‘We’re going to get it fixed’
Michigan’s secondary coach says his group of cornerbacks is “going through a slump” but vowed “to get it fixed” in his first interview since the start of the 2020 season. “We’re going to get it fixed,” Zordich said. That number was really impacted by the last two weeks, when the Wolverines surrendered big yards in losses to Michigan State (323) and Indiana (342). Both teams made it a point to attack Michigan’s starting cornerbacks, Vincent Gray and Gemon Green — throwing the football early when they showed man coverage. “The crazy thing is, all four of those is he was bad at the line of scrimmage,” Zordich said.mlive.com
Michigan players claim defensive woes are ‘simple fixes’
— Michigan’s football team saw its defense sputter for a second straight week on Saturday, an alarming trend that players say is correctable. “We just know that everything — all the problems that we’re having — are just simple fixes,” linebacker Michael Barrett told reporters after the game. “But small things that we know to do, and things we know not to do. Cornerback Vincent Gray was picked on by Michigan State and Indiana, while the Wolverines' other starting corner, Gemon Green, is just getting his feet wet playing defensive back at the college level. Hutchinson came out of Saturday’s game with an injury and never returned, forcing Michigan to look elsewhere for help.mlive.com
Michigan football is young, disjointed and Jim Harbaugh’s problem to fix
That is until last Saturday, when Michigan was slapped back to reality in an embarrassing 27-24 loss to Michigan State that exposed its weak links and areas of concern. After the loss, Harbaugh vowed to “forge on,” a rallying cry he hoped would convince his players to turn the page and not let one loss deflate morale. Offensive coordinator Nick Sheridan, a former Michigan player, made it a point to make cornerback Vincent Gray, a regular target last week in the loss to Michigan State, cover his man. Throw in losses to Michigan State and Indiana in back-to-back weeks and patience is running thin among the Michigan fanbase. It will Harbaugh’s greatest task yet at Michigan, a school that’s slowly losing its spot among the college football elite.mlive.com
Jim Harbaugh confident Don Brown, Michigan secondary can turn it around
— Jim Harbaugh issued a public vote of confidence for his coaching staff and players on Saturday, even as Michigan football team dropped its second straight game in similar fashion. For the second straight week, an opponent took to the air early and often and had a career day doing it. Both Penix and Fryfogle recorded career days, like Michigan State receiver Ricky White had last week. (Then) they get that confidence.”Like last week, defensive coordinator Don Brown did his best to curb the attack. Asked about Don Brown, whose pressure-oriented defense doesn’t look so fast and effective these days, Harbaugh says he still has confidence in his 65-year-old defensive coordinator.mlive.com
Halftime analysis: Indiana, up 24-7, is torching Michigan’s secondary
Indiana quarterback Michael Penix has completed 22 of his 32 pass attempts, including five throws of 20 yards or more. Three of them have been to receiver Ty Fryfogle, who had two long catches in the Hoosiers' second touchdown drive. Fryfogle has seven catches for 142 yards and a touchdown in the first two quarters. Quarterback Joe Milton is 4 of 13 for 96 yards and a touchdown, while Michigan’s running game has totaled 15 yards on 13 carries. The Wolverines have 111 yards of total offense and are 0-for-6 on third down.mlive.com
Michigan falls to No. 13 Indiana 38-21: Live updates recap
Indiana 38, Michigan 2112:28 – Indiana drive starts on Michigan 29The Hoosiers take advantage of the Joe Milton interception. Indiana 31, Michigan 2113:43 – Indiana drive starts on own 25Michigan forced the three-and-out and did so with less than 30 seconds coming off the clock. Indiana 24, Michigan 75:17 – Indiana drive starts on own 4Michael Penix continues to gash Michigan’s secondary. Indiana 24, Michigan 76:53 – Michigan drive starts on own 25Yet another three-and-out for Michigan after another bad drop from TE Erick All. Indiana 14, Michigan 74:48 – Indiana drive starts on own 25Been the same story for Michigan’s defense as last week.mlive.com
Michigan hopes struggling secondary can bounce back from ugly Week 2
Jim Harbaugh did his best to bat down the idea that Michigan’s starting cornerback job might be up for grabs after secondary woes plagued a weekend loss to Michigan State. “Vince is our best corner,” Harbaugh said. More: Why U-M’s pass rush ‘wasn’t effective enough’ against MSU“They definitely hit some deep balls … five of them,” Harbaugh said. Gray was a rotational cornerback in 2019, appearing in all 13 games, but made his first start on the road last week at Minnesota. 23 Michigan plays at Indiana on Saturday, Nov. 7 (noon, FS1), another test for a group that needs something to hang its hat on.mlive.com
Michigan left its cornerbacks alone in coverage, and it cost them
Michigan State freshman receiver Ricky White was streaking down the right sideline, single-covered by cornerback Jalen Perry, with a beat on his defender. “We’ve got to look at that,” Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh said of his secondary’s struggles. More: Penalties a ‘big factor’ in Michigan’s loss to Michigan State“We know Michigan State was kind of a run team, so we wanted to stop the run,” Hill said. The Spartans did, shredding Michigan’s game plan and exposing its flaws at cornerback in one game. Parents who sounded alarm over COVID-19 confident in Big Ten safety protocolsRoundtable: Michigan, MSU in different positions ahead of rivalry gamemlive.com
Michigan State knocks off No. 13 Michigan for Mel Tucker’s first win
The victory was not only the first of the season for MSU, but also marked the program’s first win under first-year head coach Mel Tucker. Michigan’s secondary had trouble keeping up with Spartans all game, as MSU receiver Ricky White led all receivers with eight catches for 196 yards. Michigan scored a touchdown with 37 seconds left but failed to corral the onside kick. Michigan corner Vincent Gray, who struggled all game, found himself a yard or two behind White in coverage. Quarterback Joe Milton finished 32 of 51 for 300 yards in his second-ever start, while rushing 12 times for 59 yards.mlive.com
Michigan State upsets Michigan 27-24: Live updates recap
4:23 – Michigan drive starts on own 25Another costly penalty derailed a promising Wolverines drive. MSU 20, Michigan 178:00 – MSU drive starts on own 21Michigan standout defensive end Kwity Paye was injured on the drive. MSU 20, Michigan 1712:26 – Michigan drive starts on own 25The Wolverines' talented freshmen were heavily featured on the 11-play touchdown drive. MSU 17, Michigan 1015:00 – Michigan drive starts on own 29Rough drive for the Wolverines to open the second half. STORY: Daxton Hill, Nick Eubanks in uniform for Michigan vs. MSU- MSU WR Tre Mosley is in uniform.mlive.com
Michigan CB Vincent Gray grades out well in opener, still vows to be better
Michigan defensive coordinator Don Brown stuck to his principles in Saturday’s opener against Minnesota, despite starting two inexperienced cornerbacks. “I thought Vincent played really well, graded out really well,” Harbaugh said in a video conference call with reporters. But outside of that completion, Minnesota quarterback Tanner Morgan didn’t look Gray’s way very often. “I just feel like, with the way our defensive line is playing, the quarterback is just not putting the ball out there,” Gray said. Reed had to sit out last season after transferring from Western Michigan, but he’s expected to be the Spartans' No.mlive.com
Michigan says it’s taking rivalry game seriously, despite MSU’s early woes
It’s not out of bounds to think that Saturday’s rivalry game could get out of hand on the scoreboard. “That obviously hurt them very badly in their last game,” Harbaugh said. More: Michigan safety Dax Hill ‘going to be fine,’ expected to practice this week“The red blood is pumping, and it’ll be really pumping for both sides this game,” Harbaugh said. “I have no question about that.”Few players on this Michigan football team know the rivalry better than Aidan Hutchinson. “At the end of the day, it is a rivalry game.mlive.com
5 things we learned about Michigan football this week heading into 2020 opener
It was a news-filled week for Michigan’s football team heading into its 2020 season opener at No. Here are five things we learned this week heading into Saturday’s prime time matchup. “I came back for my senior season,” Collins said on the “The Adam Schefter Podcast.” "Everything was going smooth until this virus outbreak. We’re going to need the entire football team. Get Wolverine Confidential texts straight to your phone from our Michigan football writers.mlive.com
Vincent Gray’s first assignment as Michigan’s No. 1 CB? Minnesota star Rashod Bateman
The battle for the second starting cornerback position presses on heading into Michigan’s season opener Saturday at Minnesota, but there are no qualms about who is its No. Redshirt sophomore Vincent Gray, the only cornerback on the roster with starting experience, will assume the No. “That’s definitely Vincent Gray’s task,” Michigan safety Brady Hawkins told reporters via a video call Tuesday when asked about defending Bateman. Although Bateman initially opted out of the 2020 season, he decided to return to the team last month. I’m just so excited to see him take on this challenge vs. Minnesota and the great receiver that they have.”Get Wolverine Confidential texts straight to your phone from our Michigan football writers.mlive.com
2 players still battling for Michigan football’s starting kicker, punter positions
ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Michigan football’s starting kicker and punter both returned for another season, but Jim Harbaugh said they’re still battling for starting spots heading into the opener. “(Nordin)'s in a real competitive battle with (Jake) Moody, who’s also doing a really good job, so it’s still playing out,” Harbaugh said. "Both are really good. Harbaugh said both the kicker and punter positions are still up in the air. “We also have two really good punters: Brad Robbins and William Hart.
Michigan football: 4 players still fighting for starting cornerback spot
ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Michigan football’s secondary is one of the biggest question marks heading into this season, and just five days before the opener, four players are still fighting for a starting cornerback position. When Harbaugh spoke Monday ahead of the team’s opener against Minnesota, he named four players as possibilities to fill that role. Turner are in competition for that spot, as well.”LATEST: Michigan vs. Michigan State will kick off at noon on HalloweenGreen and Faustin were both three-stars in the 2018 recruiting class. Green was a top 400 player at cornerback, but Faustin was just inside the top 600. Since enrolling at Michigan, Faustin has been moved from cornerback to safety, and now back to cornerback.
MVJ award: Which Michigan football jersey number duo will be most valuable this season?
ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Which pair of Michigan football players who share a jersey number will unite to be the most valuable this season? This year’s roster, with the new rule in place, has 45 duos who will wear the same jersey number. Some of the Michigan jersey number duos contain players who will contribute on different sides of the ball. 1: Both players must wear a jersey number for the entire season for their stats to qualify in favor of said jersey number. Other eligible duosHere are all the other jersey number duos listed on the 2020 Michigan football roster, as of Oct. 16.
Predicting all of Michigan football’s defensive starters, with confidence levels
Michigan has often been ranked among the top five or 10 teams in the country, and that’s thanks to strong defensive performances. Kwity Paye #19 of the Michigan Wolverines tries to sack Peyton Ramsey #12 of the Indiana Hoosiers at Michigan Stadium on November 17, 2018 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. According to Harbaugh, they’ve only gotten better this offseason, and if Michigan can get some help from the defensive tackles, it’ll make their jobs even easier. READ: Defensive line is X-factor for Michigan against quarterback-loaded scheduleWith a less experienced secondary -- particularly at cornerback -- Hutchinson and Paye will be more important than ever. Defensive tacklesStarters: Carlo Kemp and Chris HintonConfidence: 100% and 95%Kemp will be one of the starters at defensive tackle -- that’s a slam dunk.
All 12 three-stars from 2018 recruiting class could help make or break Michigan football season
Every single recruiting class is important, and the Wolverines have reached the point where the 2018 class -- by far Harbaugh’s most criticized group -- has to make major contributions. Remembering the 2018 recruiting cycleThe 2018 class was recruited amid Michigan’s worst season of the Harbaugh era. The result was Michigan’s only full recruiting class to be ranked outside the top 20 since Harbaugh took over. Michigan’s recruiting has since rebounded, but that 2018 unit will play a major role in the coming seasons. 18 in MissouriRole: Guaranteed starterNobody better exemplifies the 2018 class than Bell, and everyone who follows Michigan football knows his story.
Could Michigan’s Daxton Hill be in line for a position change?
The departure of Ambry Thomas leaves Michigan’s cornerback position less experienced and thin. Could that open the door for Daxton Hill? “But again, we really don’t want to shut anybody out because we still have three solid weeks of work prior to the game week,” Brown said, referring to Michigan’s season opener Oct. 24 at Minnesota. Crazy things happen in that period of time.”It’s also enough time for Hill, who appeared in 13 games last season, to make the transition. More: Jim Harbaugh updates U-M’s QB battle, praises deep RB room“He’s way more accomplished in terms of understanding concept and knowing what to do as an every-down safety,” Brown said.mlive.com
3 young players stand out in first true game action for Michigan football
Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh argues a call during the second half of the team's NCAA college football game against Middle Tennessee in Ann Arbor, Mich., Saturday, Aug. 31, 2019. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)ANN ARBOR, Mich. - Jim Harbaugh knew he would need contributions from young players this season after the Michigan football program lost nine players to the NFL. In the opener against Middle Tennessee State, that's exactly what happened. 3 cornerback spot behind Lavert Hill and Ambry Thomas, and he was tested right away against Middle Tennessee State's spread offense. If Gray continues to improve, Michigan will have a strong top-three cornerbacks and plenty of talent for the future.