Mike Zordich Dishes on Michigan's Three Freshman Cornerbacks

Mike Zordich Dishes on Michigan's Three Freshman Cornerbacks

Football

Mike Zordich Dishes on Michigan's Three Freshman Cornerbacks

ANN ARBOR, Mich — Michigan has an embarrassment of riches at the cornerback position. Which is nice, considering it has a top tier coach at the position as well.

Last season, the Wolverines trotted out two first year starters in Lavert Hill and David Long, with Brandon Watson in rotation. The result? Oh, just the nation’s top pass defense.

Now those players have a year of experience under their belt, so the younger generation can be brought along more slowly.

The expectation is that Ambry Thomas and Benjamin St-Juste — both in their second-year — will get some time before too long. St-Juste has battled injuries from the end of the season last year through the spring, but Thomas has continued to rise through the ranks.

Behind them are the three true freshmen: Myles Sims (who enrolled early), Gemon Green and Vincent Gray (who flipped just before signing day).

Cornerbacks coach Mike Zordich is pleased with the trio’s progress, but they’re not nearly as ready as their predecessors at this juncture.

“B-Wat, David and Lavert, we’ve just got to keep them where they’re at,” Zordich said. “Keep them at the high level they’re practicing at. Those guys are good.

“The guys below them – it’s kinda like you got those guys and then you got Bry, and then you got the young guys. The true freshmen. Those guys – they’ve got a long way to go for sure.”

They have a long way to go, but could we see some or any of them this season in a non-special teams role?

Last year, Thomas got that opportunity. St-Juste played all year on special teams, but couldn’t crack the rotation at cornerback.

Zordich would like to see one of them emerge — and that includes St-Juste — so that the Wolverines could carry five players that he knows for sure could be counted on in big time game action.

“That’s really hard to say,” Zordich said. “Myles has done something, and you’re like, ‘Wow! Look at that!’ Vincent Gray has done something. Gemon has – it would be hard for me to say, because they’re all three, like, right there, level. Hopefully this next half of camp, somebody out of that group steps up and separates themselves. Because it would be nice to go into the season with five, knowing you’ve got five.”

Zordich isn’t afraid to say when his guys are achieving at the level he’d like or if they’re lagging behind.

A year ago, he said that David Long and Brandon Watson weren’t coming along as quickly as he would have liked. This spring, he publicly lamented that Lavert Hill wasn’t playing through minor injuries.

Now, he would like to see more from the one true freshman who’s been on campus since January.

Sims is a former four-star, and came to Ann Arbor with high expectations. But, Zordich finds it a little troubling that he’s about even with the two players who arrived in June and didn’t go through spring ball.

“He’s coming,” Zordich said. “A little surprised he wasn’t more ahead of the other guys this fall, this fall camp. He’s just – he’s young. He’s gotta take the next step and understand that this is Michigan, and there’s talent around him. He’s gotta answer that bell. He shows it, but he’s got to be more consistent with it.”

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