2016 Michigan Spring Football Preview: Cornerback

Michigan’s 2016 spring ball kick off this Monday in Bradenton, Florida at IMG Academy and they’ll be talked about by just about everyone. One position that probably won’t get a ton of coverage though is the position that covers the most, the cornerback position.

Overview

Going into 2015, the Michigan staff knew they had one above solid corner and then a handful of question marks. Jourdan Lewis was that guy and proved it better than anyone expected, being named one of the best corners in college football. Then behind him, Channing Stribling and Jeremy Clark seemed to switch from game-to-game as the 2nd best corner on the team. Stribling being a better cover guy while Clark was a more physical matchup for the bigger receivers.

And that was about it for corners that saw any real playing time. Brandon Watson, Freddy Canteen and Reon Dawson all still look like developmental projects at this point while Keith Washington redshirted and is expected to make an impact in 2016.

This spring may not show too much as far as depth goes but the real competition should begin when the freshmen come into camp this summer.

Pre-Spring Expected Depth Chart

-Not enrolled yet

  1. #26 Jourdan Lewis, SR
  2. #8 Channing Stribling, SR
  3. #34 Jeremy Clark, 5th 
  4. #6 Keith Washington, SO* 
  5. #28 Brandon Watson, JR*
  6. #17 Freddy Canteen, JR
  7. #30 Reon Dawson, SR* 
  8. David Long, FR
  9. Lavert Hill, FR

Name to Watch Closest

Clark. At 6’4” 205lbs, Clark has that elite size that every NFL team is looking for in their defensive backs. He made the switch from safety to corner in 2015 and really started to put it together as the season went on. This upcoming year will be his 5th and final year in the Maize and Blue, and I believe he’s a guy that could really take a step forward this offseason and not only become a top player for the defense but become a legit NFL prospect.

Don’t Forget About Me

Canteen. Freddy Footwork still has one of the best route running clips in Twitter history but the new staff didn’t see his future at wide receiver alone. So, 2015 was spent learning the cornerback position but it clearly wasn’t a smooth transition as he really only saw time on special teams. Could he figure it out this spring? He’ll likely get his shot and the openings are there.

Breakout Prediction

Washington. Coming into Michigan, Washington was a name that most were watching. He was clearly one of Harbaugh’s favorite additions to the 2015 class but needed some time to transition from quarterback to cornerback. Well, thanks to the opening as the 4th cornerback on the depth chart, this should be his offseason. I believe he’ll be on the two-deep by the end of the spring.

Other Spring Positional Previews

Who do you believe will leave spring ball as the starting cornerbacks? Two deep prediction? Breakout players? Add your predictions in the comment section below! 

Photo Credit: ESPN.com