Friday, December 17, 2010

Blake Countess, Wolverine

Blake Countess (#1)

The cold, wet weather in Maryland had one advantage for Michigan and its fans.  Cornerback Blake Countess, from Our Lady of Good Counsel in Olney, Tweeted on Friday morning that he would be playing college ball at Michigan.  Countess is a 5'10", 174 lb. cornerback and a 4-star recruit to all three major recruiting services; he's also ranked anywhere between #13 and #18 in the country at the cornerback position.

Countess is a very solid corner.  I can't honestly say that he's "great" at any one thing.  But unlike several other cornerback recruits over the past few years (Justin Turner was too big, Demar Dorsey was too thuggish, Boubacar Cissoko was short and harbored too much ill will toward delivery boys), Countess doesn't have any glaring deficiencies.  He has decent size, runs well, has good hips, is a solid tackler, and tracks the ball well in the air.  He ended his senior season with 47.5 tackles, 15 pass breakups, and 2 return touchdowns, in addition to 21 receptions for 302 yards and 2 touchdowns on offense. The way he moves reminds me a bit of former Michigan cornerback Ty Law, although Law filled out to be a thick, physical corner at Michigan and later in the NFL.

He also seems to be an intelligent kid with good character.  According to his senior highlights (below), he has a 3.1 GPA and a 22 on the ACT.  He's well spoken in interviews and attends a respected private school.  Our Lady of Good Counsel consistently puts out a couple FBS prospects, including Jelani Jenkins (Florida) from the Class of 2009 and Vincent Croce (Virginia) from the Class of 2011, both of whom were offered by Michigan.  As for the pedigree of OLGC's football team, it went 10-2 and beat renowned DeMatha in the WCAC championship game this season by a score of 42-3.  For some perspective, Michigan offered five DeMatha seniors in the Class of 2010, and no less than ten DeMatha kids have offers to play FBS football in the Class of 2011.  On a team that obliterated a squad like DeMatha, Countess was a captain.  That bodes well for his future.

This gives Michigan four cornerbacks in the Class of 2011 - Countess, Dallas Crawford, Delonte Hollowell, and Greg Brown. I do not expect Michigan to continue recruiting cornerbacks for this class, at least not to commit immediately.  The coaches will likely stay in contact with kids like Daren Kitchen, Valdez Showers, Raymon Taylor, and James Richardson, but only to keep lines of communication open in case one of the aforementioned players decommits.  It's possible, even likely, that one of these four will move to free safety early in his career.  I also expect that Michigan will continue to recruit strong safeties like Wayne Lyons.

Overall, this is a solid development in Michigan's recruiting, especially during a time when Rich Rodriguez's future as coach is somewhat murky.  If Rodriguez can keep his job and hire a competent defensive coordinator, someone ought to be able to create a solid defense from the pieces being thrown together.


  1. Thanks for the info and thoughts on Countess. I'm glad he's part of the class.

    What is the line about weather about? I don't get why Michigan fans care about the Maryland weather. I'm not getting the connection.

    I'd say Dorsey wasn't "too thuggish", I'd say he was too "academically disinclined"

    Hollowell is too small to be a FS, right? Of the 3 other CB recruits, which is the most feasible position switch, if any? My opinion is that all of them could still stay at CB if one or two play as freshman and the others redshirt. That would mean one or two of last years corners move to safety instead. I don't think the FS necessarily has to come from this class. But I agree there is a surplus of CB if our assumptions about the roster come to be.

  2. @ Lankownia 12:28 p.m.

    As far as the weather goes, it sounds like Countess tweeted during his snow day about his commitment. Most kids set up a press conference or something, but he simply tweeted on his morning off. Anyway, no big deal.

    Dorsey was both too thuggish and academically disinclined.

    Greg Brown and Dallas Crawford are the most likely cornerbacks to move to FS, in my opinion. Brown is getting a little thick, and I don't know if he has the speed to play corner. Crawford plays FS in high school and seems to be doing well there (he had about 10 interceptions each of the last two seasons and is a solid tackler). So he would be a strong candidate, too.

  3. Interesting. I'd be concerned about having a FS who is listed at 5'10, as Crawford and Brown are, but I guess it's not a deal-breaker. And maybe they're still growing.

    The coaching staff and most of the fanbase didn't find Dorsey "too thuggish". The issue seemed to be academics. Ditto for Louisville.

  4. @ Lankownia 4:12 p.m.

    Well, Michigan is virtually married to the idea of having a 5'10" free safety at some point or another. I'd like to see Troy Woolfolk play FS in 2011, but all these corners they're bringing in (Greg Brown, Delonte Hollowell, Blake Countess, Dallas Crawford, Terrence Talbott, Courtney Avery) are approximately 5'10".

    More information has come out about Dorsey, not to mention his very public run-ins with the law as a youth. I'd rather not get into revealing all the dirt on Dorsey because really there's no reason, but please let it suffice when I say that he is and was too thuggish to be a Michigan Wolverine. He's an excellent athlete, but I'm glad he's not in Ann Arbor. I just wish the coaches wouldn't have wasted their time recruiting him in the first place, when they might have been able to reel in someone else instead.

  5. There's some word going around that Crawford could decommit, so this is a good pickup.

    As for 5'10" guys at FS, I've never thought of height as quite as important at FS as at CB (although I'd still like a guy to be 5'10" or better. Interestingly enough, it seems like, similiar to CB's, alot of the top FS's are 5'11"-6'0". Maybe those are the magic numbers for secondary players).

  6. Brown, Hollowell, Crawford, Countess, Taylor: five DBs, all under 5'11.

    Crawford, I know theres some concern about his status, but for the sake of argument lets say RR is retained after a bowl win and wants him to stick.

    Raymon Taylor is supposedly a lifelong M fan and likely to commit now that he has an offer.

    Hollowell is part of the Cass Tech pipeline - don't want to mess with that.

    Brown is going to early enroll.

    Countess says he's coming no matter what and is pretty highly regarded.

    On top of that, Lyons -whose offer sheet indicates he's an elite prospect- is announcing at the AA game making it possible that there would be 6 DBs in the class.

    Can any of these guys be turned away if Lyons wants to come in January? Is six too many for a class of 20?

    ...Especially considering there were 4 to 7 DBs in the last class (depending on how you classify Johnson, Furman, and Robinson).

  7. @ Lankownia 4:35 p.m.

    Yes, six is too many when you need offensive and defensive linemen. But...that's the direction things seem to be going. You can't turn Lyons away.