Saturday, August 23, 2014

2014 Season Countdown: #7 Jarrod Wilson

Jarrod Wilson (#22)
Name: Jarrod Wilson
Height: 6'2"
Weight: 205 lbs.
High school: Akron (OH) Buchtel
Position: Safety
Class: Junior
Jersey number: #22
Last year: I ranked Wilson #20 and said he would start at free safety with 40 tackles and 2 interceptions. He made 50 tackles, 2 tackles for loss, 2 interceptions, and 2 pass breakups.

Wilson really struggled as a true freshman safety in 2012, which is one piece of evidence I see when I argue that freshman safeties really scare me. On the plus side, Wilson improved significantly in 2013 when he started eight games and made 50 tackles with 2 picks. He had some thunderous tackles and a few heads-up plays. Things had been moving too fast for him as a freshman, and last year he was moving fast enough.

This year I expect Wilson to take another step toward becoming the ball hawking safety that I expected him to be coming out of high school. He has several good cornerbacks battling for spots on the outside, which should make his job a little easier on the back end. Even with a first-time starter at strong safety - whether it's Delano Hill or Jeremy Clark - the back end of Michigan's defense should improve. Wilson will take over for the graduated Thomas Gordon as the point man in the secondary, and Wilson has better size and more range. Some people may put Wilson higher on this list, but I think the Wolverines have enough pieces to move around if an injury were to occur. I might be going out on a limb here, but I think Wilson might be in the discussion for some all-conference honors due to some increased pressure on the quarterback and some improved play at the corner spots.

Prediction: Starting free safety; 60 tackles, 3 interceptions


  1. I've always liked Wilson and agree he could be all-conference if he plays up to his potential. He hasn't shown it yet, and the defense is changing schemes, but so far he is following a solid arc from freshman contributor to decent sophomore starter. If he continues like we'd hope and reasonably expect, he'd push for all conference this year and be the best 1 or 2 next.

    A lot of people bemoaned his burned red-shirt in 2012, but it was the right call IMO. Sure, we'll wish we had him back in 2016, but his freshman duty seemed to help him get ready for last year and now everyone expects him to be very good. Compare with classmate Clark, who may or may not be ready to fill the other safety job. I think we'll be fine at safety as Clark, Hill, Thomas, Kinnell and maybe some of these CBs should fill the job quite well in the years to come.

    If there's a red-shirt to bemoan in the group it might be Thomas. He had a special teams highlight, but didn't really impact any games and isn't contending for playing time on D again this year.

    Sophomore red-shirts are rare, but Thomas is one I'd like to get back because he seemingly has talent and upside, just lacks experience and polish. Other sophomores backups who would benefit from a red-shirt (assuming they aren't needed due to injury) are Morris, Bosch, and Stribling. Stribling and Thomas especially - if they are just special teamers the team can live without them. The secondary is deep.

  2. As you predicted above, I'm very surprised you don't have Wilson in the top 5. If he were to go down, what would you see as our likely replacement plan? His position seems to be the only one where the replacement player would be entirely unproven.

    1. I think you would see one of the corners move to safety. Maybe Raymon Taylor, maybe Jabrill Peppers. You would still have Lewis, Countess, Stribling, and Hollowell for cornerback, even if both Taylor and Peppers moved to safety.