High school: 180 lbs.
Class: Redshirt junior
Jersey number: #2
Last year: I ranked Countess #9 and said he would start at cornerback with 55 tackles and 2 interceptions. He made 46 tackles, 2 tackles for loss, 6 interceptions (returned for 169 yards and 1 touchdown), and 4 pass breakups.
Countess mostly had a great year in 2013. He returned from his 2012 ACL tear and showed no ill effects, tying for #1 in the conference and #7 nationally with 6 interceptions. When Michigan would go from their standard 4-3 defense to a nickel, he would bump down into the slot. He - along with anybody else the coaching staff threw out there - got torched by Kansas State wideout Tyler Lockett, which somewhat dampened the excitement about Countess's return coming into 2013. Regardless, he came up with some huge plays with 2 interceptions of Notre Dame, 1 pick against Ohio State, and another returned for a touchdown against Minnesota.
The 2014 season might be different altogether. One of the bewildering storylines is that Countess switched from the #18 to Charles Woodson's #2 jersey, which directly preceded the revelation that Countess has been running with the second string defense behind Jourdan Lewis, sometimes Jabrill Peppers, and sometimes Raymon Taylor. It was also revealed that Countess has been nursing a groin injury, so that may have contributed to the coaches taking it easy on him. It seems clear that Lewis has forced his way into the lineup as a sophomore, so the battle is for that other corner spot. I have a very hard time believing that an All-Big Ten player who made 6 picks and earned the #2 jersey from a fairly stingy coaching staff will be benched in favor of Lewis/Peppers, who have combined for 17 tackles and 2 pass breakups in college. The most likely lineup to me has Lewis and Countess on the field at virtually all times with Peppers bouncing in at nickel, while Taylor can rotate in or perhaps even play safety. Anyone who claims to know how the rotation will pan out is lying. Last year Lewis, Channing Stribling, and Courtney Avery were in a constant battle for playing time, and I expect defensive snaps to fluctuate once again this year.
Prediction: Starting corner; 40 tackles, 4 interceptions