|Delano Hill (image via GoBlueWolverine.com)
Weight: 205 lbs.
High school: Detroit (MI) Cass Tech
Jersey number: #44
Last year: I ranked Hill #72 and said he would see some special teams action. He played on special teams in every game and saw action in one game on defense, making 1 total tackle.
Hill came into college as somewhat of a physical freak, with his high school coaches talking about his speed and hitting ability. What he lacked was technical refinement. Last year he was deemed worthy of running downfield on coverage teams, but he made just 1 tackle. Starting free safety Thomas Gordon graduated, backup Josh Furman transferred, and cornerback/safety Courtney Avery graduated, too. By the time spring rolled around, the door had opened for Hill to run with the first unit alongside junior Jarrod Wilson at safety.
This fall will be very interesting in the defensive backfield, where Michigan has a glut of capable cornerbacks and a bunch of unproven safeties. Wilson has one spot all but locked down, but the strong safety position comes down to Hill, redshirt sophomore Jeremy Clark, sophomore Dymonte Thomas, and perhaps freshman Jabrill Peppers. While the coaches have rotated defensive linemen, linebackers, and even cornerbacks rather freely, the safeties have generally been every-down players. Scuttlebutt out of Schembechler Hall this spring suggested that Hill was the most trusted safety by the coaches. Personally, I have doubts that his discipline has been shored up in just one year of college, but regardless of which safety wins the job, he's going to be young and/or inexperienced. This looks like a job that might be in flux throughout the year, but with Hill as the potential starter, he's potentially valuable.
Prediction: 30 tackles, 1 interception