|Jarrod Wilson (#22)
Weight: 205 lbs.
High school: Akron (OH) Buchtel
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