Monday, June 15, 2015

2015 Season Countdown: #76 Reon Dawson

Reon Dawson (#20)
Name: Reon Dawson
Height: 6'2"
Weight: 175 lbs.
High school: Trotwood (OH) Trotwood-Madison
Position: Cornerback
Class: Redshirt sophomore
Jersey number: #30
Last year: I ranked Dawson #89 and said Dawson would play cornerback very little, if at all. He did not see game action.

I will admit that I have heard zero buzz about Dawson since he arrived on campus in 2013. He was a flier scholarship offer in that class, and so far it has not paid dividends. Last season he was listed at 178 lbs., and this year he's listed at 175 lbs., which is a small change but one in the wrong direction. The Wolverines have almost a desperate need for cornerbacks this season because things get questionable beyond the top two guys, but I do not expect Dawson to be in the mix for playing time unless a series of injuries plagues the defensive backfield.

Prediction: Backup cornerback


  1. Another 3 star commit today...what are ur thots on the TE commit?

  2. Dawson needs to step it up.

  3. Same thought at last year - low but fair ranking. Boom/bust type with good physical potential, and still hope we can get something from him by the time he's a senior.

    I don't actually think CB depth is a big problem (certainly not desperate). Stribling and Watson are pretty good for (projected) backups and Peppers can slide over if needed as well. Sure, we're worse off than before Countess left, but the position went from luxuriant depth to solid/adequate. I don't see any issues here. We have two proven starters who are at least above average, if not all-conference caliber. Plus a 5-star nickelback/safety/all-purpose DB to go with a couple young guys who have showed promise in the spring (watson) and on the field (stribling). Actually, I'd argue CB is a position of strength for Michigan. A 5-star recruit like Terry Richardson can't even see the field - Maybe that's more about him than the guys in front of them or maybe it's a function of both.

    1. Third and fourth cornerbacks get quite a bit of playing time, especially against up-tempo offenses. Just look at how much Stribling and Countess/Taylor played last season. I am not as convinced of Stribling's value as some Michigan fans, because I have yet to see him make any kind of play. Even Brandon Watson showed something in the spring game.

      I don't think Terry Richardson was a 5-star recruit, and while I liked him coming out of high school, he too hasn't shown anything in college. I don't think it's a great feat to keep him off the field - he's been unable to put on decent weight.

      It's true that Peppers can slide over to corner, but then you've got him playing a new position, and the replacement at safety is presumably worse, so there's a bit of a snowball effect when you start moving guys around.

    2. Unlikely that Dawson will last much longer. Several HS coaches who attended the spring clinics mentioned that he was really struggling and at the bottom of the pile.

      They do need some young stud CB's in this '16 class for sure. Hoke did a good job of bringing the numbers back at the position, but Lewis is the only player there we have confirmed to be above average. And he is an upperclassman. Hoke was counting on Stribling to step up his game and make an impact last year, but the guy barely saw the field. Not sure what happened there.

    3. Michigan will never play 4 pure CBs at the same time. Their top 5 DBs includes a couple of versatile Nickel/Safety types in Peppers and Hill. Rivals even recently projected that Hill would be pseudo-starter at nickel with Peppers the deep safety. There was also talk Clark playing some CB potentially at one point. Point is: You play your best 5-6 DBs, not your 2 best safeties and 4 best corners.

      Anyway, I'm not sure it would be an entirely new position for Peppers - his (limited) playing time came at nickel-back and he was recruited to play CB initially, so he probably has some work there. We can dispute the differences of CB vs NB, but at least we can say there is a significant overlap in skills. If an injury happens to Lyons or Lewis, I don't think it'll be travesty if Peppers plays instead.

      Stribling has not been a bad player for Michigan. As far as backup goes he is above average. I think he has played reasonably well, even last year when all our CBs seemed to have their struggles. The game that still sticks out to me is the 2013 PSU game where you saw both his best and worst. He was stride for stride with an excellent receiver in Robinson on almost every play -- but you also saw him overpowered by the veteran on plays he should have knocked away. The light didn't go on last year, but new year, new staff, etc.

      Some are saying Watson could push Lyons. If true, that's great news for Michigan.

      On the 2009 Michigan team, Terry Richardson would have got plenty of playing time. Again, not a great complement but, small or not, I imagine Richardson has some skills based on the fact he got offers from Alabama. USC, LSU, ND, Oklahoma, OSU, etc. He may not have been a 5-star but his offer list was. I guess I'm saying if your worst case scenario is a player with that talent - you're going to be OK.

      Unmentioned above are a couple other freshman, at a position where freshman have traditionally been viable - Washington and Kinnel. Like Dawson they may be safeties down the line, but the point is that Michigan has options here ranging from experienced vets, backups with demonstrated ability and promise, and freshman with talent.

      CB is only a desperate situation if you assume injuries occur, players don't develop, and ignore positional flexibility among DBs.

    4. @PS

      Re: Stribling -- he was behind pretty good corners in Countess, Lewis, and Taylor. He was the next guy in and it's not like there was suddenly a massive dropoff.

      None of these guys are first round NFL picks or anything, but they are quality college players.