2017 Season Countdown: #22 David Long, Jr.

2017 Season Countdown: #22 David Long, Jr.


August 12, 2017

David Long (image via Twitter)

Name: David Long, Jr.
Height: 5’11”
Weight: 187 lbs.
High school: Los Angeles (CA) Loyola
Position: Cornerback
Class: Redshirt freshman
Jersey number: #22
Last year: I ranked Long #49 and said he would be a backup cornerback. He played in four games.
TTB Rating: 92

Long entered 2016 with a fair amount of hype, and he played early like many expected. However, he didn’t make any flash plays, and he didn’t play for long. Due to an undisclosed injury, he sat out after four games, presumably preserving his redshirt. The early word was that he was ahead of Lavert Hill, but that situation may have changed since then.

Hill continued to play throughout the season, and the coaching staff seems to think he’s the most talented corner on the roster. The coaches also implied that both Hill and Long need to toughen up and play through the bumps and bruises that come along with playing high-level football. There’s a four-way battle for the starting cornerback jobs between Long, Hill, Keith Washington, and Brandon Watson. I don’t think Long is going to win that battle, but considering his talent and early experience from last season, he should be a key backup on the outside. Michigan has some highly ranked recruits and a couple lower-rated guys who have developed nicely, so it will be interesting to see how the cornerback spots all shake out through the season.

Prediction: Backup cornerback

17 comments

  1. JC
    Comments: 107
    Joined: 8/17/2015
    JC
    Aug 12, 2017 at 8:14 AM

    Umbig11’s post the other day made it seem like Long had one spot locked down, and Hill was battling for the other one.

    Either way, what I saw in the spring game made me feel much more comfortable with our corners, Washington looked like the real deal.

    • Comments: 123
      Joined: 9/15/2015
      ragingbull
      Aug 12, 2017 at 9:48 AM

      i gathered the same from that practice summary, long leading for 1 CB spot with others in more of a fight for the other spot.
      but ill prob be biased until i see long actually play college ball since i thought he was one of their best recruits over the past few years and a lock to be a solid or above average big ten DB at the very least.

      well see though. throw away the high school tapes and whatever guys have done in the past, anything can happen when 18 years olds begin seriously training all year, honing technique, accepting elite coaching, competing daily vs other elite athletes, developing, etc. i liked long much more than hill as a prospect (mostly due to versatility and size) but wouldnt have surprised me a bit if long ended up average while hill excelled…just the way it goes some times.

      good thing is theyve got talented young athletes like long, hill, st juste, thomas, etc reportedly hungry and getting after it every day…decent odds 1-2 of those dudes end up showing up this fall and develop enough to impact. and several older players in watson and washington add a reasonable floor to the position…neither will star but both should be capable of getting lined up and consistently executing their assignments (though how well remains the question – theyre def limited so likely to be challenging moments).
      at least thats the hope and expectation, that the staff and team can rely on those type dudes to provide average, steady play while looking to the better athletes or more physical freak types to develop a bit more each day and grow with game reps until 1-2 turn into real impact players, hopefully.

      real interested to see what zordich can do with the dudes in that room

    • Comments: 2772
      Joined: 8/11/2015
      Lanknows
      Aug 13, 2017 at 10:43 AM

      The spring game performance is very important as you can see with Peters recently being named starter and Wyatt Shallman leading the team in rushing in 2015.

  2. Comments: 407
    Joined: 1/19/2016
    je93
    Aug 12, 2017 at 9:29 AM

    We desperately need a pair to step up and stand out!

  3. Comments: 88
    Joined: 9/13/2015
    michymich
    Aug 12, 2017 at 1:40 PM

    Could the bumps and bruises on some of the smaller guys be the reason that Harbaugh and staff are going after some bigger defensive backs? Do you need a different type of corner in conference play since you are playing the physical run game frequently against Wisconsin, Penn State, MSU, etc?

    Doesn’t matter how good your corners are if they out half the season with an assortment of injuries and aren’t playing the tougher opponents. Thoughts?

    • Comments: 123
      Joined: 9/15/2015
      ragingbull
      Aug 12, 2017 at 7:34 PM

      i assume theyre targeting larger DBs due to the nature of the game, their scheme and the type of ball they desire to play. if bigger DBs remain healthier or dont have as many minor injuries (though not sure thats the case), thats awesome but most likely just an unintended bonus.
      brown wants his CBs to be able to hold their own and get off blocks and play the run all while playing mostly press man. given the modern game, the way its called, popular offenses, QB play, size of receivers, etc, it helps to have bigger DBs who are able to run yet still play a real physical brand of ball.

      dont fret the PI or holding calls, just get grill to grill and get after it – obviously youll eat some calls playing that style (and also give up occasional chunk plays) but the benefits far outweigh any downside. coverage doesnt even need to be perfect, but if youre big enough and quick enough to play physical at LOS and throw off timing and then use length to shorten any throwing windows…it makes it much tougher at any level, especially college with often hit or miss QB play.

      lewis was great…brown would kill to have a 5’10” 185 lb lockdown all american CB (and really underrated tackler) like lewis every year. hopefully thomas or someone else eventually gets close to that level but if not, hes good with giant dudes like st juste, sims, etc. if they do not get as banged up as smaller players thats certainly a bonus (though id love to see data on that)…but doubtful its one of major recruiting benefits. more of side benefit if anything.

      he wants DBs with competitive fire and confidence to own 1 v 1 matchups all game, preferably quick, longer athletes. and also capable of holding their own on an island, able to shed blocks and make tackles in run game, use physical play to disrupt O timing, utilize length to play effectively in trail, mirror receivers as best as possible and then use size and angles to tighten throwing windows. again, if they dont get injured as much, thats ideal. all things equal im sure brown wants bigger bodies. but i doubt hes passing on elite 5’11” prospects or signing bigger yet incomplete 6’3″ DBs simply based on size…or an ability to absorb more punishment and remain locked in.
      obviously just my opinion though

      • Comments: 88
        Joined: 9/13/2015
        michymich
        Aug 13, 2017 at 4:07 AM

        You are right but having smaller corners who asked to play physical man to man is probably not conducive to staying healthy.

        I think a smaller corner but who is physical and can carry weight would still be okay for staff. As you said, this staff wants corners who can bump and run, play the run and blitz and guys like Thomas will probably have a harder time staying healthy for an entire season unless he is the nickel back.

        • Comments: 2772
          Joined: 8/11/2015
          Lanknows
          Aug 13, 2017 at 10:59 AM

          This argument is dubious. It’s similar to the argument that running QBs get hurt more (not backed by the data) or the big RB stay healthy longer (I think it’s more about density than mass…and running style).

    • Comments: 1990
      Joined: 7/13/2015
      Aug 13, 2017 at 7:04 AM

      Cornerback isn’t an extremely physically demanding position. They’re generally not taking big hits and such, so I don’t think size matters much for staying healthy. Over the years, I don’t think there’s been any sign that bigger corners stay healthier. Last year, for example, Jourdan Lewis missed a few games with a hamstring pull, and Jeremy Clark missed most of the season with an ACL tear.

      The staff is going after SOME bigger defensive backs, but that’s after they brought in Hill, Long, and Thomas over the past few classes. I think they want a mix of sizes/skills. Keep in mind, too, that if you only go after big corners as a rule, then you remove a subset of the players who can return punts and kickoffs. The Jeremy Clarks and Benjamin St-Justes of the world don’t factor into the return game like Peppers, Lewis, etc. do.

      • Comments: 857
        Joined: 8/13/2015
        Roanman
        Aug 13, 2017 at 7:49 AM

        The return guy thing is a good point. While Derek Alexander and Steve Breaston, among others, were far from runts that compact little guy with the blazing first step is a real nice feature to have when you can get one. It’s also nice to have a guy or two that can run out there with the quickness to cover quick little, accurate route running water bug types in the slot. Tru Wilson (I think) just found out how really tough that job can be giving up a hi-lite catch to Oliver Martin. Although in Martin’s case, that isn’t a little guy.

        But … I have definitely come around to the trending view on big corners, particularly in a D where everyone has a gap and is expected to defend it. I also like it for the philosophy we seem to have adopted in which, let’s bend the rules a touch and grab some shirts coming off the line of scrimmage and maybe into the breaks and disrupt the route some while we shorten up the time your QB has to find an open guy with blitzes.

        I’d really like to see Washington and especially Harris play well enough to get out there.

        • Comments: 1990
          Joined: 7/13/2015
          Aug 13, 2017 at 8:19 AM

          FYI: it wasn’t Tru Wilson. Wilson is #20, lighter skinned, and playing RB.

        • Comments: 2772
          Joined: 8/11/2015
          Lanknows
          Aug 13, 2017 at 10:50 AM

          That highlight catch got a lot of attention but you raise a great point – look at who is covering him. Are stribling, lewis, or clark giving Martin a chance to make that play?

          The dangers of analysis by highlight…

      • Comments: 2772
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        Lanknows
        Aug 13, 2017 at 10:48 AM

        That’s an interesting thought about smaller corners and return ability. I think there’s something to it, though I don’t know that I would necessarily recruit to that need when you can have RB, WR, and Safety options.

        The number of true difference-makers as returners is small (Peppers, Breaston, Howard, Woodson – am I forgetting anyone) and they are the kind of players you would recruit regardless of size.

    • Comments: 2772
      Joined: 8/11/2015
      Lanknows
      Aug 13, 2017 at 10:45 AM

      I had some of the same thoughts – does the push for tall CBs reflect something the coaches were (not) seeing with the current roster? Not especially encouraging if so — but also highly speculative.

  4. Comments: 2772
    Joined: 8/11/2015
    Lanknows
    Aug 13, 2017 at 10:56 AM

    I had Long higher than this (18) but I think the difference is explained by Thunder having Washington in the top 20 and me having him outside the top 35. I haven’t heard the latest buzz on who is ahead.

    Brown seems genuinely happy with the level of CB ability in public but it is mildly concerning that no one is taking charge. Still hard to get a real read on if this is going to be a problem spot or not. The BTN guys were openly calling Brown’s D high risk-high reward with him sitting there and I think that’s fair. There is a lot riding on development of the CB position. Hoping Zordich can work his magic again.

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