2017 Season Countdown: #54 J’Marick Woods

2017 Season Countdown: #54 J’Marick Woods


July 9, 2017

J’Marick Woods (image via MGoBlog)

Name: J’Marick Woods
Height: 6’3″
Weight: 205 lbs.
High school: Florence (AL) Florence
Position: Safety
Class: Freshman
Jersey number: #26
Last year: Woods was a senior in high school.
TTB Rating: 80

Woods was a bit of an unknown when he suddenly popped up on Michigan’s radar, and he committed to the Wolverines just prior to the 2016 spring game. A large strong safety type, he was known more for his in-the-box play and run support than being wildly athletic. The Wolverines brought him in as an early enrollee in January, and that reputation continued in college. Reportedly referred to as “The Truth” for his hitting ability, there were some practice clips that popped up showing him supporting the run rather well. Unfortunately, an injury prevented him from playing in the spring game, so our chances to see him were limited.

This fall Michigan might need Woods, and they might not. Defensive back is not a particularly dangerous position group for severe injuries, so as long as you can find three safeties and about four cornerbacks, you should be pretty set with your rotation. The defense seems to be pretty set with Joshua Metellus and Tyree Kinnel as the starting safeties, and Jordan Glasgow appears to be the backup strong safety. Woods is probably the #3 strong safety at this point in time, but Glasgow also could play a fair amount of Viper if Khaleke Hudson falters or gets hurt. I do not see true freshman Jaylen Kelly-Powell as a viable option this year, so Woods should probably be viewed as the #4 overall safety. His size and tackling ability make him a potential contributor on special teams, and I think he will offer some value on kickoff coverage.

Prediction: Backup safety, special teamer

28 comments

  1. Painter Smurf
    Comments: 191
    Joined: 8/12/2015
    Painter Smurf
    Jul 09, 2017 at 11:05 AM

    Woods is definitely a guy to keep an eye on. Drew some praise in spring before getting hurt. Does not seem to be in the mold of the “coverage safeties” UM is recruiting of late. Will be in competition immediately with Hawkins, who is less experienced at the position, but probably a more dynamic athlete. Agree that Woods looks like a special teams contributor right away.

    • Comments: 2532
      Joined: 8/11/2015
      Lanknows
      Jul 09, 2017 at 12:04 PM

      Hawkins and Harris could be options in the secondary, but it doesn’t seem likely in 2017.

      The freshman who are sticking at their positions – St.Juste, Thomas, JKP, Woods – seem more likely to be ready. And Michigan is going to need at least 1 of them, probably 2, to be immediate contributors.

  2. Comments: 342
    Joined: 1/19/2016
    je93
    Jul 09, 2017 at 11:33 AM

    Please don’t jinx us back to 2010!

    “Defensive back is not a particularly dangerous position group for severe injuries… “

  3. Comments: 2532
    Joined: 8/11/2015
    Lanknows
    Jul 09, 2017 at 11:52 AM

    I think the narrative is underselling the need at DB.

    Michigan been playing more than 4 CBs for years. Last year Levert Hill (at best the 5th CB heading into the season) was out there in the bowl game playing critical snaps. Watson still playing meaningful downs too – despite Peppers super-versatility covering a lot of NB duties and despite 4 excellent seniors almost never leaving the field. We need 5 CBs in a typical year, history says.

    While it’s true that we haven’t had many injuries to pure safeties in the last few years it’s also true that safety is now really 3 positions. If you count Peppers we’ve had injuries 2 years in a row. With Glasgow as the functional backup across 3 different positions Michigan is really thin here. They might be able to sneak by with just 4 guys at safety (Hudson, Metellus, Kinnel, Glasgow) – more likely they’ll need a 5th. Last year, with a senior-laden team they used 5 safety types in meaningful situations (Thomas, Hill, Peppers, Kinnel, Metellus).

    • Comments: 1951
      Joined: 7/13/2015
      Jul 09, 2017 at 7:42 PM

      If safety is three positions, then you have to throw in the other guys who are playing that third safety spot.

      Also, as I said, you NEED about four guys for your cornerback rotation. That doesn’t mean those are the only guys who will ever see a snap. Lavert Hill wasn’t needed for the rotation. He was used as an injury replacement late in the year, but again, the difference between your 5th/6th/7th cornerback isn’t that significant. Talking in EA Sports ratings, your average recruit is probably starting off somewhere in the 60s or low 70s. The talented guys can get into the 90s if they stick around long enough, but once you get past your top three or four guys, you’re picking between a 68 and a 66.

      Life isn’t an EA Sports game, but I think it’s a useful analogy.

      • Comments: 2532
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        Lanknows
        Jul 09, 2017 at 9:20 PM

        How was Levert HIll not needed? Did they throw him into the Orange Bowl for funsies?

        Are we pretending injuries don’t exist?

        • Comments: 1951
          Joined: 7/13/2015
          Jul 09, 2017 at 10:53 PM

          No. They threw him in due to injury. I’m not talking about playing. I’m talking about your normal rotation. In a normal year, you only have about four cornerbacks who are important. The other guys are generally just guys.

          • Comments: 2532
            Joined: 8/11/2015
            Lanknows
            Jul 10, 2017 at 11:16 AM

            A ‘normal’ rotation accounts for normal injuries. You can’t just plan for the best case scenario.

            If we did that we wouldn’t need backup QBs and 5 guys would be extreme overkill.

            We have corners and safeties get hurt every year. Compare the august depth chart to the bowl game depth chart the last 2 years.

      • Comments: 2532
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        Lanknows
        Jul 09, 2017 at 9:22 PM

        You can add a position to the conversation if you want. I didn’t for simplicity. Adding Viper adds Hudson to the discussion.

        The conclusions are the same.

  4. Comments: 2532
    Joined: 8/11/2015
    Lanknows
    Jul 09, 2017 at 12:00 PM

    If Woods is really the #4 safety – and I agree that he is by far the strongest candidate – then this ranking is too low.

    As mentioned above, Michigan will need a 4th guy this year. Relying on Glasgow (who is approaching the point where it’s irrelevant, but is still technically a walk-on) to backup 3 positions in the secondary isn’t likely to be enough.

    If Woods isn’t ready, it probably means a bigger role for Brandon Watson. Not the end of the world but not optimal either. Watson might not even be available if he ends up being a starter at CB.

    Anyway, it’s great that Woods could come in early and get some development in. Because of under-recruiting the DB position Michigan needs him right away. I’m not real excited about hearing about big hits from safeties. I guess it’s fine but I’d much rather hear he was locking dudes down or really picking up his assignments quickly (a la Kinnel).

    • Comments: 816
      Joined: 8/13/2015
      Roanman
      Jul 09, 2017 at 3:41 PM

      As has been explained previously, 12 dbs in 3 classes, 9 in two and 5 in the last hardly qualifies as “under-recruiting” the defensive backfield. That would be an average of … calculator … 4 per Harbaugh recruiting year for between 4 and 5 guys on the field on any given play. With a total of 15 scholarship dbs on the roster, counting the little Glasgow. That’s three deep, if you want to call it a 5 db defense.

      I’d call our numbers in the defensive backfield just about perfect.

      • Comments: 2532
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        Lanknows
        Jul 09, 2017 at 9:01 PM

        I addressed the math. There are 4-6 DBs on the field. It’s 6 in most late-game deciding situations.

        Not addressed is why we are relying on true freshman to fill out the depth chart, even with converting WRs. Development has been fantastic under this DB staff – so (unlike at OL) that’s not the issue. It’s numbers.

        • Comments: 816
          Joined: 8/13/2015
          Roanman
          Jul 10, 2017 at 6:49 AM

          When did we put 6 dbs out there at the same time last year, and who were they?

          • Comments: 2532
            Joined: 8/11/2015
            Lanknows
            Jul 10, 2017 at 11:11 AM

            The 5 starters were joined by either Kinnel, L.Hill, Metellus, or Watson.

            Against Iowa – not exactly a 4-WR spread team, Kinnel, L.Hill, and Watson all got D snaps. Part of that was D.Hill getting hurt and Kinnel stepping in, but Michigan needed those other guys too.

            This was a competitive game to the end, and Michigan used 8 DBs in it. So the idea that we only need to find 4 good starters is delusional.

      • Comments: 2532
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        Lanknows
        Jul 09, 2017 at 9:03 PM

        I’d like to see the same simplistic # of scholarships per starting spot applied to skill positions…

        but but it’s diffffffferent you see

        • Comments: 1951
          Joined: 7/13/2015
          Jul 09, 2017 at 9:08 PM

          You know that DB is different than other positions. Defensive backs often do and should play earlier, whereas OL, DL, QB, TE, etc. need more time to develop physically. You argue yourself that RB shouldn’t redshirt because you’re either good or you’re not. So unless you’re going to argue that defensive backs need to redshirt, then I think you should acknowledge that the numbers for defensive back are sufficient.

          Also, you “addressed” the DB numbers by saying that 6 defensive backs are on the field in critical situations, but then you leave out the fact that linebackers can play Viper/SAM. If you’re going to count Viper as a defensive back position, then you should count the guys who play Viper as defensive backs. And if you’re going to count them as linebackers, then you should acknowledge that we’re actually talking about just 5 defensive backs during late-game situations.

          • Comments: 2532
            Joined: 8/11/2015
            Lanknows
            Jul 09, 2017 at 9:16 PM

            Most safeties should red-shirt. They they generally can’t is a product of poor scholarship allocation.

            It requires both athleticism and the sort of game-intelligence you get through experience, film study, etc.

            I always counting Viper as a DB position. I haven’t seen anyone recruited as a LB playing Viper/Nickel. It could happen – but it hasn’t yet.

            I addressed the numbers needed in the secondary in the post. It’s closer to 20 than 15.

            • Comments: 1951
              Joined: 7/13/2015
              Jul 09, 2017 at 10:56 PM

              I disagree. It’s not poor scholarship allocation. If you tell an elite skill guy he’s going to redshirt, he’s signing somewhere else.

              Most players should redshirt, period. They’re better when they’re 22 than they are when they’re 18. QBs, TEs, RBs, WRs, DEs, LBs, etc. But that’s not how college football works these days.

            • Comments: 2532
              Joined: 8/11/2015
              Lanknows
              Jul 10, 2017 at 11:03 AM

              Don Brown’s defense supposedly puts a premium on experience in the secondary. It needs guys who can read the play and execute their assignment. It needs guys that can tackle in space.

              Although the defense was elite last year, the times it broke down were typically blown coverage assignments. That’ll happen when you have guys who are new to a scheme, even if they’re experienced seniors.

              Obviously if Michigan recruits 5-star safeties like Peppers, many are going to play from day 1. But until that supply becomes more steady, we have to acknowledge that the majority of our safety recruits are not blue-chippers and most need seasoning.

              In an ideal world guys like Dymonte Thomas and Jarrod Wilson aren’t forced into action before they are ready.

              I don’t agree that most should red-shirt, but positions where development is necessary for physical development (OL) or mental development/scheme understanding (QB) should. Safety is a little bit of the former and a lot of the latter.

              If you red-shirt kids you take fewer kids and you generally have to accept a lower level of talent. At some positions it’s worth the tradeoff – I think safety is one of them.

          • Comments: 816
            Joined: 8/13/2015
            Roanman
            Jul 10, 2017 at 6:55 AM

            I really don’t remember a lot of Dime going on last year, even in obvious big yardage situations.

            Maybe, but it looked to me like we were coming after you with crew of 3 down linebackers of which Peppers was one.

          • Comments: 2532
            Joined: 8/11/2015
            Lanknows
            Jul 10, 2017 at 7:54 PM

            Linebackers don’t play Viper, they play SAM. One comes in for the other, not unlike when a FB is replaced for a 3rd WR or 2nd TE.

            One goal of the roster should be to avoid handing jobs to people before they are ready.

            I get that you’re going to use elite athletes like Dymonte Thomas, Delano Hill, Jabrill Peppers, and Khaleke Hudson from day 1 because of special teams impact at least. But other guys you can afford to wait on.

            Jarrod Wilson was a very good player but he could have red-shirted. They needed him to be as ready as possible for the starting job he was being handed in year 2.

            Kinnell really SHOULD have red-shirted. That was poor roster management IMO. Michigan’s depth was fine and he mostly just played special teams.

            If you recruit more DBs you don’t have to use freshman on special teams. Which means you can red-shirt them, which means you’ll get more 5th year guys.

            The difference between a 5th year RB and a freshman RB is typically not that big. The difference between a 5th year OL/DB/QB and freshman OL/DB/QB is huge.

    • Comments: 1951
      Joined: 7/13/2015
      Jul 09, 2017 at 7:44 PM

      Just because he’s the #4 safety doesn’t mean he’s any good. Jaylen Kelly-Powell enrolled early, Brad Hawkins is a year older than most freshmen, etc. If Woods gets hurt, I don’t know how much of a drop-off there will be between him and the guy who will be taking his place on kickoff coverage.

      • Comments: 2532
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        Lanknows
        Jul 09, 2017 at 9:09 PM

        That he’s not any good is exactly the problem.

        I already addressed the problems with the assumption that all freshman are the same in the LB spot. It’s a slightly better argument here because a) we’re not likely to see walk-on earn it by default* and b) these aren’t elite recruits.

        *While Glasgow is a walk-on technically, he’s one that’s earned playing time and accolades on special teams and earned a spot on the depth chart even when it was loaded with NFL players. In short, he’s on the Heininger, Kovacs, and uhhhh…Glasgow-track.

        • Comments: 1951
          Joined: 7/13/2015
          Jul 09, 2017 at 10:57 PM

          It’s the problem for what? It might be a problem for the team if he’s not any good. But as far as this countdown goes, it’s not a problem – it’s just the way it is.

  5. JC
    Comments: 83
    Joined: 8/17/2015
    JC
    Jul 10, 2017 at 9:18 AM

    Great write up. When doing my list I had issues placing backup safeties.

    It’s reasonable to assume Metellus and Kinnel are starting. Kinnel has the most experience, has acquitted himself well, and I think should be in the top 10 because of it.

    Metellus showed up for the Orange bowl at Viper, has high praise from Don Brown, and I think should probably be in the low 20s/teens.

    I know there have been talks about viper, but Glasgow showed up for the spring game at safety. He wasn’t on my radar when I did my countdown initially, but after the spring game I think slotting him somewhere in the 30s is appropriate. To twist your words a bit, I think he’d be the backup if either safety went down.

    Khaleke is now dominating the Viper position, but I think he could slide over to safety if everything fell apart as well. Upper/lower teens.

    Where do JKP, J. Woods, Hawkins slot in? There are 3 capable bodies mentioned, with Hudson being able to slide over, but then there’s a vacancy at Viper for Glasgow to fill.

    Hawkins is a position changing true freshmen, he’s probably not going to be ready.

    JKP and J Woods are freshmen early enrollees, they’ll have a better chance to get acclimated to the game, but they’re still true freshmen. Is J Woods the #3 SS? Too early to tell.

    We could have a corner move back, but those bodies are limited as well for this year. There are players available to fill a back-up role, but how much better is one than the other? I have no clue.

    Because of 2009, I will always worry about massive depth issues at DB.
    After OL, DB is the position I’m most concerned about this year. As we lose no DBs to graduation and we already have a few in this recruiting class, I don’t feel concerned about it next year at all.

    I can’t wait for football to get here.

    • Comments: 816
      Joined: 8/13/2015
      Roanman
      Jul 10, 2017 at 9:31 AM

      Hawkins played two ways in high school. He has a lot of high school film playing what looks to me like free safety/center field. I don’t know if this was the case last year. were it me, he would have stayed on the field. I wouldn’t assume him to be less ready than Woods beyond issues having to do with terminology and getting lined up.

    • Comments: 2532
      Joined: 8/11/2015
      Lanknows
      Jul 10, 2017 at 10:56 AM

      Agree with most of this but Hudson won’t slide over to safety because the other viper options are themselves safeties. Michigan has 4 guys (Hudson, Metellus, Kinnell, Glasgow) for 3 starting positions. That’s extremely thin.

      They’ll need more than that, and nobody knows who is next in line. For the moment, it looks like Woods is off to the best start.

      • JC
        Comments: 83
        Joined: 8/17/2015
        JC
        Jul 11, 2017 at 10:20 AM

        4 bodies for 3 positions is thin. But my commentary is more driven towards reshuffling rather than bringing freshmen up.

        For example: if both a safety and Hudson go down, I assume:
        Glasgow will occupy viper sharing more time with Furbush in heavier packages.
        One of the corners will slide back to safety – either Watson, Washington, Long, or maybe even Harris.

        I have no doubts they’ll be letting KJP, JWoods, maybe Hawkins spell the safeties this year. But if the injury bug came along, I believe we’ll see some shuffling.

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