Name: David Long
Weight: 198 lbs.
High school: Los Angeles (CA) Loyola
Jersey number: #22
Last year: I ranked Long #22 and said he would be a backup cornerback (LINK). He made 21 tackles, 2 tackles for loss, 0.5 tackles for loss, 6 pass breakups, and 2 interceptions (returned for 105 yards).
TTB Rating: 92
Long seemed to be in a battle for the starting cornerback job going into his sophomore season last year, and I had Keith Washington pegged to be the starter over him. Washington ended up transferring (he’s now at WVU), which was a pretty good indicator he didn’t win the gig. The winner in that battle was Long, obviously, who started all thirteen games. With this cornerback crew, the starters have got to be studs, and Long was a lockdown guy. No matter what metric Pro Football Focus uses (completion percentage, passer rating against, etc.), Long pops up as one of the top few corners in the nation.
This year Long appears to be a shoo-in for the cornerback spot, where he can build upon his sophomore season. He was listed at 187 lbs. going into 2017, and now he’s listed at 198 lbs. after the arrival of new strength and conditioning coach Ben Herbert. He was all-conference honorable mention, and a lot of times that portends a slide up the charts as long as he maintains – or improves – his performance. Of course, Michigan has an excellent defensive line and blitzes a lot, so that helps Long and the other defensive backs. It should be another excellent season for Long, and I expect him to get some more all-conference honors in 2018.
Prediction: Starting cornerback; 25 tackles, 2 interceptions