Name: Troy Woolfolk
Weight: 195 lbs.
High school: Dulles High School in Sugar Land, TX
Jersey number: #29
Last year: I ranked Woolfolk at #8. He made 6 starts at deep safety and 6 starts at cornerback and tallied 46 tackles along with 1 pass breakup.
Woolfolk was one of the better players on Michigan’s defense last season, despite flip-flopping positions. He was a cornerback in 2007 and 2008, then moved to deep safety in spring 2009. He played fairly well at deep safety for the first half of the season, but the moronic behavior (Boubacar Cissoko) and poor play (J.T. Floyd) of Michigan’s non-Donovan Warren cornerback last season forced Woolfolk back to cornerback. The position move was good for Woolfolk, who proved he could cover, but it was bad for Michigan’s defense, which turned into a sieve. Although Warren was a 5-star classmate of 3-star Woolfolk, opposing teams largely ignored Woolfolk’s receivers and picked on every other part of the secondary.
Coming into 2010, I assumed Woolfolk would remain at deep safety. He played well there last year, and no other safeties had shown the ability to do the job. However, Michigan made some slight tweaks to the defense and converted to a defense that will be predominantly a Cover 3 defense. In such a scheme, a fleet-footed deep safety isn’t needed, and it looks as though converted wide receiver Cameron Gordon will be taking that role this season.
Then the Great Cornerback Exodus began. In addition to Warren entering the NFL Draft a year early (and promptly going undrafted) and Boubacar Cissoko going to jail, elite cornerback recruit Demar Dorsey failed to qualify for entry to Michigan and Justin Turner chose to transfer; if you’re scoring at home, that’s one 5-star and three high 4-star cornerbacks who should be on the roster for this season. In case Michigan fans’ souls weren’t crushed enough, Woolfolk broke his lower leg a couple days after Turner was released from his scholarship.
There are only a couple places on the team where Michigan simply couldn’t afford an injury to a quality starter, and Woolfolk’s cornerback position was one of them. His backups are young, not very good, or both. When I created this list a couple months ago, I looked at the depth and talent at cornerback . . . and still put Woolfolk all the way at #2. With a redshirt freshman position changer (Gordon) playing free safety and a guy who was removed from the field in favor of Mike Williams (Floyd) at the other cornerback, Woolfolk was indispensible. Now senior James Rogers has taken over Woolfolk’s position (at least for now), and while Rogers has great speed, he hasn’t played much in his career. This position is weak, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it costs Michigan a game or two throughout the season.
Prediction for 2010: Redshirt due to broken ankle; return for fifth year status in 2011
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