2011 Countdown: #19 Cameron Gordon

2011 Countdown: #19 Cameron Gordon

August 12, 2011
Cameron Gordon (#4)

Name: Cameron Gordon
Height: 6’3″
Weight: 222 lbs.
High school: Inkster High School in Detroit, MI
Position: Strongside linebacker
Class: Redshirt sophomore
Jersey number: #4
Last year: I ranked Gordon #11 and said he would start at free safety.  He started 7 games at free safety and 6 at outside linebacker; he had 77 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss, 3 interceptions, 4 pass breakups, 2 fumble recoveries, 1 fumble return for a touchdown, and 1 blocked kick.

It was pretty obvious from the beginning of last year that Gordon wasn’t a free safety.  To many people, that was obvious when he was recruited . . . just not obvious enough to Rich Rodriguez’ coaching staff.  Gordon made some nice tackles and even a couple interceptions on passes where he didn’t have to run very far, but anytime he had to play sideline-to-sideline, it was a track meet he was bound to lose.  Why opposing teams didn’t run four verts against him on every play last year is beyond me.  But by the Penn State, it was obvious that Gordon needed to be somewhere else.  And just like Purdue in 2008 (Remember that? When we all learned what the 3-3-5 looked like for the first time?), Penn State was an abomination.  With offensive guards playing defensive tackle, safeties playing linebacker, and backup safeties playing starting safety, Michigan allowed 41 points to a walk-on quarterback and gave Evan Royster 150 yards rushing when he had been averaging 64 yards per game previously.

After the position switch, Gordon’s tackles per game dropped off (7.3 to 4.3), but he had 2 fumble recoveries, 1 touchdown, 1 interception, and 2.5 tackles for loss from his outside linebacker position.  He looked more comfortable playing closer to the line, and his speed went from being a weakness to a strength.  By the end of the season, he wasn’t a great player, but observers could certainly see that Gordon had developed into a Player to Watch over the next three years.

This year Gordon looks as if he’ll start at SAM linebacker.  He added 15 pounds in the offseason, which should allow him to shed blocks easier.  He’ll have hold off another viable option at SAM in redshirt freshman Jake Ryan (who’s 8 lbs. heavier at 230), but Gordon has a leg up on Ryan in the athleticism department and will also slide over to inside linebacker in obvious passing situations.  It would probably suit the defense well to sub Ryan for Gordon against power running teams or in short yardage situations, but Gordon’s forward momentum should carry over from the end of 2010 into 2011.

Prediction: Starting SAM; 60 tackles, 2 sacks


  1. Comments: 21383
    Aug 12, 2011 at 4:53 PM

    Wow, talk about beefing up. Gordon's damn near the size of Marrell Evans, though he's built a bit differently.

  2. Comments: 21383
    Aug 12, 2011 at 5:10 PM

    Cam Gordon was my "player to watch" for this season, and people are finally coming around to him, especially since he's adding some muscle.

  3. Comments: 21383
    Aug 12, 2011 at 10:59 PM

    Abomination is really the most accurate word to describe PSU from last year.

  4. Comments: 21383
    Painter Smurf
    Aug 12, 2011 at 11:08 PM

    Any comments on specifically how Gordon looked this spring? I watched the spring game, but dod not recall Gordon's play. I know he has nice physical tools (RR's staff and now Hoke's staff keep moving him to the head of the line), but I am wondering how quickly he was picking up SAM duties? It's probably not a good sign that he is an instant starter after moving to the position. Hopefully he is a quick study. I won't be surprised if Ryan earns more PT based on showing a little more savvy. Things obviously move very quickly up near the LOS.

  5. Comments: 21383
    Aug 13, 2011 at 12:15 AM

    @ Painter Smurf 7:08 p.m.

    I thought Gordon was pretty forgettable in the spring game, but he didn't get exposed, either. Frankly, the offense wasn't very good, so it's hard to get a grasp on how well he matched up. When they went to their nickel package, Gordon moved inside to play ILB. He looked pretty solid in his pass drops, as one might expect from a former wide receiver/safety.

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