|Defensive back Troy Woolfolk with his father, former Michigan running back Butch
(image via DetNews.com)
Name: Troy Woolfolk
Weight: 191 lbs.
High school: Dulles High School in Sugar Land, TX
Class: Redshirt senior
Jersey number: #29
Last year: I ranked Woolfolk at #2. But by the time I got to that ranking, he had already dislocated his ankle and been declared unable to play.
Thank goodness Woolfolk is back. With the overall lack of speed and athleticism in the defensive backfield, he will be a welcome sight on September 3. Last year I was expecting big things from the kid, and he had an unfortunate practice incident that caused his senior season to be delayed. That absence meant that the cornerback positions were left to senior James Rogers and redshirt sophomore J.T. Floyd, neither of whom was particularly impressive; Floyd suffered an ankle injury halfway through the season that forced true freshman Courtney Avery into starting action, too. By the end of the year, Michigan was starting cornerbacks #3 and #4 on the pre-season depth chart. Rogers played admirably with 40 tackles and 3 picks, Floyd made 66 tackles and 1 interception, and Avery made 36 tackles, but getting 4 interceptions out of your cornerbacks – not to mention oodles of completions in front of them – was hard to watch.
Woolfolk has been earning praise this August for his off-season preparation and his knowledge of the defense, despite being unable to practice full speed in the spring. Comments from defensive coordinator Greg Mattison and head coach Brady Hoke suggest that Woolfolk will be a starter in the defensive backfield on September 3. But once again, his position has been muddied. Michigan technically has three returning starters at the cornerback position with Woolfolk, Floyd, and Avery; meanwhile, only Jordan Kovacs has started at a safety spot (Carvin Johnson started a few games last year, but as a hybrid outside linebacker). If the Wolverines want to get their best four defensive backs on the field, that might be a combination of Floyd and Avery at cornerback with Woolfolk and Kovacs at safety. Whether he’s at safety or cornerback, I’m guessing Woolfolk will be Michigan’s best defensive back.
Prediction: Starting cornerback; 45 tackles, 2 interceptions
Poll Results: You guys really disagreed with me here. Woolfolk only got 7% of the votes, while Koger (51%), Omameh (20%), and Hemingway (17%) all had more.
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