2013 Season Countdown: #4 Thomas Gordon

2013 Season Countdown: #4 Thomas Gordon

August 25, 2013
Thomas Gordon with Brady Hoke and Jordan Kovacs

Name: Thomas Gordon
Height: 5’11”
Weight: 210 lbs.
High school: Detroit (MI) Cass Tech
Position: Safety
Class: Redshirt senior
Jersey number: #30
Last year: I ranked Gordon #10 and said he would start at free safety with 70 tackles and 2 interceptions. He started at free safety and had 81 tackles, 4 tackles for loss, 1 sack, 2 interceptions, 2 pass breakups, and 1 forced fumble.

Gordon has been starting in some capacity since his redshirt freshman season, and entered last season as a steady hand at free safety after posting 67 tackles and 4(!) fumble recoveries in 2011. He did not disappoint, although he wasn’t quite the turnover machine he was two seasons ago. He managed to pick off Purdue and Nebraska, but he was taken advantage of a little bit in the passing game at times. Not blessed with blazing speed or great size, Michigan’s safeties (along with the now departed Jordan Kovacs) were a little lacking in ideal physical traits. Both probably project best to strong safety, but it was necessary to put the two best safeties on the field; Gordon just happened to be the one playing more out of position. He did fine, as you can see from the statistics above, but he wasn’t the standout one might expect from a long-time starter.

Going into his fifth year, Gordon has taken on a leadership role and is likely to be named the defensive captain. He is one of the most indispensable members of the unit with depth somewhat lacking at safety. The backup could be anyone from redshirt junior Josh Furman – who has not been impressive at anything except punt coverage – to true freshman Delano Hill. If Gordon were to go down, we might see a safety combination of senior Courtney Avery and sophomore Jarrod Wilson at safety, two somewhat talented guys who are pretty inexperienced at playing safety. Gordon might be the glue that holds the defense together, and losing him for any stretch in Big Ten play could be quite detrimental. He may not be an all-conference player when everything is said and done because he doesn’t make the big hits or highlight-reel returns, but we could see him on the Honorable Mention list and winning some team awards after the season.

Prediction: Starting strong safety; 85 tackles, 2 interceptions


  1. Comments: 21383
    Aug 25, 2013 at 4:50 PM

    Good writeup, even though I'd put Schofield ahead of Gordon. With the final three, I think we should do it this way:

    3.) Jeremy Gallon

    2.) Devin Gardner

    1.) Taylor Lewan

    • Comments: 21383
      Aug 25, 2013 at 5:28 PM

      I originally had Schofield ahead of Gordon, but Schofield has some replacements who have been getting a lot of snaps with the first team and fighting for starting gigs. Braden is a possibility there, Magnuson has been getting a lot of reps, Kalis could bump out to allow Bryant/Glasgow/Burzynski to play OG, etc. If Gordon goes out, we've got position-switcher Avery, a questionable Jarrod Wilson, and then a bunch of guys who have basically never played and aren't wowing people. And right tackle is an easier position to play, in my opinion, than safety. Bad safety play typically means a bad defense. There are ways to cover for a mediocre right tackle (chip with a RB, put a TE on that side, run to the left, etc.).

    • Comments: 21383
      Aug 25, 2013 at 7:40 PM

      Yeah, I know what you mean. I heard Hoke was doing that to prevent injury (placing in Magnuson and Braden). I heard that's why he held out Lewan, Toussaint, Schofield, and Gordon from the scrimmage was to prevent injury. I know Mattison/Hoke have been working Avery at Safety, and I think he's a decent option if Gordon or Wilson were to go down…But in all honesty I'd rather put Countess and even Raymon Taylor out there ahead of Avery, those two are less-prone to getting beat deep. I do think Avery is a good football player who works to his potential I just think there are better players out there.

    • Comments: 21383
      Aug 25, 2013 at 8:12 PM

      I think Gardner is more important than Lewan to the team's success purely because of depth. Schofield at left tackle is preferable to Cleary or frosh Morris at QB.

    • Comments: 21383
      Aug 25, 2013 at 8:55 PM

      Agree with your order and logic Thunder. Our OL depth is OK, the issue is if the starters on the inside are good enough to drive our run game.

      I think the Avery at safety thing is getting way too much attention, but it does point to a lack of quality depth there. Gordon is absolutely one of the most important players on the team to keep healthy.

    • Comments: 21383
      Aug 26, 2013 at 1:44 PM

      Gardner is #1 by a country mile. If Morris (or Cleary) had to start the entire season, UM would be lucky to win 6 games.

  2. Comments: 21383
    Aug 25, 2013 at 8:15 PM

    Bologna! http://mgoblog.com/mgoboard/official-depth-chart-released-tomorrow-rivals-opines-today , where the heck is Richard Ash? Also, the interior OLD is going to be BAD, so do you think Borges might start doing outside running plays?

    • Comments: 21383
      Aug 25, 2013 at 9:11 PM

      The dude who released that speculative depth chart is developing a history of inaccuracy.

      I don't think the interior line is going to be bad. They might struggle early with pass pro.

    • Comments: 21383
      Aug 25, 2013 at 9:38 PM

      I think Richard Ash is probably #3 at nose tackle. From what I've heard, Ryan Glasgow is more of a 3-tech than a nose. The NT position will be Washington, Pipkins, and Ash, and the 3-tech will be Black, Henry, and perhaps Glasgow, in my opinion.

    • Comments: 21383
      Aug 25, 2013 at 11:15 PM

      Great, so Ash is never going to start? >:( He was an exciting get when he first committed in 2009

  3. Comments: 21383
    Aug 25, 2013 at 10:25 PM

    The only thing I remember about Furman on punt coverage is him completely wiping out some guy who had called for a fair catch. Felt good for a minute until the flag came out.

    But when, oh when, are we going to get some real talent at safety? Some of the people reading this blog probably weren't alive the last time we had a real stud at safety.

    • Comments: 21383
      Aug 26, 2013 at 12:07 AM

      That's not even close to true. Shazor got the All-American nod, Jamar Adams and Brandent Englemon weren't bad, Marlin Jackson played safety for a season, Marcus Ray was late '90s…how old do you think this blog readership is?

    • Comments: 21383
      Painter Smurf
      Aug 26, 2013 at 4:24 PM

      Not sure about "stud" but Kovacs was UM's most effective safety in a long time. Having a guy with NFL measurables would be great. But I'm at a point now where I don't care how physically impressive a safety is. Just give us a guy who is consistently in the right place, is not fooled by offensive schemes, and who is a solid tackler. Anything else is gravy.

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