2017 Season Countdown: #20 Keith Washington

2017 Season Countdown: #20 Keith Washington


August 14, 2017

Keith Washington (image via Twitter)

Name: Keith Washington
Height: 6’2″
Weight: 170 lbs.
High school: Prattville (AL) Prattville
Position: Cornerback
Class: Redshirt sophomore
Jersey number: #6
Last year: I ranked Washington #54 and said he would be a backup cornerback. He made 3 tackles.
TTB Rating: 68

Washington entered college in 2015 with very little experience at defensive back. Instead, he was a standout dual-threat quarterback in high school. So the transition from high school QB to college CB was bound to take some time. He looked lost in the 2016 spring game, he got overpowered, he lost contain, and he didn’t look like he knew how to tackle very well. He was sprinkled in on special teams in 2016 and made a few tackles, but he largely went unnoticed.

Fast forward to the 2017 spring game, and everything may have changed. The first thing is that he looked noticeably larger than the 170 lbs. he had been listed at during his first two seasons on campus. Second, he looked like he knew what he was doing. His technique had improved, and he was playing faster. Washington is an example of why some people aren’t too concerned about an inexperienced defense under Don Brown, because a year of experience in a complicated defense can make a huge difference. In Washington’s case, he may have a bit of a breakout season. Hardcore Michigan fans know who he is, but a casual fan may wonder “Where did this guy come from?” when he takes the field this fall. I think Washington will take on a more prominent role, and to my eyes, he looked like the best cover corner on the team in the spring game.

Prediction: Starting cornerback; 20 tackles, 2 interceptions

28 comments

  1. Avatar
    Comments: 1863
    Joined: 1/19/2016
    je93
    Aug 14, 2017 at 9:14 AM

    There’s spring hype, which has me a bit hesitant, but agree that Washington looked good. At the very least, he looks like he could be a depth

    • JC
      Comments: 313
      Joined: 8/17/2015
      JC
      Aug 14, 2017 at 9:43 AM

      Spring hype or the spring game? If you’re hearing, “X had a very productive spring and has made some strides.”, yes, take that with a grain of salt, but Washington looked phenomenal in the spring game. There shouldn’t be any hesitation in that statement. He was in DPJ’s back pocket. Whoever says spring game performances aren’t a great way of judging a player is saying that to reinforce whatever mindset they’re stuck in.

      “I’m a big believer that the spring really defines, for the most part, the core guys in your football team.” – Don Brown

      • Lanknows
        Comments: 6285
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        Lanknows
        Aug 14, 2017 at 10:44 AM

        Sticking to your guns Mr. Peters-will-be-the-starter eh?

        • JC
          Comments: 313
          Joined: 8/17/2015
          JC
          Aug 14, 2017 at 11:58 AM

          I think Peters is more talented than Speight, and if Peters starts against Florida, I would be elated as that means Harbaugh believes he’s ready for action.

          My take on QB has been, “If Peters is the starter, great. If Speight is the starter, great.” Even if Speight is the starter, I wouldn’t rank him any higher than 8th in Thunder’s countdown.

          I think Speight will be the starter. However, I don’t expect any dropoff if Peters is thrown into action.

          • Avatar
            Comments: 528
            Joined: 9/13/2015
            michymich
            Aug 14, 2017 at 12:10 PM

            How can a qb being ranked #8? Unless he only hands off the ball I just can’t see it. Maybe if he plays for the 85 Bears? Who would be the 7 guys ahead of him?

            I will play along. You would pick Gary, Hurst, Evans, Cole, McCray, Crawford and Long. I can’t even pick one of these guys ahead of Speight. He is the qb. He is the qb on a Harbaugh team. Maybe you can convince me possibly of 3 guys (stretch) ahead of him but come on. 8? Is this because you think he is easily replaceable like with JOK? Or essentially a frosh? Would you want one of the backups to play at PSU. Right there the value of Speight is invaluable. Not having Speight would mean UM would have 1-2 more losses this year which probably makes him #1 on the list. All of the other guys can be somewhat replaced or minimized.

            • JC
              Comments: 313
              Joined: 8/17/2015
              JC
              Aug 14, 2017 at 2:05 PM

              I always take Thunder’s countdown as: who is least expendable?

              #1 Mason Cole
              OL hasn’t been great, Cole has the ability to play LT, C, and probably guard. We’re going to need him at LT this year, as we’re rather thin on tackles. If we lose him, our line is in terrible shape.

              #2 – Hurst
              Hurst is an absolute monster, and interior DL depth does not have a ton of upper classmen. Usually it’s the lines that need upper classmen to contribute the most, and we don’t have a plethora of them.

              #3 – Mone
              NT is an integral part of this defense, have to be strong up the middle. Behind Mone is Solomon, or we could have position changers.

              #4 – Gary
              From a talent standpoint, Gary is probably #1. He’s our starter at SDE. However, I really like Carlo Kemp, and think he could do a great job if Gary was not there.

              #5 – McCray
              Linebacker depth is not great. McCray was a solid player last year, and he’s going to be a leader on our defense this year. The other two inside linebackers we’ve heard about are Robo and Bush. Not a ton of depth there.

              #6 – Kinnel
              Behind our two starting safeties are Glasgow, and two true freshmen. Don’t have snaps in front of me, but Kinnel is probably our most seasoned DB.

              #7 – Winovich
              Chase did wonders last year in limited snaps. Hopefully he can keep that productivity up with an increased role. Backups are names that haven’t been tossed around much, or true freshmen Paye or Villain. Need Chase to be able to hold up.

              #8 – Speight
              Speight is probably our starter. What I saw from Peters in the spring game, I don’t expect any dropoff from Speight to Peters.

              Who’s most important to a team’s success? Obviously it’s the quarterback. But I feel this list is, “Who can we afford to lose the least?”

              • Lanknows
                Comments: 6285
                Joined: 8/11/2015
                Lanknows
                Aug 14, 2017 at 5:53 PM

                I have most of the same guys in my top 10 but…Peters isn’t even the backup right now – it’s O’Korn. We saw that the gap from Speight to OKorn was significant last year. The assumption that his backups are just as good doesn’t seem to be grounded in much reality.

          • Lanknows
            Comments: 6285
            Joined: 8/11/2015
            Lanknows
            Aug 14, 2017 at 12:40 PM

            lol. Your takes have been much hotter than “all our QBs are the same”.

            The 3rd string QB is almost never as good as the 1st string QB. This year’s team would be no different.

            Amazing to me that Harbaugh is essentially saying Peters is going to be 3rd string but people are so set in their thinking that he’s still just as good as the starter.

            • JC
              Comments: 313
              Joined: 8/17/2015
              JC
              Aug 14, 2017 at 2:37 PM

              I don’t think all our QBs are the same. I think Peters is the most talented. From what I’ve seen out of O’Korn I don’t have a lot of faith in him. I would love it if Harbaugh thinks Peters is ready for the job and marches him out there to start from day 1. Whoever our QB is, he is who Harbaugh believes gives us the best chance of winning and I’ll cheer for whoever that may be.

              You can say Wilton was 3rd best in the BIG, and I’m assuming that metric is based on passer rating (139.8). JT Barrett and Tyler O Connor were a little behind at 135, Perry Hills was #2, and Trace McSoreley was first with 157.

              4th best in the Big 12 had a passer rating of 147. 9th place was still 136.
              4th best in the Pac-12 was 146, 9th was still 133.
              5th best in the SEC was 140.
              7th best in the ACC was 142.

              139.8 ranks as 43rd best in the FBS. Wilton was 61st in yards, 46th in yards per attempt, and 41st in completion percentage. Those numbers are not so spectacular that a RS freshman couldn’t come in and take his spot. Andrew Luck’s freshman year, he threw for 2600 yards and a QB rating of 143.5.

              • Lanknows
                Comments: 6285
                Joined: 8/11/2015
                Lanknows
                Aug 14, 2017 at 5:56 PM

                You are aware that Harbaugh said that OKorn and Speight have separated from Peters right?

                The pecking order isn’t baseless speculation anymore.

                Things could change, anything can happen, etc. but the actions and words of our coaching staff are pointing in the same direction.

                • Avatar
                  Comments: 1863
                  Joined: 1/19/2016
                  je93
                  Aug 14, 2017 at 6:30 PM

                  If you’re going to quote him, it should be accurate. He said they created “a little bit of separation”

                  That’s not much more than we know about Keith Washington’s weight

                • Lanknows
                  Comments: 6285
                  Joined: 8/11/2015
                  Lanknows
                  Aug 14, 2017 at 6:57 PM

                  ““Yeah, John [O’Korn] and Wilton [Speight] have really stepped up. I think they’ve created a little bit of separation and they’re battling now. It’s going one with the ones and the next day the other’s with the ones and the other’s with the twos. We’re keeping a very close eye on it and it’s progressing well.”

                  So Peters is not in the duo that is working with the ones or twos. i.e., he is 3rd string.

                • Lanknows
                  Comments: 6285
                  Joined: 8/11/2015
                  Lanknows
                  Aug 14, 2017 at 6:58 PM

                  Maybe someone can explain the reluctance to accept what Harbaugh is saying here pretty damn clearly.

                • Avatar
                  Comments: 1863
                  Joined: 1/19/2016
                  je93
                  Aug 14, 2017 at 7:45 PM

                  No one is saying speight sucks, or they hate the guy

                  As discussed yesterday, JH has established a precedence of overselling the competition at QB. Additionally, we have some insider info here from UMBig11 (to close spring and just one week ago), consistently saying Peters was in it

                  Speight is our likely starter, but I doubt he finishes the season as our #1

              • Lanknows
                Comments: 6285
                Joined: 8/11/2015
                Lanknows
                Aug 14, 2017 at 9:37 PM

                If I sit here and say McCray is going to get replaced by whoever by the end of the year I am going to sound like a hater.

                Harbaugh does have a history of overselling competition — so when he says people are breaking ahead of others it probably means it’s over for that guy/guys.

                This is Speight’s show — it’s always been Speight’s show since spring 2016. Anything else is fantasy.

                • Avatar
                  Comments: 1364
                  Joined: 8/11/2015
                  WindyCityBlue
                  Aug 15, 2017 at 6:52 AM

                  Yes, it’s true…the “meritocracy” under Harbaugh is very much overblown. He’s going to go with experience, pretty much without exception. The chances of him replacing a guy who has started in the past with someone younger and less experienced, even if more talented, are very small. I don’t see it happening anywhere this year, even with all of the talent from the last two recruiting classes.

                • Lanknows
                  Comments: 6285
                  Joined: 8/11/2015
                  Lanknows
                  Aug 15, 2017 at 11:29 AM

                  Happened at RB last year – with Evans and Higdon passing Isaac through the course of the year.

                  Happened at QB last year with a RS Soph passing a 4th year QB with starting experience who transferred to presumably not sit the bench.

                  Happened on OL last year with Bredeson and Newsome.

                  Happened at WR over the spring, with Harris getting kicked out to CB and Ways buried.

                  Happening at Viper with Hudson.

                  etc. etc. etc.

                • Lanknows
                  Comments: 6285
                  Joined: 8/11/2015
                  Lanknows
                  Aug 15, 2017 at 11:31 AM

                  Usually a starter is a starter for a reason. Not replacing a successful one with a younger player is not a sign of a lack of meritocracy unless that guy ends up demonstrating he is better afterwards. I can’t think of any such examples except perhaps Ty Isaac.

                  Maybe I’m forgetting someone?

                • Lanknows
                  Comments: 6285
                  Joined: 8/11/2015
                  Lanknows
                  Aug 15, 2017 at 11:31 AM

                  And Isaac has never been a starter anyway.

      • Avatar
        Comments: 528
        Joined: 9/13/2015
        michymich
        Aug 14, 2017 at 12:00 PM

        I was watching a recent fall camp highlight and Washington looks like a fluid corner with both talent and size (height). Looks the part. Now I haven’t paid much attention to his play but he sure looks the part. I will be watching but he does pass the initial eye test at least according to my eyes.

  2. Lanknows
    Comments: 6285
    Joined: 8/11/2015
    Lanknows
    Aug 14, 2017 at 10:43 AM

    Smells like a case of spring hype to me but… sometimes that stuff is real.

    I have no clue if it is for Washington or not but the difference between him and Peters is that Washington isn’t sitting behind the 3rd best CB in the Big Ten last year.

    I had Washington much lower (outside the top 35) but I think this rank can be just as plausible if the spring hype is real. Part of it is that Brown loves long lanky corners and Hill, Long, and Thomas aren’t in that mold. Part of it is that I liked Washington’s recruiting profile and buy into Thunder’s rationale about needing time for him. I’m doubtful that he’s there now, but Michigan needs somebody to be.

  3. Avatar
    Comments: 1364
    Joined: 8/11/2015
    WindyCityBlue
    Aug 14, 2017 at 12:05 PM

    Be nice if we knew actual weights for these guys. Not sure why they are so reluctant to post an updated roster.

    • Lanknows
      Comments: 6285
      Joined: 8/11/2015
      Lanknows
      Aug 14, 2017 at 12:42 PM

      I get where you’re coming from – I’m curious too – but it wouldn’t really change anything either way.

      • Avatar
        Comments: 1364
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        WindyCityBlue
        Aug 14, 2017 at 1:06 PM

        No, but it’s just been peeving me slightly for a while, and since Thunder mentioned Washington’s seemingly out-of-date weight, I thought I’d vent. The basketball roster has been updated for 2017, but they’re still posting the football roster from last fall. Not even an update for spring.

        • Avatar
          Comments: 82
          Joined: 1/10/2017
          Julio
          Aug 14, 2017 at 2:17 PM

          Seconded. It won’t kill me to wait, but I’m itching to see the numbers.

  4. Avatar
    Comments: 1863
    Joined: 1/19/2016
    je93
    Aug 14, 2017 at 2:25 PM

    To me, not releasing this info is further proof that Harbaugh is all about misdirection/unreliable camp info

    He doesn’t want to rip his hand, even for the small stuff. When he does say something, it should be taken with a grain of salt

    • Avatar
      Comments: 1364
      Joined: 8/11/2015
      WindyCityBlue
      Aug 14, 2017 at 3:01 PM

      Well, there’s small stuff and then there’s paranoia or just jerking people around. I’d worry if Harbaugh thought there was an advantage to not letting future know whether Keith Washington weighs 180 or 190, or whether Ben Mason is a FB or a LB.

      • Avatar
        Comments: 1863
        Joined: 1/19/2016
        je93
        Aug 14, 2017 at 4:26 PM

        At the very least, he’s consistent

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