Name: Jourdan Lewis
Weight: 176 lbs.
High school: Detroit (MI) Cass Tech
Jersey number: #26
Last year: I ranked Lewis #26 and said he would be a backup cornerback with 20 tackles and 1 interception. He started seven games, making 39 tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss, 2 interceptions, and 6 pass breakups.
Going into last season, Michigan had two established starters at cornerback (Blake Countess, Raymon Taylor). Countess had been all-conference in 2013, and Taylor had played well, so I assumed Lewis was going to have to ride the bench for a while. That turned out not to be the case, as Countess struggled and Taylor did not make forward strides, either. In stepped Lewis, who was Michigan’s feistiest, most skilled, and most consistent corner. Aside from leading the team in interceptions, his most impressive feat was tracking down a Utah running back on a screen pass from the backside corner position (you can see the play HERE). It was a play that showed off his speed and determination.
One year later, I expect Lewis to be an anchor of the defense. I’m not quite sure why Countess (who is now at Auburn) and Taylor (graduated) stagnated, but both are gone and it’s clear that Lewis is the best true corner on the team. Jabrill Peppers has played a little bit of both corner and safety, but he is expected to play safety and in the slot. The Wolverines improved at pressuring the quarterback from 2013 to 2014, and another incremental step forward should help out the defensive backs. The hope is that new defensive coordinator D.J. Durkin can dream up some blitz packages and get some higher level performances out of Taco Charlton, Willie Henry, and Chris Wormley, among others. If things fall just right, then the speedy and clingy – clingy in more ways than one – Lewis could find himself in the discussion for All-Big Ten honors.
Prediction: Starting cornerback; 50 tackles, 3 interceptions, 8 pass breakups