|Blake Countess (#1)
The cold, wet weather in Maryland had one advantage for Michigan and its fans. Cornerback Blake Countess, from Our Lady of Good Counsel in Olney, Tweeted on Friday morning that he would be playing college ball at Michigan. Countess is a 5’10”, 174 lb. cornerback and a 4-star recruit to all three major recruiting services; he’s also ranked anywhere between #13 and #18 in the country at the cornerback position.
Countess is a very solid corner. I can’t honestly say that he’s “great” at any one thing. But unlike several other cornerback recruits over the past few years (Justin Turner was too big, Demar Dorsey was too thuggish, Boubacar Cissoko was short and harbored too much ill will toward delivery boys), Countess doesn’t have any glaring deficiencies. He has decent size, runs well, has good hips, is a solid tackler, and tracks the ball well in the air. He ended his senior season with 47.5 tackles, 15 pass breakups, and 2 return touchdowns, in addition to 21 receptions for 302 yards and 2 touchdowns on offense. The way he moves reminds me a bit of former Michigan cornerback Ty Law, although Law filled out to be a thick, physical corner at Michigan and later in the NFL.
He also seems to be an intelligent kid with good character. According to his senior highlights (below), he has a 3.1 GPA and a 22 on the ACT. He’s well spoken in interviews and attends a respected private school. Our Lady of Good Counsel consistently puts out a couple FBS prospects, including Jelani Jenkins (Florida) from the Class of 2009 and Vincent Croce (Virginia) from the Class of 2011, both of whom were offered by Michigan. As for the pedigree of OLGC’s football team, it went 10-2 and beat renowned DeMatha in the WCAC championship game this season by a score of 42-3. For some perspective, Michigan offered five DeMatha seniors in the Class of 2010, and no less than ten DeMatha kids have offers to play FBS football in the Class of 2011. On a team that obliterated a squad like DeMatha, Countess was a captain. That bodes well for his future.
This gives Michigan four cornerbacks in the Class of 2011 – Countess, Dallas Crawford, Delonte Hollowell, and Greg Brown. I do not expect Michigan to continue recruiting cornerbacks for this class, at least not to commit immediately. The coaches will likely stay in contact with kids like Daren Kitchen, Valdez Showers, Raymon Taylor, and James Richardson, but only to keep lines of communication open in case one of the aforementioned players decommits. It’s possible, even likely, that one of these four will move to free safety early in his career. I also expect that Michigan will continue to recruit strong safeties like Wayne Lyons.
Overall, this is a solid development in Michigan’s recruiting, especially during a time when Rich Rodriguez’s future as coach is somewhat murky. If Rodriguez can keep his job and hire a competent defensive coordinator, someone ought to be able to create a solid defense from the pieces being thrown together.