Michigan Football: Monday Mailbag

Question from Voice of Reason

I know that when playing true freshmen you are taking a higher risk. I think Cam Gordon's got potential, but I question if he is at the right safety position because of his lack of true speed to play center field and the need to tackle well especially if you're the last line of defense. I usually feel that a freshman player makes an easier transition to the college level faster if he is playing the same position he excelled in in high school if he's not going to red shirt. When we consider Carvin Johnson and Ray Vinopal who "may" have more football speed and better tackling skills than CG, which safety position(s) did they play in high school? Would they in principle be a better technical fit at that position? Thanks!

Great question.  I also have my concerns about Cam Gordon at safety as well.  He is a good hitter (needs to wrap up on tackles and not just go for the knock out punch) but seems to lack the elite speed needed to play center field.  In my mind, Cam reminds me of former Wolverine Stevie Brown.  If you remember many Michigan fans thought Stevie was a poor safety but really excelled when he played in the linebacker hybrid role in Greg Robinson's defense.   Stevie ended up being so good at that position he even got drafted by the Oakland Raiders and made the team.

Ray Vinopal was a two-way player in high school.  He played running back and safety.  Most recruiting guys thought his skills at safety were a little rough where he lacked the "down hill" speed and took poor angles to the ball.  I think of Ray similar to Kovacs.  A smart player that doesn't have the elite skill set.

Carvin Johnson was one of the best safeties in Louisiana last year.  He has 4.7 speed in the 40, and his high school coach calls him a "ball hawk."  Getting the start on opening day means this kid can play.  It also made it clear to Vlad ...

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