Michigan Wolverines: Delonte Hollowell

The Wolverines are less than a week away from signing day. Michigan still has its top recruit, Jabrill Peppers, in the fold, while the No. 2 and No. 3 commitments -- wide receiver Drake Harris and defensive tackle Bryan Mone -- have already enrolled.

Here’s a look back at Brady Hoke’s top three commits in each of his Michigan recruiting classes and what they’ve done so far in their careers for the maize and blue.

2013 class:

No. 1: RB Derrick Green

The freshman toted the ball 83 times this season, though if Hoke weren’t so loyal to his upperclassmen then Green probably would’ve taken over the job earlier from Fitzgerald Toussaint. Green finished the year averaging 3.3 yards per carry (third best on the team) and will look to be the featured back next season.

[+] EnlargeJourdan Lewis
Rick Osentoski/USA TODAY SportsMichigan cornerback Jourdan Lewis just missed on a few big plays during his freshman season but showed promise for the future.
No. 2: CB Jourdan Lewis

Lewis appeared in all 13 games for the Wolverines this season but only tallied 17 tackles and two pass break ups. He picked up more reps as the season came to a close but he (like fellow freshman Channing Stribling) found himself in a lot of “close but not quite there” situations with wide receivers.

No. 3: G David Dawson

Dawson redshirted this season but his name was brought up a few times, specifically during bowl practices. He should be able to compete for reps next season but likely won’t crack the starting lineup.

2012 class:

No. 1: CB Terry Richardson

He didn’t get into a game this season after appearing as a back up cornerback in four games in 2012. He was known for his speed and quickness as a high schooler, but at 5-foot-9 he seemed a little bit on the smaller end for Greg Mattison’s defense.

No. 2: OLB Royce Jenkins-Stone

As a freshman Jenkins-Stone played in 13 games on special teams and once appeared as a backup linebacker. As a sophomore he again played on special teams and one game as a linebacker. In his career he has registered 11 tackles.

No. 3: G Kyle Kalis

He redshirted last season but started eight games this season at right guard. He missed some time because of an ankle injury but showed a ton of promise on a struggling O-line. His return next season should help solidify the interior offensive line and the aid the struggles the Wolverines had.

2011 class:

No. 1: CB Blake Countess

Countess came off his ACL injury and recorded a Big Ten-best six interceptions this season. His 42 total tackles was two shy of his freshman total. He should be the vocal leader of the secondary next season as a fourth-year junior.

No. 2: CB Delonte Hollowell

In 10 games this season Hollowell tallied just two total tackles. In just four of those games Hollowell saw time on defense, as he mainly played special teams.

No. 3: DE Brennen Beyer

Beyer played at SAM linebacker this season until Jake Ryan returned and then moved back to the defensive line, where he played in 2012. He accounted for 27 tackles, four tackles for a loss, two sacks, one interception and five quarterback hurries.
ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- While Michigan’s offense has a bunch of questions surrounding who will play where and how much time freshmen might see, the Wolverines’ defense has other issues.

These, though, aren’t so bad.

Michigan has significant depth -- albeit some inexperience -- at every spot on its defense. This allows the Wolverines to come closer to reaching defensive coordinator Greg Mattison’s goal of being able to rotate players at both defensive line and linebacker to keep them fresh for later in games and later on in the season.

Depth chart analysis: Cornerback 

January, 21, 2013
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Raymon TaylorAP Photo/Michael ConroySophomore Raymon Taylor was thrust into a starting cornerback position when Blake Countess went out for the season due to injury, and his experience should help Michigan's secondary next season.
Over the next few weeks, WolverineNation will look at every position on the Michigan roster and give a depth chart analysis of each position on the roster heading into the offseason.

This was considered a position of strength entering last season, with two experienced corners getting ready to man their positions and have breakout years. It didn’t really take place as Blake Countess missed all but one game of the season with an injury and J.T. Floyd was consistent but didn’t make the next leap.

Now, entering next season, Michigan is in the same position. It has two starting cornerbacks ready to jump up a talent level and a bunch of guys behind them who are talented but don’t have much experience at all.

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ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Michigan’s path to winning the Outback Bowl just got more difficult. For the Wolverines, already trying to beat a top-10 team with a strong defense and a capable offense, losing starting cornerback J.T. Floyd, the most experienced and consistent corner on the roster, along with Big Ten punter of the year Will Hagerup is a big blow.

Now Michigan has to face South Carolina with sophomore Raymon Taylor and junior Courtney Avery as the starting cornerbacks. Taylor has proved he can play well against topflight opponents this season, but Avery has rarely been in a position to be an every-down player throughout his career.

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Norfleet makes move to cornerback

December, 14, 2012
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ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Dennis Norfleet always has been Michigan’s shiftiest, fastest freshman on the field. This movement, though, had little to do with his speed.

[+] EnlargeDennis Norfleet
Ray Carlin/Icon SMIRunning back and return specialist Dennis Norfleet has switched to cornerback.
Norfleet has made the move from offense to defense, settling in the last two weeks at cornerback instead of running back, where he saw limited action. It is a move the coaches have contemplated for a while, but they didn’t make the switch until after the regular season concluded.

“We talked about it for a while,” coach Brady Hoke said. “Just to get another good athlete on the field.”

It is an athleticism Norfleet showed a multitude of times this season returning kickoffs, which is a role he will still play. It is there where the 5-foot-7 freshman made the most impact, gaining 795 yards and coming within one cut of breaking long returns a handful of times this season. He also showed promise returning punts, averaging 26.5 yards in his two punt returns.

As for his switch, Hoke said the move wasn’t made due to depth at either spot, although Michigan now has two healthy, scholarship running backs in sophomore Thomas Rawls and redshirt freshman Justice Hayes. The Wolverines have a little more depth at cornerback with senior J.T. Floyd, junior Courtney Avery, sophomores Raymon Taylor and Delonte Hollowell and freshman Terry Richardson.

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Deon Drake, David Dawson, Jourdan Lewis, Damon WebbCourtesy of Damon Webb Sr.Cass Tech's Deon Drake, David Dawson, Jourdan Lewis and Damon Webb at the BBQ at the Big House.
Detroit Cass Tech has long been a Michigan football pipeline.

From senior defensive lineman Will Campbell to freshman linebacker Royce Jenkins-Stone to a good portion of the Wolverines secondary (junior Thomas Gordon, sophomore Delonte Hollowell and freshman Terry Richardson), Technicians dot the Wolverines roster.

But with 2013 offensive guard David Dawson parting ways with Michigan early on Sunday, one bond was dropped between the programs.

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Defense must cope without Countess

September, 3, 2012
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ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- This was exactly the news Michigan didn’t want to hear. The deepest position on its team, the group perceived as strength of the defense this season, is now down a man.

Not only a man, but its best player. Sophomore cornerback Blake Countess (torn ACL) is out for the year for Michigan, a season-long residual of an already rough few days for the Wolverines after losing to No. 2 Alabama, 41-14, on Saturday night.

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The "Inside the Game" position preview series concludes with a look at the Michigan and Ohio State secondaries.

Like many of the other position groups discussed by Austin Ward of BuckeyesNation and Michael Rothstein of WolverineNation, a peek into the secondaries of Michigan and Ohio State reveals a lot of similarities between the schools.


Ohio State
Ward:
No infusion of new talent is necessary for Ohio State.

All the Buckeyes need is a deep pool of veteran defensive backs to take another step forward, and throwing the ball against them could be one of the tougher challenges in the Big Ten.

Bradley Roby is shaping up as an emerging star at cornerback, and while Travis Howard and Doran Grant could battle for the right to start opposite him, the Buckeyes figure to be fine with either of them or backup Adam Griffin on the field.

C.J. Barnett might be poised to breakout as well at safety, though there’s plenty of experienced depth alongside him at the back of the defense. A pair of juniors in Christian Bryant and Corey Brown and senior Orhian Johnson provide plenty of options for defensive backs coach Everett Withers, who brings a proven track record of creating turnovers with him to Ohio State.

The Buckeyes picked off 13 passes last season, with Johnson and Roby tied for the team lead with three apiece. But both of those numbers will have to improve for Withers to be happy at the end of the season, and there is more than enough know-how and ability to make that happen.

Rothstein: What once was a group of players thought to have little talent and no experience has turned into this: the best unit on Michigan’s entire roster.

A few holdovers from the disastrous 2009 and 2010 seasons for the Michigan secondary remain on the roster in key positions, including starting cornerback J.T. Floyd and safety Jordan Kovacs, both of whom were thrown into unenviable positions as young players in a 3-3-5 defense few inside the Michigan program were familiar with.

But they learned and went from questionable players to two of the more reliable players anywhere on the Michigan roster. Joining them in the likely starting defensive backfield are safety Thomas Gordon and sophomore cornerback Blake Countess.

All four started at least half of Michigan’s games a season ago.

The four are just the front line of an incredibly deep secondary with both experience -- nickel back Courtney Avery -- and a youthful push, including highly touted freshman safety Jarrod Wilson and sophomore cornerback Delonte Hollowell, who stood out on special teams as a freshman.

There could be trouble if Kovacs were to be injured, but otherwise this is Michigan’s most dependable position group.

WolverineNation Mailbag 

August, 8, 2012
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Football season has officially started as Michigan began camp for this season Monday in preparation for its season-opening matchup with defending national champion Alabama on Sept. 1.

So who stands out in the secondary? Among the freshmen? These questions and more inhabit this week’s WolverineNation Mailbag. Remember, the Mailbag is only as strong as the questions you ask, so send ones for next week to jenningsespn@gmail.com or @chanteljennings on Twitter.

On to your questions:

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Blake CountessLeon Halip/Getty ImagesBlake Countess emerged as a starter in his freshman season, and he should only get better.
There was an NFL defection. Injuries. More injuries. Players being booted from the team and eventually sent to jail. Players not panning out. And all throughout the past three seasons at Michigan, a feeling that the Wolverines' cornerbacks were just too young, too inexperienced, to compete in the Big Ten.

Now, those young cornerbacks have grown up. Others have stayed. And what was once a liability with the Michigan defense is now the Wolverines biggest strength.

If Michigan is going to be good defensively this season, don't be surprised if it is because the Wolverines' cornerbacks do what they can to make opponents one-dimensional.

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Usually by midseason, coaches have their minds made up. If a freshman hasn’t played yet, he likely isn’t going to. He’ll be stashed away, even if he’s close to seeing the field, because the potential of four good years with a player is better than three-and-a-half.

It is what made Michigan’s decision to rip the redshirt off freshman cornerback Delonte Hollowell for essentially a half-season of special teams all the more confusing.

But as with almost every decision Michigan coach Brady Hoke made during his first season, it worked.

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Brady Hoke finished addressing the media for the final time before Michigan faces Illinois on Saturday.

Here's some of the head coach's thoughts and newsier items in convenient bullet form:

  • On Ricky Barnum, who had been out with ankle injury: "He did some things (Tuesday), a lot of the individual stuff, a little of the team stuff. We'll see. He'll play, but we'll see how healthy he is."
  • On halfback-turned fullback Stephen Hopkins: "His role has become bigger and really on the kickoff return team he's done a really good job blocking there and become more of a factor offensively and I think Hop, if he keeps moving in a positive fashion, he's going to be really good in this system for what we need."

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Dress list notes for Michigan-Iowa 

November, 5, 2011
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Michigan released its dress list for Michigan-Iowa and here's some interesting notes:

  • Safety Jordan Kovacs made the trip, is dressed and is warming up. He's got a big blue brace or wrap on his left knee.
  • Guard Ricky Barnum didn't make the trip. Neither did safety Marvin Robinson.
  • Who did make the trip? Freshman cornerback Delonte Hollowell, offensive lineman Jack Miller and linebacker Brandon Herron -- the Week 1 national defensive player of the week who hasn't been heard from since.

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BIG TEN SCOREBOARD

Monday, 12/22
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