The competition for snaps at the cornerback position is wide open, which is the first time in a very long time that has been the case for Michigan.
Jourdan Lewis and Channing Stribling were longtime mainstays at the corners, which allowed the younger players to sit back, develop and prepare to state their case to be the starter when the time comes. In 2017, that time has come for a handful of young corners who have spent spring practice trying to convince the coaching staff that they are the men for the job.
Keith Washington, who was praised by Mike Zordich by having a great spring game, is one of those young corners competing for a starting spot. He says that with the competition wide open, anyone who wants the job can go out there and get it.
"Last year we had Channing Stribling] and [Jourdan Lewis] and this year is more everybody comes in and has an opportunity," Washington said. "Whoever wants it can go get it, that's what I love about this program and these coaches. They put the best players on the field. Hopefully, I did the best that I could do this spring and I look forward to pushing for the starting job in the fall."
It took Washington time to get into the position of being able to compete for a starting job. A quarterback in high school, he had to learn an entirely new position at the collegiate level. Fortunately, the coaching staff didn't have to rely on the younger players outside of garbage time snaps over the years, which allowed players like Washington to develop.
After a rough first season, Washington says that he is now competing at a high level and is ready to make the push for the starting role.
"I would say that first year was probably a learning curve for me," Washington said. "Going into my second year, I definitely started to play more comfortably. Now I feel like I am playing at the best level that I can play at right now and hopefully want to continue rising. It's a lot that goes into [playing cornerback]. I had no idea about certain techniques to use and certain tips and tricks to do at corner. But if you just continue working on it over time, I feel like anybody can do it as long as you just keep working at it, it'll all fall into place."