Ouimet: The U-M Defensive Backs

The preseason football magazines rank the Wolverine <b>defensive backs unit</b> as one of the top three in the country. Here is how former Michigan football staffer Mark Ouimet sees things.

GoBlueWolverine's DB Depth Chart:

3 Marlin Jackson 6-1 199 Sr./Sr.
29 Leon Hall 5-11 193 So./So
. 13 Grant Mason 6-0 194 Jr./Jr.
5 Charles Stewart 6-1 184 Fr./Fr

Free Safety
21 Ryan Mundy 6-1 209 So./So.
19 Willis Barringer 6-0 201 Jr./So.
31 Brandent Englemon 5-11 197 So./Fr.
22 Jamar Adams 6-3, 190 Fr./Fr.

Strong Safety
25 Ernest Shazor 6-4 226 Sr./Jr.
28 Jacob Stewart 6-0 212 Jr./Jr.

30 Marcus Curry 5-11 183 Sr./Sr.
29 Leon Hall 5-11 193 So./So.
4 Darnell Hood 5-11 191 Jr./So.
33 Keston Cheathem 6-3 183 Fr./Fr.

First cornerback. "Look for Marlin Jackson and Marcus Curry to play the vast majority of the snaps at corner if they stay healthy. Jackson is a preseason All American of course. And Curry is solid -- Markus finished last season #6 on the team in tackles. Curry knows where to be, he's a solid, good kid, and he studies the game. Leon Hall and Darnell Hood are adequate back-ups, but Marlin and Markus are the horses. And watch for Charles Stewart -- he may get PT on special teams immediately, and he could be in the two-deep as the season progresses."

Safeties. "Those guys are gonna come after people. Ernest Shazor is huge and physical. Remember in '97 when Marcus Ray would blitz -- Ernest is capable of doing the same thing. And sophomore Ryan Mundy -- he's a great athlete and he hits HARD. As far as back-ups, like at corner the starters wil play most of the time. Jacob Stewart and Willis Barringer are adequate. Jacob will the first sub in there at safety. And freshman Jamar Adams will not play this year I don't believe."

"The nickel and dime backs should be Hall and Jacob Stewart to start off. Charles Stewart could break in here."

The key to this unit: "Jackson and Curry have to play like they can play ... if they play to ability, the unit can be very good. Don't be surprised to see Marlin Jackson blitz ala '97. Having the two cornerbacks Michigan does makes it easier for the Wolverines to blitz. If Marlin blitzes (he's bigger than Curry so will likely be the guy they bring up) they will still have Ernest back there covering. Michigan could bring one of the outside linebackers off the edge, and bring Marlin off the same edge -- that creates one O-linemen having to block two guys."

"With so many new quarterbacks in the Big Ten this year -- there will be blitzing I'll tell you that."

"As far as next year. Losing Jackson, Curry and possibly Shazor ... there will be some major rebuilding to do."

Assistant Coach Ron English and his DB's
(Leon Hall, #29, in foreground)

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