ANN ARBOR - In the last three recruiting cycles, University of Michigan football has nearly cornered the market on elite cornerbacks.
For a variety of reasons, though, the products don't make it to market.
J.T. Turner, Ohio's top rated recruit in 2009, has become the third highly touted cornerback to leave the Wolverines in less than a year. A projected backup for the upcoming season, redshirt freshman Turner asked for and was granted a release from his scholarship Tuesday.
UM defensive coordinator Greg Robinson hinted Wednesday there were some issues with Turner, and a program spokesman then announced Turner has left.
Attrition has left UM with little to work with at the cornerback spot. Projected starters Troy Woolfolk and J.T. Floyd will likely be spelled by two true freshmen - Courtney Avery and Cullen Christian - and unproven junior Tony Anderson.
It's not as though UM hasn't recruited well at the position in recent years. Boubacar Cissoko was a five-star recruit from Detroit Cass Technical in 2008, but never figured things out at UM on or off the field and was dismissed last October. Demar Dorsey, of Florida, injected excitement into UM's recent recruiting class at the final hour when he selected the Wolverines on National Signing Day. Ranked as the No. 12 overall prospect by one recruiting service, Dorsey was unable to gain entrance to the university.
Turner, who starred at Massillon Washington, arrived late last year because of academic issues and never caught up on the field, eventually redshirting. Because of his good size - 6-2 and almost 200 pounds - Turner seemed destined to wind up at safety. But as it went, Turner, Cissoko, and Dorsey, all cornerbacks, all arguably the best recruits in their respective classes, are now all gone.
KOVACS LEADING: It appears tenuous, but defensive coordinator Robinson said Jordan Kovacs is practicing with the first team defense at strong safety. A walk-on sophomore and Clay graduate, Kovacs started eight games last year but that isn't guaranteeing him the job this time around.
"If somebody comes along that's just more gifted or is a better player, then that's the case," Robinson said. "We're two days into camp and it's hard to say that person has emerged that's truly pushing him at this time."
That's the sobering news. The good news?
"Jordan's one of those people who gets the most out of himself, but he's also one of those people who can make other players around him better," Robinson said. "Those guys are few and far between. When you come across those kinds of players, you find yourself attached to them."
It appears freshman Marvin Robinson - no relation - will ultimately contend for Kovacs' job if he isn't already.
"I can't tell you I've got [every freshman] assessed, but I feel Marvin Robinson is one who's intent to jump in there and get going," Robinson said.
TEACHING THE TEACHER: Last year, his first at UM, Robinson instilled his own defensive philosophies, and admittedly, there were communication breakdowns between he and his players and he and his staff. To remedy that, Robinson is learning the terminology used by his three defensive assistants - Tony Gibson, Bruce Tall, and Adam Braithwaite - while at West Virginia under UM head coach Rich Rodriguez.
Robinson said Rodriguez "suggested" the change in December. Robinson viewed it as "a no brainer."
"We're able to get to the point quicker, and I think the message is delivered in a way that everyone feels very comfortable," Robinson said.
Robinson said he is enjoying his duties coaching the linebackers, which he inherited when assistant Jay Hopson left for Memphis after last season.
SHORT YARDS: Former UM running back Carlos Brown (2006-09) signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Wednesday. … UM picked up its 10th verbal commitment in the 2011 class Wednesday from Florida offensive tackle Tony Posada. … Robinson said senior linebacker Obi Ezeh is in a "competitive battle" with Kenny Demens and Mark Moundros.
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or 419-724-6160.42.28188 -83.74848 In the last three recruiting cycles, University of Michigan football has nearly cornered the market on elite cornerbacks.