Great way to start a 3 day weekend. Hello Blake!
"Jim's a tough guy and you can see his personality is all over this football team," Fitzgerald said.
Tom reports that Maryland DB Blake Countess has committed to Michigan, the fourth defensive back in the Wolverines' class of 2011.
|4*, #18 CB, #228 Overall||4*, 5.8, #13 CB, #156 Overall||4*, 80, #14 CB|
Countess is another little guy joining the defensive backfield, as all three sites list him at 5-10, and within a couple pounds of 175. He's also a participant in the US Army All-American Bowl, which gives a brief breakdown of his game:
Countess has the smooth hips and backpedal ability to be the prototypical cover corner. Despite his size, he loves to hit and is strong enough to jam a receiver at the line or come up and assist in run support. Countess has the speed to stay with receivers in man-to-man coverage and has an advanced understanding of zone defenses. Countess’ speed is also an asset in the return game.
Countess is steady and heady cornerback prospect with natural cover corner skills. Very fluid through his hips and transitions in and out of his pedal smoothly. Aggressive with receivers off the line and plays bigger. Shows good coverage awareness skills; reading routes and the quarterback accurately.
As with most shorter guys, the evaluation determines whether he plays "bigger than his size," and decides he does:
Lacks ideal height but is a real competitor for the football in the contested jump-ball matchup. Soundly times his jump, displays good leaping skills and appears very comfortable around the ball in coverage.
He's an okay tackler, which you'd expect from a smaller guy (ask Courtney Avery). Overall, ESPN, says he's a good-not-great prospect:
Countess is not elite in one particular area but is very well-rounded, reliable and consistent. Brings some intangibles to the position and should fit into a number of defensive schemes at the next level.
Scout seems to be enamored with him, which is odd, considering they rank him the lowest of any service:
A strong, hard hitting defensive back, Countess does a good job of jamming his receiver at the line of scrimmage. Flips his hips well to run with a receiver. An asset in the run game because of his willingness to make a hit. Size and skill set of a cornerback with the mentality of a safety. Comes out of his breaks and closes on the ball very well. Not the biggest DB on the field, but usually one of the toughest - Scott Kennedy, Scout.com.
The only area for improvement they list is "size," which he can only do so much about. He'll spend a lot of time adding muscle in the weight room, but isn't going to get a whole lot taller. He tells Scout that he didn't have any interceptions his junior year, sorta making him the opposite of Dallas Crawford.
Countess is a "riser," with Rivals bumping him from #245 nationally to #156 on the basis of a strong senior season:
"Countess showed real physical toughness and a willingness to come up and hit in game action, something we questioned based on his size," Farrell said. "He's as fluid as we thought, very smooth and an all-around terrific cornerback."
Rivals also says something that sounds a lot like Rich Rodriguez's famous "loves football" line:
He is a classic overachiever that should outperform and outwork his opponents.
He certainly does love to compete, as his frequent showings at camps and combines demonstrate. Blake's athleticism won't come into question, as he posted the eighth-best SPARQ rating at the Nike Baltimore Combine - as a sophomore. He also proved his status as a combine star by excelling at the Under Armour Combine last winter.
If you're an East Coast school, you probably offered this kid. Georgia Tech, Maryland, NC State, UVa, Wake Forest, and Duke are among the many offers for this Maryland product. Clemson and South Carolina also showed interest.
However, some non-Eastern schools also offered him a scholarship. Arkansas, Louisville, Purdue, Stanford, Tennessee, West Virginia, Wisconsin (before his junior season), Cincinnati, Illinois, Notre Dame, and Pitt were among them.
This was a highly coveted recruit, as the offer sheet shows. He ultimately picked Michigan over Georgia Tech and Maryland, a final group that belies his strong offer sheet.
His Scout profile has some (imprecise) junior year stats:
Blake Countess finished his junior season with over 50 tackles and returned one kick for a touchdown.
Senior year... there's not a ton of info out there. I'll update in next week's Friday Night Lights.
He struggled against Cincinnati St. Xavier, dropping a punt, but was good in coverage.
FAKE 40 TIME
Scout and Rivals are in agreement on his speed, almost to the hundredth of a second. Scout says 4.47, while Rivals credits him with a 4.48. That level of specificity leads me to believe the time is combine-verified and reliable. His highlight video (embedded below) mentions that it's electronically-timed.
I'm left with no choice but to give a mere one FAKE out of five.
Here's the first half of his final high school season:
You can see his junior and sophomore combined highlights here.
PREDICTION BASED ON FLIMSY EVIDENCE
When player evaluations can focus on little other than a player's diminutive size, the first thing that comes to mind is a sure redshirt. For Countess, that's no different, especially since Michigan has had big defensive hauls in 2010 and so far in 2011. He needs to get in the weight room before he can play at this level.
After a redshirt year (or a year spending time almost exclusively on special teams), he'll slowly work his way into the lineup over the course of a couple years. He probably won't have a chance to be one of the starting corners until he's an upperclassman, but there are so many variables between now and then that it's hard to project.
As an upperclassman starter, he has the potential to be a fringe All-Conference candidate, but I don't think he's likely to contend for All-American honors unless he can develop quite a bit under good coaching.
UPSHOT FOR THE REST OF THE CLASS
Countess becomes the fourth defensive back to commit to Michigan for this season, meaning there may be some shuffling in positions of players currently on the roster or in the class. Dallas Crawford is a high school safety, for example, and Greg Brown could fill a hybrid role if he keeps growing.
Despite the abundance of players back there, Michigan's coaches are likely to look for at least one more DB, a top free safety like Wayne Lyons - though other options are thin on the ground. Beyond that, defensive tackle, linebacker, and one more offensive lineman remain the focuses for filling the class.
Great way to start a 3 day weekend. Hello Blake!
A great haul of defensive backs this year!
Always felt like Blake Countess was undervalued. Nice pick-up for #Michigan.
With word coming out the last few days that a commit alert was on, happy to hear it is DB Blake Countess.. Great kid and player.. #goblue
Michigan adds a third 4* CB to their class w/ a verbal from Blake Countess a well-rounded & heady CB.
Breaking the Twitter hiatus just to say I'm so excited for the Blake Countess pickup. Wanted UM to offer him for so long. Great commitment.
Amazing under the circumstances. Gotta give the coaches credit here.
Congrats Blake and welcome. DB is going to be the strength on this defense in a couple of years.
Let's keep that Maryland pipline growing -- Furman, now Countess.
Welcome to the family Blake! Can't wait to see you and the others in this class in the winged helmet!
Welcome Blake! Great decision for your future and for ours!
I've said this several times, but Wayne Lyons isn't really a free safety. He's more of a SS. It's more likely that one of these cornerbacks plays FS than Lyons.
I always thought Cullen Christian had higher upside as a FS than a CB. Agree or disagree?
Yeah. I said that from the beginning, except that he needed to work on his tackling. He can't be a FS if his tackling remains as iffy as it was in high school.
With the rate Michigan is going after corners, I wouldn't be surprised if they look at Crawford as a free safety. He's doesn't have optimal size for the position, but he's a ballhawk and that's what he plays in high school.
Me likey defensive recruits, especially db's of the 4-star variety!
rabble rabble where are our def--- oh, he's a corner? carry on then...
Welcome to the Big House Blake. Make history for the Wolverines in a couple years
Can he lock down his man while 15 yards off the line of scrimmage on 3rd and 6? Can he Greg Robinson? CAN HE?
Neato, gang! That is good news!
With Conway sidetracked, I think WR is the other focus of this class. Lucien, Flowers, maybe a second crack at Watkins, and Frost. Anyone else?
because I can't breathe right now
I @#!% the spiders on the wall, I @#!% the cobwebs in the hall, I @#!% the candles on the shelf, When I'm alone I @#!% myself
Maybe it's just me, but Countess looks taller than...well...the other midget corners we've brought in recently. I don't really see a lack of size being an issue here.
can one of you guys define what makes for a real 40 time vs fake?
(Countess and McLimans) and come up with two guys who are 6' 4" .
And I stress looks a little like Ty Law, like how he reads the run plays in the video. Nice pickup.
Looks like he has good hands and nice speed. Welcome Blake!
Here is your complementary protein shake and Mike Barwis will greet you at the door.
wishes he could get Pryor to wear one of those i bet.
Oh man, I never post when something makes me laugh, but you really made me laugh with that comment, I mean, not just typing in LOL, but actually LOL'ing... Thank you for this.
Very happy that M is able to pick up a quality CB like Blake right now. Welcome to the family.
Great news. Looks like he has got game. Welcome to Michigan, Blake.
Amazing how one 4* commitment can make things look a lot rosier!
Nice way to start this Friday I would say....now if Lyons and Zettel would follow that up by committing!
Two football commits in three days (with two solid hockey commits sandwiched between them). How are we supposed to wallow in our sorrows when we keep getting good news?
I know it's tough, but if you just buckle up, dig down deep and summon your inner pessimist, you can worry about Dee Hart. It's all about sacrifice, but we have confidence in you.
today's news that Delaney's rethinking the division names.
Welcome to the Big Castle, Countess!
But I thought RR couldn't recruit quality defensive players.
I would say 5'10" is pretty much average height for a CB with 6'-6'1" being ideal. Hardly any CBs are taller than that. Couldn't be happier that Blake committed.
According to some data collection recently (by another MGoBlogger and I), 5'10" and 5'11" are the ideal heights for cornerbacks to become All-Americans or Pro Bowlers.
I want to upvote you, but I just can't. Not this post.
Is that you Coach Robinson?
Happy Friday all and HELLO Mr. Countess! Welcome to the family!!!
I was going to make this same comment. The effect of the "timeline" is so damn overblown.
Don't kid yourself. the timeline is effecting recruiting. Dallas Crawford is apparently re-openning his college choice. So one in, one out. Plus Dee Hart was supposed to be early enroll. that's not going to happen now.
Crawford isn't decommitting. He's preparing for a backup plan in the case that RR is let go.
The timeline has no bearing on whether Crawford stays or leaves. It will come down to who is coaching the team next year, and that will be decided long before NLI signing day.