While RB Derrick Green and QB Shane Morris have received the bulk of the attention among Michigan's true freshmen, the classmate who might make the most impact this fall is S Dymonte Thomas.
Thomas (6-foot-2, 190 pounds) was a running back and linebacker in high school in Alliance, Ohio, but he was ticketed for the secondary the minute he committed to the Wolverines last summer. He was a consensus national top-100 recruit, graduated high school early, enrolled in January and went through spring practice, where he wowed coaches with his physical nature and advanced football IQ. Thomas also has good speed.
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While it's still early in fall camp, chances are strong Thomas will be the starting nickel back when the Wolverines use that package.
"The thing that impressed us was we felt he was going to be a very good blitzer and could really run," defensive coordinator Greg Mattison told thewolverine.com. "For an incoming freshman, he really seemed to want to play early. Through the ups and downs that attack a guy, he came out in camp and just continued to go up."
Mattison knows a thing or two about good safety play -- he coached Ed Reed as the Baltimore Ravens' defensive coordinator from 2008-10. Mattison also is pleased with the progress of sophomore Jarrod Wilson. Michigan is looking for two new starters in the secondary, and Wilson is the almost certain starter at strong safety. He played in 13 games and made eight tackles as a true freshman last season. Wilson has good size (6-2, 194) but struggled with being in the right place at the right time last season.
"We've made a very big goal of our defense to be smarter, to be a defense where you don't make missed assignments -- you make sure that offense can't look out there and say exactly what you're in," Mattison said. "To do that, a player has to have attention to detail. Jarrod has done a great job of it."