Blake Countess announced on Instagram he will become a graduate transfer this fall and leave Michigan. The fifth-year senior will be eligible to play for another team this season since he has already graduated. The question now is how will his departure impact Michigan this 2015 season?
Countess’ career at Michigan has been full of ups and downs. He was one of my favorite defensive backs his freshman year. That year he had over 40 tackles and was second on the team with six pass break-ups. The following year he suffered a season-ending knee injury in the season opener. Countess came back his junior year and had a very good 2013 season, showing the talent that we all expected from the beginning with six interceptions. He was named to the All-Big Ten first team (media) and second team (coaches). Last year he only accounted for 24 tackles and three pass break-ups, possibly due to Michigan switching to a more aggressive style of play for the corners.
Countess was expected to compete this season for one of the starting cornerback position. This does impact the Wolverines’ defense, making them a lot thinner at cornerback, especially when it comes to experience.
The one thing that does soften this blow is the announcement this week that former Stanford defensive back Wayne Lyons is transferring to Michigan. Lyons is also a graduate transfer so he is eligible to play this season.
The other starting corner will most likely be Jourdan Lewis, who had a very good season last year. Other defensive backs who will now have the opportunity to step up will be junior Channing Stribling, sophomore Ross Taylor-Douglas and freshman Keith Washington.
The defense will be just fine with Lyons and Lewis starting at the corners as long as they stay healthy. One injury could make a bigger impact than this departure because of the lack of game experience. Countess will be missed and I did think he was a very good defensive back. I guess only time will tell its final impact on the defense.
Good luck to you, Blake Countess.
Chad Finley is a contributor for The Big House Report. Follow him on Twitter @finfive1.