August 3, 2013

Five to watch in fall camp

Fall football camp has arrived, and everyone on the Michigan roster will be under the watchful eye of the U-M coaches. A handful should draw extra scrutiny, though, right out of the blocks.

Here's one stab at a top-five list of most closely watched Wolverines early in fall camp 2014, and the reasons why.

1. Fitzgerald Toussaint - All the reports on his healing process have been positive. He's sprinting, doing agility work, etc., following the horrific leg injury he suffered late last season.

Getting it done in full pads, with contact, is always another matter. The fifth-year senior insists he's going to be full-go and experienced a terrific final year in a Michigan uniform. Some validation early in fall camp would be a huge boost for the Wolverines.

2. Blake Countess - Countess missed all of last season after injuring a knee in the season opener against Alabama. Head coach Brady Hoke says he's 100 percent, but Countess is entering a secondary featuring significant changeover from the one he departed last fall.

Seeing him fit in, work into the unit, and demonstrate again the sort of skills he showed off in a starting role as a true freshman will be a welcome sight for Michigan coaches.

3. Shane Morris - The rookie lefthander becomes Michigan's No. 2 man at quarterback pretty quickly, as the only other healthy scholarship QB on the roster. He's been studying and preparing for this day for a long time, but it's real now.

Fall camp is just step one of the next stage of the process, now that he's in uniform. He'll get the crash course, given the fact that he will likely be one play away from running the show a month from now.

4. Jack Miller - The redshirt sophomore center could be headed for the starting job, but he's been pushed by veteran walk-on Graham Glasgow. Miller has a chance to make the position his own, by not only performing mechanically well, but taking charge in a new and youthful interior offensive line.

Michigan pulled a surprise switch at center in fall camp, with Elliott Mealer moving into that spot. It's still up for grabs going into this one, but Miller is in position to block out the competition.

5. Amara Darboh - Michigan needs another pass-receiving threat to go with fifth-year senior Jeremy Gallon and sophomore tight end Devin Funchess. Darboh has been quietly preparing to be that third fighter in the aerial assault force.

The confidence he generates in quarterback Devin Gardner, his coaches, and the rest of his teammates in fall camp could carry right on into the season.

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