Big Ten Football Top 150 Players: No. 133, Thomas Gordon, Michigan Safety
No. 133: Thomas Gordon, No. 30, SS, Michigan
2011 Stats: 67 tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss, 1 interception, 2 forced fumbles, 4 fumbles recovered
Michigan's defense enjoyed a remarkable resurgence in 2011, and one of the biggest reasons why was a strong improvement in secondary play. Thomas Gordon was not only third in tackles on the year for the Wolverines, he also made several big plays over the course of the season. Gordon is fast, physical and now he's experienced to boot. His coverage skills are surprisingly good for a strong safety.
For a strong safety, Gordon isn't an especially hard hitter, and Michigan coaches have encouraged Gordon to be more aggressive. Further, the four recovered fumbles are undoubtedly nice, but fumble recoveries are basically the most random plays in football. It's unlikely Gordon will replicate that stat in 2012.
We probably won't see any repeats of the 2011 Iowa game, where Troy Woolfolk pushed Gordon out of the rotation after coming back from injury (Gordon quickly returned to the starting lineup for the next game). If Gordon takes his coaches' exhortations to be more "reckless" to heart, he should increase his tackle totals and perhaps pick up another interception or two to make up for the inevitable drop in fumble recoveries.
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