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Posted on Fri, Aug 14, 2009 : 3:34 p.m.

Tate Forcier, Vincent Smith, Teric Jones among Michigan football camp's early head-turners.

By Dave Birkett

Quarterback Tate Forcier isn’t the only true freshman who’ll see playing time for the University of Michigan football team this fall.

Coach Rich Rodriguez said Friday as many as 10 first-year players could be in the two-deep when the Wolverines open the season Sept. 5 against Western Michigan.

“Which is probably more than you’d really like,” Rodriguez said. “I think two or three years down the road maybe it won’t be as many. But last year, this year, next year we’ll probably play quite a few.”

Center David Molk said Forcier, who's battling for the starting job along with fellow freshman Denard Robinson and junior Nick Sheridan, has shown remarkable poise so far in camp.

"It’s weird," Molk said. "I never see the kid crumble. Once in a while you’ll see a quarterback and they’ll start to get kind of shaky, but he’s pretty solid."

Beyond Forcier, Rodriguez mentioned safety Vladimir Emilien and defensive tackle William Campbell as potential contributors Friday. He also singled out running back Vincent Smith for having an impressive first few practices, and said one of two outside receivers, Je’Ron Stokes or Cam Gordon, could play early.

Linebacker Stevie Brown said he's been impressed by freshman cornerback Teric Jones, who made a diving interception in practice Thursday.

“He used to be a slot receiver and he’s picked up everything pretty well thus far,” Brown said. “He’s physical, so that’s pretty good for just two days before camp he told me he was playing corner. So he’s come a long way in a very short time.”

Dave Birkett covers the University of Michigan football team for He can be reached at



Sun, Aug 16, 2009 : 7:13 p.m.

It would be icing on the cake if Vincent Smith pans out for UM. It's great to see the lesser recruited guys develop into solid contributors. RR has a knack for finding these types and developing them into great players.


Fri, Aug 14, 2009 : 6:29 p.m.

Most 2nd year coaches will use their player own recruits over the left overs. LC was a great coach but I think in his last 2 years he didn't reload as well as he should have to follow up the seniors. Given a fairly low talent pool for UM standards, it's no big surprise that more Freshman will contribute!


Fri, Aug 14, 2009 : 4:49 p.m.

It will be nice when UM finally has the luxury of not having to count on true freshmen to help carry the load. One good thing is that a few of the players mentioned were in A2 in January, which means that by the time of the first game, they will have had eight months to become "Barwisized." If they get upperclassmen-like years out of Forcier, Emelien, Smith, and Turner, it would really help a lot, especially if Smith turned out to be the answer in the return game.