Safety position thin after Carvin Johnson becomes 6th player to leave Michigan football program this season
Angela J. Cesere | AnnArbor.com
Sophomore reserve safety Carvin Johnson has left the Michigan football team, a school spokesman said Tuesday night.
A reason for the move was not provided.
Johnson is the sixth player to leave the program this fall, and the second defensive back in the past week. Reserve freshman cornerback Gregg Johnson made his exit last week.
But whereas the five others do not affect this year's 13th-ranked Wolverines (7-1, 3-1), who are in the midst of a Big Ten title hunt, this one does.
Johnson, who also played special teams, appeared in six games at safety this year and recorded 14 tackles. He did not play a significant number of snaps, but served a vital reserve role at a position of tenuous depth.
Kovacs' status for Saturday's game against Iowa (Noon, ESPN) is unknown.
Meantime, reserve safety Marvin Robinson has not played since the Notre Dame game, and did not dress for Northwestern or Michigan State due to an undisclosed injury. He did not play last week against Purdue, although he did dress.
The only constant at safety right now is sophomore Thomas Gordon, and he's in his first year as a starter. If Kovacs doesn't play against the Hawkeyes, it'll be Gordon and Woolfolk to start, then little-used freshman Josh Furman as the primary backup.
After that, it's unknown who would play. No one else is listed on the depth chart at safety. It is possible the coaching staff could execute a position change to bolster depth there.
That also accentuates the importance of Kovacs getting healthy and Woolfolk staying healthy -- which he's had trouble doing the past two years.
So, Johnson did not play a large role on Michigan's revamped defense -- which already is starting three freshmen -- but he did play a vital role.
This move hurts Michigan, and its chances of winning the Legends Division championship.