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Posted on Tue, Dec 13, 2011 : 11:03 a.m.

4 Michigan rookies put on's Big Ten All-Freshman football team

By Nick Baumgardner Big Ten bloggers Adam Rittenberg and Brian Bennett unveiled their 2011 Big Ten All-Freshman team Tuesday, a squad including four Michigan football players.

Cornerback Blake Countess, linebacker Jake Ryan, linebacker Desmond Morgan and kicker Matt Wile were all on the list.


Blake Countess

The team featured 11 offensive players, 11 defensive players and four special teamers. Michigan, Ohio State and Nebraska all put four players on the team.

Countess, a 5-foot-10, 176-pounder from Owings, Mills, Md., made 36 tackles in 11 appearances at corner for Michigan. He finished second on the team with six pass breakups and made five starts.

Morgan made six starts at linebacker, finishing with 53 tackles, the fifth-highest total on the team. The 6-foot-1, 220-pound Holland native also picked up a sack and a fumble recovery.

A redshirt freshman this season, Ryan (6-foot-3, 230 pounds, Westlake, Ohio) played in all 12 games for Michigan, starting 10. He finished with 30 tackles, seven for a loss, to go along with two sacks and two fumble recoveries.

Doubling as a punter and a kickoff specialist, Wile averaged a team-best 41.1 yards per punt as a freshman, putting four inside the 20 with a long of 51. As a kickoff specialist, Wile, a San Diego native, averaged 64 yards per kick and made 19 touchbacks.

Nick Baumgardner covers Michigan sports for He can be reached at 734-623-2514, by email at and followed on Twitter @nickbaumgardner.



Wed, Dec 14, 2011 : 12:04 a.m.

All of these guys exceeded expectations this season. Countess is going to be a fixture at corner. I've seen A LOT of defensive backs at Michigan over the last 35+ years and very few freshmen "get it" like Countess did this year. I believe Leon Hall was the last really good freshman CB and he was an All American. But, I'm very excited about Desmond Morgan. He was thrust into a starting roll a little early, but responded extremely well given he was a freshman. He's going to be VERY GOOD. Granted he'll have competition coming in next year, but that will make him even better. He's smart, and once he puts on 10-15 pounds, look out! Jake Ryan also looks like a diamond in the rough. And it's exciting he has up to 3 more years.


Tue, Dec 13, 2011 : 4:40 p.m.

It is great seeing this on Defense! Countess, even though he had a bad game against ohio, is going to be a stud. So is Jake Ryan! Morgan looked really bad during the Iowa game and improved steadily from that point! I expect that Michigan will have more freshman starting next year especially on the Dline, Oline, and LB. They will all be upgrades from what was or is there right now. Kyle Kalis will be a big upgrade at guard or right tackle. Pipkins will be a large upgrade from Martin (this year he was flat out inconsistent and was a no show the first 6 games). Jenkins Stone will be an upgrade at the later part of the season at MLB. Once again this is based on these guys playing to their fullest and not having any academic/injury/etc... problems! Go Blue!

Lorain Steelmen

Tue, Dec 13, 2011 : 4:55 p.m.

FWIW, Martin was dealing with injury issues during the first six of which were made public.