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Posted on Mon, Feb 15, 2010 : 12:14 p.m.

Michigan's Cam Gordon ready to switch positions from receiver to safety

By Dave Birkett

Inevitably, when Cam Gordon made a big special-teams hit or laid a crushing block on the scout team last year, Michigan defensive coordinator Greg Robinson was there saying, “Ooh, you’d make a hell of a safety.”


Michigan's Cam Gordon, right, shows a group of youngsters where he wants them to pass him the ball (over his shoulder) as they learned a little bit about quarterbacking during Saturday, February 13th's "U-Meet the Athlete" sports clinic held at the UM Intramural Sports Building.

Lon Horwedel |

This offseason, every time Gordon showed up for a weight-room workout or extra receiving practice, he’d bump into Robinson, strength and conditioning coach Mike Barwis or new safeties coach Adam Braithwaite.

“The coaches would always be like, ‘Come to the dark side, come to the dark side,” Gordon said.

A few weeks ago, he did.

After playing receiver during his redshirt year, Gordon told coaches last month he was open to switching positions. He’ll play safety this spring, and at 6-foot-2 and 210 pounds already is one of Michigan’s most physically imposing defensive backs.

“I just wanted to help the team,” Gordon said last week at a charity function for Michigan’s intramural sports programs. “That was my whole outlook on it. However possibly way I could help the team, that’s what I was doing, so if free safety was the position than that’s the position for me.”

Gordon started at both receiver and safety at Inkster High School as a senior - he played linebacker as a junior at Melvindale - and had five interceptions.

He said he’s not sure if he’ll play any offense this spring, but with a chance to contribute in Michigan’s thin secondary he’s spending most of his time learning the defense and getting reacquainted with defensive back.

“It’s all about getting prepared,” Gordon said. “I can’t say this is going to happen. Nothing’s guaranteed, but we’ll see how spring ball goes.”

Still, Gordon sounds like he’s ready to call his new position home.

He came to Michigan with designs on being a big-play receiver and maybe catching touchdown passes from Devin Gardner, his former quarterback at Inkster. Now, Gordon said he can't wait to intercept Gardner.

“All of them will get it,” Gordon said. “Tate (Forcier), Gardner, Denard (Robinson), all of them. I’m picking all of them off. They already know. Seven-on-seven, I’m like, ‘Don’t throw it to me.’ I say no over the top balls. Never. They know that.”

Dave Birkett covers University of Michigan football for He can be reached by phone at 734-623-2552 or by e-mail at Follow him on Twitter @davebirkett.



Wed, Feb 17, 2010 : 11:27 a.m.

"than?" so if free safety was the position than thats the position for me.


Tue, Feb 16, 2010 : 2:25 a.m.

I think now that Coach Robinson has assumed full control of the defense, you should see a much improved style of defense. He can actually put the guys in place where he feels that the player will be most comfortable and contribute in is defense. I believe some of these players will step up this year. GO BLUE!!!


Mon, Feb 15, 2010 : 4:40 p.m.

I like his size and attitude at safety. Should be a wake-up year for the defense.


Mon, Feb 15, 2010 : 3:16 p.m.

Big Will is going to be the backbone to our defense. As he goes, so goes the rest of the squad.

Blue Marker

Mon, Feb 15, 2010 : 3 p.m.

I believe Roh & Martin will provide that. Look for "Big Will" to break out this year.


Mon, Feb 15, 2010 : 2:36 p.m.

DB's aside you still need a pass rush and be able to stop the run


Mon, Feb 15, 2010 : 1:29 p.m.

This could be the best way to rebuild our secondary. New recruits is important, and i like what i see, but this will provide badly needed depth. ex-receivers make the best defensive backs.