Cornerback Lavert Hill and strong safety Josh Metellus announced via Instagram and Twitter on Sunday that they will return to Michigan for their senior seasons in 2019.
CB Lavert Hill announced he will return to Michigan for his senior season. Huge news for next year's secondary. pic.twitter.com/4nC1AvZlMH
— Derick Hutchinson (@Derick_Hutch) December 30, 2018
The juniors were a big part of the 2018 Wolverine passing defense ranked 5th in the regular season by S&P+. That number will probably rise once the Peach Bowl is factored into the equation, but there’s no doubt this a positive development for the team; Two of its biggest contributors on one of its best units are coming back.
Of the five main secondary players (cornerback, cornerback, stong safety, free safety, nickelback), Michigan is definitely losing senior free safety Tyree Kinnel and redshirt senior nickelback Brandon Watson to graduation. If Metellus, Hill, and redshirt sophomore David Long all chose to leave early, the Wolverines would have had to replace the entire secondary. Long hasn’t yet announced his intentions.
As of now, three of the five main secondary players for 2019 appear to be Hill at cornerback, Metellus at strong safety and sophomore Ambry Thomas at cornerback or nickelback if Long returns.
The free safety spot will be a battle between current sophomores Jaylen Kelly-Powell, Brad Hawkins, J’Marick Woods, and true freshman Dax Hill.
If Long doesn’t come back, Thomas will be the favorite to start with Hill.