Very mixed news out of fall camp yesterday, as Rich Rodriguez announced that junior LB Marell Evans and junior DT Vince Helmuth have left the program, while freshman DB Justin Turner has been cleared by the NCAA and has joined the team. Evans was expected to compete for the starting job at the hybrid LB/DE position (“spinner”), while Helmuth provided depth at a very thin defensive tackle position. The loss of both players isn’t crippling, by any means, but it certainly doesn’t help a Michigan defense that is already dangerously thin at several positions.
Luckily, Turner will come in and compete for major playing time in the defensive backfield, most likely at cornerback. With the depth chart at corner currently going from Donovan Warren and Boubacar Cissoko to J.T. Floyd and Ahhhhpleasestop!, I’d be shocked if Turner didn’t see a lot of time either as the third or fourth corner.
Also of note: neither transfer was acrimonious, with nice quotes coming from both sides:
Rich Rodriguez — “Good, young men, sometimes that happens, guys think that ‘Maybe I’m not getting a lot of reps, I’m not up on the depth chart,'” Rodriguez said after practice. “I try to remind the guys that the depth chart is not going to be solid until the first week.”
Marell Evans — “Me and Coach Rod are on good terms,” Evans told the Free Press tonight. “It was more than playing time or academics or anything like that. It was a lot of things. Coach Rod is a great coach and I wish him plenty of success. I wanted to finish my career a different way.”
So, uh, hooray for no Boren/Wermers drama. I’m sure ESPN will take note.