The Next Level: Countess steps up for Michigan

The Next Level is a weekly Recruiting Report feature that focuses on natives of Anne Arundel County, Baltimore City, Baltimore County, Carroll County, Harford County and Howard County who appear on NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision rosters. Chris Eckard, a senior at the University of Maryland and Baltimore Sun sports department intern, is your author.

Just a week after impressively filling in for injured starter Troy Woolfolk, Michigan true freshman cornerback Blake Countess (Owings Mills native, Good Counsel grad) continued to earn coach Brady Hoke's trust with another solid outing against Minnesota.


Countess forced a fumbled and tied a team-high with four tackles in the 58-0 win, helping Michigan to a 5-0 start in Hoke's first season. Last week, the 5-foot-10, 176-pound cornerback tied the team-high with seven tackles against San Diego State.

"As a true freshman you can get guys who get wide eyes when they come on the field," Michigan senior defensive lineman Ryan Van Bergen said after the team's win against San Diego State. "He was much focused. He has a swagger about him and he's very confident in his abilities."


The freshman has 10 solo tackles and three pass breakups this season.

For his efforts against Minnesota, and an extra boost from last week, Countess is this week's Next Level Player of the Week. Wolverines freshman safety Josh Furman (Old Mill) had a solo tackle (three total) in the win.

The Next Level: Countess steps up for Michigan

Honorable mention

• Army junior slotback Kelechi Odocha (Atholton) scored the game's final touchdown on a 14-yard carry in the fourth quarter of Army's 45-6 blowout win of Tulane. The score marked Odocha's first touchdown in his three-year collegiate career.

• Colorado State sophomore linebacker Shaq Barrett (Baltimore native who attended high school in Nebraska) continued his impressive season with a sack, forced fumble and nine total tackles in a loss to San Jose State, 38-31.

• West Virginia junior safety Terrence Garvin (Loyola) had a sack, an interception and six total tackles in the Mountaineers' 55-10 win against Bowling Green. West Virginia junior wide receiver Tavon Austin (Dunbar) had 97 all-purpose yards (67 receiving).

Other contributions

• Arkansas State senior cornerback Darron Edwards (Dunbar) forced a fumble and had a solo tackle in the Red Wolves' 26-22 win against WKU.

• Connecticut junior safety Jerome Junior (Archbishop Curley) had a solo tackle (six total) and a pass breakup in the Huskies' 38-31 loss to Western Michigan.

• Maryland sophomore defensive end David Mackall (Edmondson) had a team-high two sacks and recorded three solo tackles (four total) in the Terps' 28-3 win against Towson. Other Terps performers: junior safety Eric Franklin (Archbishop Curley) broke up a pass and recorded three solo tackles (six total); junior defensive tackle A.J. Francis (Severn native, Gonzaga grad) recovered a fumble; defensive tackle Cody Blue (Wilde Lake) had a solo tackle (three total); freshman wide receiver Tyrek Cheeseboro (Milford Mill) earned time on special teams and recorded two tackles; junior defensive lineman Alvin Thomas (Long Reach) recorded a tackle.

• Ole Miss senior defensive end Wayne Dorsey (Southwestern) had a solo tackle (three total) in the Rebels' 38-28 win against Fresno State.

• New Mexico freshman safety Zach Dancel (Ellicott City native, Good Counsel grad) had a solo tackle in the Lobos' 42-28 loss to New Mexico State.


• North Carolina senior linebacker Zach Brown (Wilde Lake) had four tackles, including one for a loss, in the Tar Heels' 35-20 win against East Carolina. East Carolina sophomore defensive end Derrell Johnson (Cardinal Gibbons) had two tackles (five total) in the loss.

• Penn State freshman safety Adrian Amos (Calvert Hall) had a solo tackle (two total) in the Nittany Lions' 16-10 win against Indiana.

• Pittsburgh sophomore linebacker Carl Fleming (Franklin) had a solo tackle in the Panthers' 44-17 romp of South Florida on Thursday night.

• Temple senior quarterback Chester Stewart (Hanover native, DeMatha grad) couldn't replicate his performance from last week against Maryland, finishing with 173 passing yards and a touchdown in the Owls' 36-13 loss to Toledo. Stewart went 10-for-20 with two interceptions. Temple running back Matt Brown (Baltimore native, Peddie School grad) had 114 all-purpose yards (106 KR, 10 rushing, 2 PR), while Temple senior lineman Pat Boyle (Calvert Hall) had a solo tackle.

• Syracuse junior wide receiver Alec Lemon (Arundel) led the Orange with 54 yards receiving on four receptions as they fell 19-16 in double overtime to Rutgers.

• UAB sophomore quarterback Jonathan Perry (Dunbar) threw for 196 yards on 19-for-39 passing and scored on a 1-yard run in the first quarter in a 24-23 loss to Troy.

• Utah State senior wide receiver Xavier Martin (Joppatowne) had a 13-yard reception in the Aggies' 27-24 loss to BYU.

• Virginia freshman wide receiver Darius Jennings (Gilman) returned four kickoffs for a total of 101 yards, including one for 32 yards, in the Cavaliers' 21-20 victory against Idaho. Jennings also had two carries for a net of 1 yard.

• Virginia Tech sophomore cornerback Kyle Fuller (Mount St. Joesph) had a solo tackle (two total) and a 9-yard punt return in the Hokies' 23-3 home loss to undefeated Clemson.

• Wake Forest sophomore wide receiver Michael Campanaro (River Hill) had four receptions for 31 yards and a 36-yard completion in the Demon Deacons' 27-19 win against Boston College. Wake Forest junior linebacker Joey Ehrmann (Gilman) had three tackles in the win.

US Presswire photo by Rick Osentoski / Blake Countess forces Minnesota wide receiver Brandon Green to fumble / Oct. 1, 2011

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