Coming out of high school, Eamonn Dennis was listed as a three-star athlete by 247Sports and a three-star wide receiver by Rivals. He was apparently recruited more as an offensive weapon/running back by the Michigan staff but, per his Instagram, will now play cornerback for the Wolverines.
At 5-10, 173 pounds, Dennis is definitely the correct size for a cornerback. He was more of a playmaker on offense in high school, scoring 35 touchdowns during his final two prep seasons, but he shined as a cover man as well.
What's It Mean?
On the surface this doesn't seem like a big deal. After all, Dennis excelled on defense in high school, was listed as an athlete by 247Sports and was recruited by Michigan with an open mind. However, to me this speaks to a few position rooms as Michigan gets ready to start the 2020 season.
Running back is absolutely loaded. With redshirt sophomore Hassan Haskins, sophomore Zach Charbonnet and returning senior Chris Evans all ready to roll, along with incoming freshman Blake Corum and even third-year man Christian Turner still on the roster, the running back room is crowded, fresh and capable. Dennis is simply not needed there.
At wide receiver, it's more of the same. With senior Nico Collins, junior Ronnie Bell, sophomores Cornelius Johnson, Giles Jackson and Mike Sainristil, along with incoming freshmen AJ Henning and Roman Wilson set to arrive in Ann Arbor very soon, Dennis isn't needed there either. That's especially true since Jackson, Sainristil, Henning and Wilson are all pretty similar to each other and Dennis.
Cornerback is a different story, especially the nickel position. With Josh Metellus now prepping for his career with the Minnesota Vikings, last year's nickel corner Daxton Hill is getting ready for a full-time role as the safety opposite Brad Hawkins. There is not an obvious choice to replace Hill at nickel, giving youngsters a chance to grab it. For a while it looked like the only rookie pushing for the job would be early-enrolled freshman Andre Seldon. With Dennis now playing corner, he should definitely get a look there too. He's not the biggest DB in the world but he's super quick and shifty, sticky in coverage and shows great instincts — a lot like Seldon.
I don't know if either freshman will necessarily start at nickel, but I expect both of them to get a serious look. Additionally, Dennis has a chance to help in the return game, making him valuable as a special teamer as well.