Friday, February 14, 2014

Cameron Gordon, #4

Cameron Gordon
Gordon came from Inkster (MI) Inkster in the class of 2009, where he was a teammate of Michigan quarterback Devin Gardner, who was a year younger. Gordon's senior season saw him catch 49 passes for 863 yards, and he also had 126 tackles, 5 sacks, and 5 interceptions at linebacker. Rivals ranked him as a 4-star, the #36 wide receiver, and the #233 player overall in his class. He chose the Wolverines in December 2008 over offers from Cincinnati, Iowa, Minnesota, and some MAC schools. Here's my first TTB post on Gordon, where I claimed he was the most likely freshman to redshirt.

Michigan's head coach at the time, Rich Rodriguez, promised Gordon a chance to play wide receiver, which is where he took reps as a true freshman. During the spring of 2010, he made the switch to free safety and started 7 games there before moving to linebacker, where he started the final 6 contests. Altogether, he made 77 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss, 3 interceptions, 4 pass breakups, and 2 fumble recoveries (1 of which he returned for a 58-yard touchdown against Purdue). When Brady Hoke and his staff arrived in 2011, they moved Gordon to SAM linebacker. Bothered by a bad back and stuck behind Jake Ryan and Brennen Beyer, he made just 4 tackles on the year. With Beyer playing defensive end in 2012, Gordon saw his playing time increase and finished with 17 tackles, 3 tackles for loss, and 1 pass breakup. He was then named one of four team captains prior to the 2013 season and started 2 games while Ryan recovered from a torn ACL; Gordon turned in his best statistical year since his redshirt freshman season and topped off his career with 40 tackles, 8.5 tackles for loss, a team-leading 5 sacks, 2 pass breakups, and 1 forced fumble.

138 tackles, 15 tackles for loss, 5 sacks, 3 interceptions for 35 yards, 7 pass breakups, 2 fumble recoveries for 58 yards and 1 touchdown, 1 forced fumble

Second Team Freshman All-American, 2010
Academic All-Big Ten, 2010-2012
Team Captain, 2013

I was always leery of Gordon as a wide receiver (and then as a safety) because of his size and relative lack of speed. He played linebacker in high school, and I rarely like the idea of moving guys back in a defense (see also: Josh Furman). Even though he had 3 picks as a redshirt freshman safety, he got burned repeatedly, including by tight ends. Once he moved to linebacker, he gave the Wolverines a little more speed and athleticism. I wish he would have played more over Beyer, but Gordon found himself somewhat limited once Ryan emerged as such a big playmaker. It speaks to his leadership and lack of complaining that he was able to become a captain despite being a backup for the majority of his career.

. . . his interception deep in the red zone against Indiana in 2010. He made a very nice play on the ball, and he helped secure a 42-35 win by stopping the Hoosiers on a potential scoring drive. He had a couple other picks, that exciting score against Purdue, and some nice plays early in his senior season, but that pick against Indiana still stands out.

Listed at 6'3" and 237 lbs., Gordon has plenty of size to play linebacker in the NFL. I will be curious to see how he performs at Michigan's Pro Day. I doubt he will amaze anyone with his strength, speed, or quickness, but he has a nice combination of all those things. If guys like Tim Jamison, Roy Manning, and Shantee Orr can eke out careers as backup or practice squad edge guys in the NFL, I don't see why Gordon can't do the same thing if he wants. He's more versatile than those guys since he can rush the passer and cover in space a little bit.


  1. I will always remember the sack early this year where he blew through so quick that neither guard tasked with blocking him or Beckman had the first clue what happened. I'm guessing they had to show that guard the film twice or he'd still be looking for him. I gotta find that video, I'm laughing just thinking about it.

    Having never seen a practice, I thought he was a Mike.

  2. I wish he'd played over Beyer much more as well. We played so many spread teams and watching Beyer fruitlessly chase guys like Kain Colter around was pretty cringe-worthy.