February 2, 2011
SIGNING DAY: Countess compared to NFL great
In two seasons a starter for Our Lady of Good Counsel, four-star cornerback Blake Countess did not record a single interception. But don't let that statistic fool you - he could be the defensive recruit that makes the biggest impact at Michigan
"Some of our younger guys gave Blake a hard time because he's been picking up all these honors and yet he didn't have an interception this year; but it's because teams didn't throw his way," Falcons head coach Bob Milloy said. "They just didn't even try.
"Even in the U.S. Army All-American game, there were all these great wide receivers and quarterbacks and I never once saw them try to go at Blake. Coincidence? Maybe, but it doesn't take long for opponents to figure out it's not even worth it to throw at him."
Milloy pinpoints the summer before Countess' junior year as the culprit in his rather meager-looking numbers - he tallied 74.5 tackles and forced a fumble from 2009-10 - believing his performances at 7-on-7 camps convinced opposing coaches to avoid the 5-10, 171-pounder on Friday nights.
"In those kind of your camps, your defense is only as good as your defensive backs are because there's no 260-pound defensive end bearing down on the quarterback," Milloy said. "Everyone that tried to throw at Blake ended up picked or had their pass knocked down. From then on, it was like no one even dared."
DeMatha quarterbacks Shane Cockerille and Nikolay Uherek refused to back down from Countess and did throw to both sides of the field, for a short time, in two meetings this past season, but they eventually gave up, completing just 10 of 23 attempts (43.5 percent), including a 5 for 14 showing (35.7 percent), with three picks, in a 42-7 Falcons' victory Nov. 21 that earned Milloy's team the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference championship.
"He makes the other guys better because you don't have to worry about his side of the field and you can balance that on the other side of the field," Milloy noted.
"He's an outstanding football player," DeMatha coach Bill MacGregor said. "He runs exceptionally well and what that does for him is it puts him in a position that no matter what route you run, he's never out of the play.
"We had decent receivers and he mans up and you just don't have much success attacking him. I don't think we avoided him but we didn't succeed at going at him either.
"Part of that speed too is he's a great returnman."
Countess, ranked the No. 133 player nationally, the No. 2 recruit in the state of Maryland and the No. 10 cornerback in the country by Rivals.com, had a 55-yard punt return, setting up a score, in a 31-28 victory over DeMatha during the regular season. He had a 27-yard kickoff return in that game also and would average 9.3 yards on four receptions in two contests while also racking up 7.5 stops in two games.
"He's not that big, but he's smart and tough and he runs so well and just is always within inches of his man," Milloy said.
"He reminds me a lot of [former Washington Redskins' cornerback] Darrell Green. He's this small guy that you're tempted stand across the line of scrimmage from and maybe smirk, but it takes only a few plays for you to realize that you don't want to mess with him."
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