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Michigan expects Wayne Lyons to be 'big plus' in secondary

Ted Kulfan
The Detroit News
Wayne Lyons

Ann Arbor – The anticipation is driving Wayne Lyons crazy.

He's been thinking about it for months, since arriving in Ann Arbor, a graduate transfer from Stanford earlier this year.

The opportunity to play in the Big House.

"I'm definitely looking forward to it," said Lyons, a cornerback likely to see significant playing time immediately. "When this opportunity came along, the chance to play in the Big House, it was something I thought about."

The Wolverines have reason to expect many productive games from Lyons, who had a good career at Stanford. Lyons (6-foot-1, 193 pounds) made 128 tackles, had three interceptions and forced three fumbles, while appearing in 43 games with the Cardinal.

Lyons would have been a 2015 NFL draft pick had he chosen to go that route this spring, rather than play under Jim Harbaugh for one season.

Coaches have been impressed with what they've seen of Lyons.

"He's going to fill in well because he did some really good things at Stanford," said Greg Jackson, who coaches Michigan's defensive backs. "He brings a lot of tools for us. He's a corner, he's a nickel. What we saw on tape, he was a big corner who can move really well, can change direction really well.

"He seems to be picking up the defense really well. Wayne Lyons is going to be a big plus for us, because he brings talent and ability we're looking for."

Lyons was originally recruited by Harbaugh at Stanford but never got to play for him as Harbaugh joined the San Francisco 49ers before Lyons arrived in Palo Alto.

"I was attracted to Michigan (as a high school recruit)," said Lyons, whose mother, Gwendolyn Bush, was hired by Harbaugh for Michigan's player development staff earlier this year. "I took one of my official visits here. It was one of my choices.

"And Coach Harbaugh, just being around him and observing him, he's definitely a spontaneous guy who is fiery and eager to do whatever he sets his mind to do.

"That's the kind of leader you want to lead your army. I look forward to it."

The adjustment from Stanford to Michigan has gone smoothly.

"It's not been a huge adjustment," Lyons said. "The structure (of both programs) is similar. "This is a great group of guys and they've helped me out when I needed help. The transition has been real smooth."

Lyons said the Wolverines are anxious to get the season underway.

"You see it during the summer practices -- these guys have shown they're hungry," Lyons said. "They're competing at a high level. Everyone is putting in the work to get better."

Lyons offers experience and production to a Michigan secondary that has plenty of talent and athleticism among the probable starters, but lacks depth.

"I remember Wayne coming out of high school. He's a very talented player, a great guy to be around," said UM defensive coordinator D.J. Durkin. "He's played a lot of football for Stanford, and played good football out there.

"He has a great chance to help us and that's our expectation."