Jordan Glasgow has played at safety for Michigan, filled the Viper role, is a special teams stalwart and is now working at WILL linebacker as he enters his final season.
Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh has described Glasgow — yes, the younger brother of former Wolverine walk-ons who became starters and are now in the NFL, Graham and Ryan — as one of the hardest-working players on the team. He’s certainly one of the most versatile.
He said last week in Chicago during Big Ten media days that his favorite spot to play is Viper, a position Khaleke Hudson has locked down, so with that in mind, Glasgow is eager to play pretty much anywhere.
“If it's not going to be Viper, my favorite position is what's going to let me see the field,” Glasgow said. “Whatever I can play as is my new favorite position.”
Glasgow will be a fifth-year senior and has played in 40 games and made two starts. He has 51 career tackles. Where he has considerable impact has been on special teams, often an overlooked area of the game and one of the more selfless aspects playing football.
How many people really pay close attention to special teams play, with the exception of the punts and kicks and unless there’s a stellar return or a block? Few study the guts of the plays as they do while watching the offense and defense.
“I really don’t feel I should get any more credit than I do,” Glasgow said of his work on special teams. “I do what’s asked of me. There is nothing much else I can do. I mean, I’m not going to be upset that people don’t see special teams plays, because I know what it has the potential to do for our team. And at the end of the day all that matters is the ending score and if we won or lost.”
But special teams are important, and Glasgow was happy to explain why when asked in Chicago.
“Special teams is perceived by a lot to have the potential to hurt a team, not really benefit a team,” he said. “On punt, you say you don’t want to get a punt block. You don’t really talk about you wanting to put the opponent’s offense on the 1-yard line. At least the media or analyst like to talk about it the majority of the time. But we handle special teams just like offense and defense, we want to win. Obviously, it puts our team in a tremendous position to put an offense on the 1-yard line, whether it be on a punt or inside the 10 on kickoff or get our team past the 30 on kickoff return. And you know those are advantages we want to see our team have.”
If you isolate special teams play from the rest of the game, Glasgow said it’s really quite simple compared to playing offense and defense because there’s one goal.
“You're not having to read a bunch of stuff,” he said. “You know what someone's going to do, you have to be aggressive, and you have to just try and dominate the person across from you. It's kind of like, this person has this responsibility, you have your responsibility, you know what they're going to do, they know what you're going to do. And it's just a competition, man vs. man, person vs. person, who can get the better of who.”
But few players, who aren’t kickers, of course, want to be known only for their roles on special teams. Graham Glasgow was a starting center, and Ryan Glasgow a starting defensive lineman. Jordan Glasgow, he said, has plenty to show and prove.
“I want to contribute more on the defense,” he said. “I'm looking to do that in any way, shape, or form, whatever position, whatever situation, whatever package. (Defensive coordinator Don) Brown would want me to be in, I'm ready to learn new techniques, learn new responsibilities, and be ready as soon as possible to do what's best for the team.”
Glasgow played mostly at viper last season. He filled in several times for Hudson, but in the bowl game, he played WILL linebacker.
“I've been on focusing on WILL,” Glasgow said. “I've had enough experience at Viper to be able to kind of transition away from it, but still remain knowledgeable and experienced and know what I would need to do in specific situations. So I feel if they would need me at Viper for whatever reason, which hopefully they don't because Khaleke should have a great year, then I feel like I'd be able to transition back and contribute if the team would need me to.
“But right now I'm focusing on doing as much as I can at the WILL spot and trying to get on the field any way possible.”
Glasgow, like his older brothers, wasn’t highly recruited. His brother, Graham, used to joke he was a “zero star” recruit coming out of high school. Ryan Glasgow was the only Glasgow to receive a scholarship offer and that was to Northern Illinois. Jordan Glasgow was considering Mid-American Conference programs.
“I was teetering on deciding, should I go to a MAC school, because I would have a better opportunity to play earlier on, or should I go to Michigan?” he said. “My dad said, ‘Michigan has way better academics, so you're going to go there.’ I said, ‘Yeah, I don't really mind that. I would rather be at a program like Michigan than somewhere else.’ So I was perfectly happy to come here than anywhere else in the country.”
Glasgow loves his brothers and was happy to get an opportunity to follow them to Michigan, a third member to arrive in Ann Arbor without a scholarship, but at this stage in his college career, he hopes everyone can move on from constantly asking him about his brothers as it pertains to his career with the Wolverines.
“Having my brothers here early on, it was awesome,” he said. “They showed me how I needed to act what I needed to do to be successful. They were obviously very successful in their college careers, and they're at the next level, they're doing well. And I need to do something, and I want to do something that'll separate me from them a little bit.
“I want people to look back on my performance in college, as separate from my brothers. I don't want them to think about me as the brother to, X and Y, I want them to say to my brothers, ‘Oh, you're his brother.’ ”