Obviously there has been a great deal written about the offensive line and it is probably the biggest question mark on this team. While I feel like I've read a great deal about the offensive line in general, there doesn't seem to have been as much critique of individual players. For instance:
Glasgow: We saw him both at guard and as center, is he better at one position than the other? Clearly he had his problems with botched snaps in the middle of the season, but my sense is that by the end of the season, he had settled in at center. Did others who know more about the offensive line see improvement or did he still have less obvious flaws in his QB exchanges?
Kalis: were his challenges more with technique, knowing what he was supposed to do, speed getting off the ball? Something else?
Magnuson: seemed to have at least two challenges. First: strength (was he 285 or 295 last year, he is listed both ways in various rosters and depth charts. Second: he was learning a new position (and then had to deal with switching from the right to left side. Given the coaches willingness to switch him around so much, it seems they have a great deal of confidence in his ability to pick things up. Do people who know more about the offensive line think his challenges were more in picking up a new position, strength, something else?
Bosch: my sense is that he was playing because the coaches felt he had good technique and strength, but he just hadn't picked up enough of the offense yet.
Miller: were his challeges in the strength department, or is there something else holding him back?
I think that with either Glasgow or Kugler at center, we will be the strongest we've been since Molk left. I hope Kugler is able to step up, because then I think with Glasgow moving to guard, we'd be alright in two positions. The Magnuson injury is worrisome, because I think the biggest thing he needed was more time in the weight room. I still think he'll be the starting left tackle, he just won't be as improved as we'd hoped.
I think Bosch is going to step up and take the other guard spot and that the biggest question mark going into fall will be right tackle. For those who know more about the offensive line, how much of a question mark is it that Braden wasn't able to move inside? Obviously many others have done it, so it seems like a big red flag to me. For that reason, I think we'll see Dawson at right tackle.
I am more optimistic than many and I think that while last year's line had it's challenges with youth, Borges playcalling and constantly mucking with the line greatly exacerbated those problems. I think that we'll see more improvement than many are expecting.
Thanks for everyone who looked past my formatting fiasco and provided some of the player speciic insights I was hoping for.
TTB Andrew interviewed Ben Braden a few days ago. Braden says he's up to 6'7", 325 lbs. and not planning on redshirting.
The article is free, so you can actually read all about how awesome the 2012 OL class is (and that's without potential future commits like Jordan Diamond), but I'll post it here anyway:
The Wolverines have five commitments on the line led by top national tackles Kyle Kalis (Lakewood, Ohio/St. Edward) and Erik Magnuson (Encinitas, Calif./La Costa Canyon).
Kalis has a 247 Rating of 96 and is the No. 40 prospect in the country and No. 7 offensive tackle in a truly special class of tackle prospects.
Magnuson, 6-foot-6, 275-pounds, checks in at No. 63 with a 96 rating. He is the No. 10 ranked tackle in the class.
Joining the impressive duo are tackles Ben Braden (Rockford, Mi.), Blake Bars (Nashville, Tenn./Montgomery Bell Academy) and Caleb Stacey (Cincinnati, Ohio/Sycamore). Braden is on the verge of four-star status checking in with a 247 Rating of 89.
The tight end group of Devin Funchess and A.J. Williams also comes in for an honorable mention.
This weekend will be a big event for Michigan with the BBQ, but there will be a big time visitor before the cook out as well. With limited spots left prospects could start to make decisions depending on what their peers decide to do themselves, so every spot left is on watch. Here's a look at what happened this week and what's happening in the future. As always you can follow me on Twitter @TomVH and email me with any tips at TomVH@MGoBlog.com.
6'2", 190 lbs.
West Des Moines, Iowa
Darboh is a four star receiver that has shown interest in Michigan for quite some time, bnut has been unable to make it up to Ann Arbor. That's about to change, as he has finally set up a visit to take in the campus and environment.
I'm going up to Michigan tomorrow [Monday the 25th]. Me and my basketball coach are going. He's a Michigan fan and he was able to give me a ride, so he wanted to go. We're taking off here at 8am on Monday, staying all day Monday, all day Tuesday, and then we might be back for a little bit on Wednesday too.
This is a big visit for both parties since Michigan is currently looking for wide receivers and Darboh hasn't been able to meet most of the coaching staff.
I have met Coach Mallory, but I haven't been up there yet. I'm excited, I don't have any questions right now but I'm sure once I get there I'll have some. I'm just excited to see everything. I've heard a lot of good things from my coaches. I've talked to the Michigan coaches over the phone, but I want to meet them and hopefully meet some of the players too.
As far as where his recruitment stands Darboh says he will likely narrow his list down by the time his season starts.
I thought I'd have a top list already but I'm not going to have it until my season starts. Hopefully when my season starts I'll have it narrowed down to a top five and then just go from there. If I take an official visit somewhere and I feel comfortable and it feels right then I'll just commit there. Right now everything changes every now and then because I haven't seen everywhere yet. I don't want to name a list until I finalize it, but I think Michigan has a good chance to be in the top five. I'll know more about them after my visit.
Amara also holds offers from Florida, Iowa, Iowa State, MSU, Nebraska, Notre Dame, and Wisconsin among others.
6'7", 320 lbs.
Braden has been committed to Michigan since March, though it seems much longer with all the other commitments Michigan has reeled in since. At the time, little was known about him, but since then Braden made quite a bit of noise at Michigan's camp with his size and performance.
I went up against a lot of good defensive linemen. Towards the end of the camp we were given the option to switch to defense, so I tried that out too. I did get to meet some of the other prospects and we were all kind of getting to know each other more than anything. Right now my height is 6-foot-7 and my weight is 320-pounds. I'm not really focused on a certain weight, just getting stronger and faster and better. That helped this year at the camp, but I still have some things I'm trying to improve on.
Ben is starting to realize that his last year of high school football is upon him, but is just trying to focus on one step at a time.
It's all starting to set in with all the seniors, but I'm just trying to worry about the season. With Michigan my family and I are going to try to get up for a few games. I do want to get up to the night game against Notre Dame.
There have been fans that are concerned with what the final product will look like for Michigan on the field in 2011. They've been wondering how that translates to the recruits, and what their perspective is on how well Michigan does this coming season.
Just from meeting the coaching staff I'm very comfortable with their methods and how they teach technique. The biggest thing that I really love and a huge key to why I committed is the family atmosphere. With Brady Hoke and all the coaches I think this season is going to be great, it's going to be huge. I know that they're going to do great. With recruiting I think it's cool that we have a lot of good athletes that are committing to my class. I know we're all excited to interact and build friendships too.
Braden's size and performance at Michigan's camp, in my mind, don't match up with how he's rated on the recruiting sites. As Tim speculated in last week's Friday Night Lights primer, he should have a shot to move up.
6'2", 186 lbs.
Powe is a four-star receiver that has recently come to the attention of Michigan fans. He has shown interest in Michigan, and says the Wolverines are among his top group.
I'm trying to visit Michigan. I've been talking to Coach Heck about when I should come out there. [In order] Oregon State, Michigan, UCLA, Miami, and Cal are on top right now. I'm trying to wait everything out to see all my choices and narrow everything down.
Powe's teammate and fellow wide receiver Malik Gilmore is currently committed to Oregon State, but also had interest in Michigan at one point. It will be interesting to see how Powe's recruitment plays out. He says that he's a fearless playmaker that isn't scared to go across the middle of the field to make a play.
I posted today that 2011 OL Graham Glasgow switched his preferred walk on commitment from Ohio State to Michigan in mid June. He's a 6'7", 295 lb tackle that has been showing some potential so far. Another walk on OL that seems to be holding his own is Gary Yerden from from Parchment, Michigan. Others have pointed out on the board that Yerden was formerly a weight lifter and broke the dead lift record in high school.
If you somehow missed the visitor list for the Big House BBQ this weekend you can find it here. This should be a big deal for Michigan; there are a few uncommitted prospects at the event and there might be potential for a few things to keep an eye on. We'll see.
2013 QB Shane Morris, 2012 DB Terry Richardson, and TE Ron Thompson are all at the Gridiron Kings event in Florida this week. If you've missed coverage of it you have not been on the internet because it's everywhere. Just in case, here's a link to an article. In that article Tom Luginbill says that if Shane Morris were in the 2012 class he would a top five or six guy in the country.
This will be the home of the BBQ visitor list. The event takes place on July 31st and looks like it's invite only. I'm still working on confirming visitors so I should have more names added as I get them. Be sure to continue to check back frequently.
Here's who I've confirmed so far:
LB Royce Jenkins-Stone - Commit
DB Terry Richardson - Commit
LB James Ross - Commit
DE Matt Godin - Commit
DB Allen Gant - Commit
TE Devin Funchess - Commit
DE/LB Mario Ojemudia - Commit
DE Tom Strobel - Commit
OL Kyle Kalis - Commit, said he will for sure be there. He's going up with his head coach Finotti, because his coach wants to sit down with Mattison to talk defense.
OL Ben Braden - Commit
2013 QB Shane Morris - Commit
DT Danny O'Brien (6'2", 293 lbs, 4 Star)
WR Jehu Chesson (6'3", 182 lbs, 3 Star)
2013 OL Steven Elmer
2013 RB Wyatt Shallman
2013 LB Jonny Reschke
RB Bri'onte Dunn (6'2", 215 lbs, 4 Star) - His father told me yesterday that Bri'onte will likely be going up with his cousin Dymonte Thomas. Bri'onte's Dad might not make it up though.
DE Chris Wormley - Said via text he is coming to the event.
DT Ondre Pipkins (6'3", 325 lbs, 4 Star)
DB Anthony Standifer - commit
2013 WR Laquon Treadwell
2013 DB Dymonte Thomas
TE AJ Williams - Commit
2013 RB Ty Isaac
OL Jordan Diamond (6'6", 290 lbs, 4 Star)
DB Jeremy Clark - Commit, said he's going to try to make it up.
OL Caleb Stacey - Commit
WR Monty Madaris (6'2", 190 lbs, 3 Star)
LB Kaleb Ringer - Commit
LB Joe Bolden - Commit
There are a ton of visitors this weekend so there will probably be a matching amount of info. Since OL Ben Braden and LB Joe Bolden were the two visitors on Thursday I'm going to do a mini update on them here. Here's a look at how their trips went.
6'2", 225 lbs
Bolden has a decent offer list so far with the likes of Arizona, Illinois, Michigan, North Carolina, NC State, Stanford, and Tennessee to name a few. He took in Ann Arbor for the first time with his dad, uncle, and cousin.
We got there around noonish and we met with Coach Smith, Coach Mattison, and Coach Hoke. Coach Mattison told me more than likely I'd be playing the MIKE linebacker spot. It's definitely a privelage to sit down with him and watch film. Coach Hoke basically stated the goals as a football coach, as a team, and as an individual. We just talked casually for awhile.
As usual the coaches were down to earth and the Big House was shockingly big.
The coaches were really easy to talk to, I feel like I get along with them really well. My dad is my AD and my uncle is my coach and they knew the coaches from when they were at Ball State. They really like those coaches, and they've known each other for awhile. We all got to go to the Big House too, and that sent chills down my back thinking about the history that's been in that stadium.
This visit was a positive for Michigan, but Bolden isn't making his decision any time soon.
I was definitely impressed by this visit. Michigan is definitely up there on the list overall. I haven't narrowed anything down yet, I just know that Michigan is up there.
Bolden may visit North Carolina this weekend, and plans on trying to make it back up to Michigan sometime soon.
6'6", 285 lbs
As you probably know Braden committed on his visit Thursday. He and his coach had planned this visit for awhile and Ben decided that he was comfortable enough to make his decision. I spoke with his head coach, Ralph Munger, about the visit.
He and his father made a trip to Wisconsin, the family made a trip to MSU, and also Michigan. He's been traveled and checked out a lot of places. Ben shared with me and his parents that he appreciated all the time with the coaches, but he just feels real comfortable with Michigan. He was going to go to MSU also, but in the last couple weeks he was just really excited about Michigan. After today I could see why, he really feels comfortable there. He connected, he looked at the educational opportunities, the football opportunities, and he felt that was the place he could call home.
From a coaching perspective, it's important that a high school coach is comfortable sending his players to that respective school they choose. Luckily for Michigan, Coach Munger has a long time relationship with Brady Hoke.
I've known Brady for a lot of years, he's been very good to me. I've learned a lot from Brady. I've known him on a very personal level and what you see is what you get with Brady. All the years that I've known him and he's still the same guy that he was ten years ago. He's definitely a player's coach, a coach's coach. I can't say enough good things about Brady. He has a certain magnetism with attracting good people. He's very demanding of his players, yet his players are always willing to give everything they've got. He assured me all the coaches will treat the players like sons, and there's a lot of teaching going on there. The line coach that Ben will be working with, he's a family guy, and a very good teacher too.
The recruiting process is very much about relationships and it seems like all the past work that Brady Hoke has put in will soon start to pay off for him.