It's the Rockford Rams
"This is really important to be here," Lewan said. "I'm here to give back and help out my teammate."
Michigan has broken the seal on the class of 2012 with a big in-state offensive lineman. Ben Braden hails from Rockford, and the informative portion goes like this:
|3*, NR OT||NR OL||NR DT|
It's early in the process, so prospects that start a little under-the-radar rarely have a whole lot of info out there. We'll start with size. Rivals is the most optimistic, measuring him at 6-6, 285. Scout isn't far behind at 280 pounds, but ESPN calls him a mere 6-5, 250 - while simultaneously calling him a defensive tackle. I'd say ESPN, as both an outlier and the absolute worst at evaluating prospects in a reasonable time, is least likely to be accurate. Braden's probably a shade under 6-6, and around 270-280 pounds. 24/7 Sports calls him 6-7, 295, which seems like an exaggeration given all the other evidence at our disposal.
Braden has gotten some message board comparisons to erstwhile Michigan commit Jake Fisher, but based on pictures alone (from the same game, at least), Fisher looks to be a taller, leaner player - unsurprising given he was listed an inch taller and anywhere from 10-30 pounds lighter - than Braden. Of course, that could just mean Braden has done more work in the weight room to this point.
Based on measurements and appearance alone, I would guess Braden could play either inside or outside. In high school, he's a right tackle:
“He’s just a big boy and hard worker, very unassuming, very coachable and very aggressive,” Munger said. He also coached current San Francisco 49ers offensive lineman Joe Staley.
“He’s been blessed with size, strength and speed. He’s the right kind of guy. He’s been raised by a wonderful family and believes in the values his family taught him. For us, he’s an awfully good offensive lineman and he’s raw. He’s coming into his own.”
Size, strength, and speed are probably the three most important qualities for an offensive lineman, and it's a bonus to see he has a good head on his shoulders.
Braden held a Wisconsin offer, which you should know by now is the automatic sign he's a serious prospect - much like Ohio State for safeties or USC for Pro-Style quarterbacks. He also held offers from Syracuse and Michigan State.
Not only is Braden an under-the-radar prospect (at least in terms of news out there on the internets), he's also an offensive lineman. They don't have stats, so nothing to see here.
FAKE 40 TIME
None of the premium sites have a listed 40 time for Braden, so I'll take the liberty to give him an automatic five FAKEs out of five.
I couldn't find any free video of Braden anywhere out there. If you come across any, let me know.
PREDICTION BASED ON FLIMSY EVIDENCE
With the new coaching staff putting a serious emphasis on size rather than agility, a redshirt to bulk up is all but guaranteed (and it probably would have been under RichRod and co. anyway). As a redshirt freshman, Braden will be entering a lineup that loses Patrick Omameh, Ricky Barnum, Elliott Mealer, and Rocko Khoury, so a two-deep position is practically guaranteed, with a starting position possible.
The question becomes what position he plays. He has a good body for tackle if the 6-6 number is accurate (and especially if 6-7 is the right height), and the Wolverines are likely going to have a pair of senior starters in Taylor Lewan and Michael Schofield. On the other hand, the interior OL will be decimated by graduation.
Although "it's too early to tell" is basically accurate for all Hello posts, without knowing who else will end up in this class of linemen, we can't even peg a definitive position for Braden.
UPSHOT FOR THE REST OF THE CLASS
Needs MOAR linemen. The Wolverines will probably take 5 or 6 on the offensive line in this class, thanks to the above-mentioned graduations on the way. Braden is a combo player, which means the maize-and-blue can still take many more interior AND exterior OL.
From a less pragmatic standpoint, the commitment of Braden breaks the seal on the class of 2012, and makes fans feel a lot better about recruiting early in this cycle. Hopefully, it'll get the ball rolling for other commits as well.
It's the Rockford Rams
Did anyone else wonder about the other (tall-looking) player in the picture? I think it's this guy:
They seem to grow kids big in Rockford. Every starter on their team seems to have a beard and is built like a college kid.
They also have a huge student body, so they are bound to have some big kids.
You take your knowledge of statistics and go home sir. The internet is for hyperbole.
I went to Rockford and am 5'10" 175 but I can grow a hell of a beard.
Same here, and I have a few housemates who did that have pretty fantastic beards. What did they feed us?
(go Rams, go Blue)
OMG!!! We're loading up on 3 stars. Where are all the 5 stars???
Glad to see the team get one on the board. Welcome.
Hoke's first in-state battle, first win. Apparently Braden was the only Michigan recruit with both a UofM and Sparty offer. Another gem from Spartanmag's freep article:
"MSU is coming off an 11-2 season and a share of the Big Ten championship. That should allow the Spartans to be very selective about whom they offer."
Yeah, you're just like Texas now guys
with a M and MSU offer? Sure if you don't count Dan O'Brien, James Ross, Aaron Burbridge, Matt Godin, Royce Jenkins-Stone, Terry Richardson, Devin Funchess, and Mario Ojemudia
which, unfortunately, Rockford seems to dominate year after year. He and Desmond can make up now after going head to head twice this year.
OK Red is a death trap. The top 4 teams in that conference on a yearly basis beat the S out of each other during the year and then do the same to teams around the state come playoff time.
They also do this without regularly churning out D-1 prospects.
They will teach you how to underline in
Not the fuck scenes, they don't.
Scout has a public write up on him and it has film if anyone wants to see it.
Thanks for the link UMH, much appreciated.
Trieu writes that on the list to be released next week, Braden is slotted as the 11th best in-state prospect. Anyone bored and care to speculate on the top 10? Here's my ordered stab:
since Braden's not included, but AT basically gives the top 12 as of two weeks ago here (along with some sleepers)
8. Norfleet (I'd like to see us offer him)
HM: Ojemudia, Braden, Payne
This is great news, a good in-state kid at a position of need. Welcome aboard Ben, we're glad to have you.
And oddly no one is fighting anymore...
More hello's please
Linemen that Wisconsin wanted are always worth taking. I'm happy we've gotten an offensive linemen early. We're gonna need a bunch like Tim said.
Get yourself a closetfull of Maize & Blue apparel and wear it around town just like Trey Burke. We're all looking forward to watching you overprotect for UM's offense for years to come.
Hell Yeah!! It feels good to finally get that first commit out of the way! The kids raw but it looks like hes got a lot of untapped potential, and is naturally gifted with size and a hefty bulk(which is always a plus, plus)!! Hopefully this really gets the ball rolling for this class!! GO BLUE!!
Keep em coming and Go Blue!
has some more of those commits!
... when I'm not watching the tourney, that is.
Congrats Mr. Braden! Now lets snag a few more this weekend... Cass Tech Trio anyone???
This kid looks like he is going to be a bulldozer for michigan.Welcome to the family.
Way to represent the West Side of MI, Ben. Go Blue!!!
Ben looks like one tough SOB! Glad to have yah.
Today ESPN has updated his profile and now lists him at OT and weighing 285lb, although it still lists him at 6'5. Now that's what I like to see on our OL. Welcome aboard Ben, glad to have you.
As a Rockford Football alum and a University of Michigan Flint student seeing that a fellow player will soon be on the field for my college makes my day! Having a year to play with and get to know Ben was fun as he is a great player and picked up the program very fast. Hopefully this won't hurt his senior year with the RAMS as I hope to see them have a great season!
Congratulations to Coach Munger! One of the best coaches I got to play for. More importantly congratulations to Ben to be welcome into such a great college!