Welcome to the family Mason. Lineman legacies abound.
It didn't take long for last weekend's visit to pay off, as Tarpon Springs (FL) East Lake offensive lineman Mason Cole announced his commitment to Michigan this afternoon:
— Mason Cole (@MasonCole52) February 25, 2013
Cole becomes the first offensive lineman and fourth prospect overall in Michigan's 2014 class; he gave credit to a couple of his now-fellow commits for recruiting him:
— Mason Cole (@MasonCole52) February 25, 2013
His shirt is in the mail, I presume.
4*, #17 OT,
4*, #19 OT,
4*, 96, #4 OG,
While Cole is listed as a tackle by three of the four sites, he'll likely end up playing guard at Michigan. The services are split on whether he's 6'4" or 6'5", with listed weights ranging from 260 to 280 pounds. As you can see, Cole is a fringe top-100 prospect to Scout and Rivals, easily within the top 100 on 247—notably, the only site that has him at guard—and he'll presumably be somewhere in that range when ESPN releases their rankings.
Cole first emerged on the camp circuit way back in the summer of 2011, when he was a rising sophomore; Rivals's Keith Niebuhr tabbed him as a top performer at a National Underclassman camp ($):
This is someone who looks like he has a bright future, almost certainly as a tackle. Cole is lean and has great length. For his size, and the fact he's still young, he has quick feet and excellent lateral movement. His technique was as good as any linemen on hand either day. Cole's punch slowed or stopped numerous defenders. And he was smooth enough on his feet to effectively contain the speed rushers. His comprehension is high.
His success continued last summer, where he was one of the top prospects at a Florida State camp, earning this review from Rivals's Chris Nee ($):
Cole participated despite a cast on his left hand. The 6-foot-5, 267-pound offensive lineman is very athletic with quick feet and hands. He does a good job of establishing a solid base and using his arm length off the snap. He shows the quickness to immediately get out and on a defender. He also gains traction when blocking and sustain those blocks. With regards to his physical build, he may end up at right tackle or even offensive guard depending on how he grows and fills out over the next year.
Cole's athleticism stands out in his evaluations—here's a junior-year scouting report from Scout's Jamie Newburg ($):
Cole has very good feet, moves well for a big man and gets off the ball quickly. He's plenty long and could easily pack on a ton of bulk once he gets to the next level. Cole has a good base and bends well. He does tend to stand out of his stance and will need to work on staying lower.
Cole looks equally adept at run blocking and in pass pro. At times he's nasty and seems to finish off most of his blocks.
247's Josh Newburg (I don't care enough to check if he's related to Jamie) echoed the praise of Cole's feet, saying getting to the second level is his best attribute, and also noticed a mean streak in his game ($):
Mason Cole plays with a chip on his shoulder. On nearly every play Cole plays through the whistle. He didn’t get flagged for any late hits, but his aggressiveness does not go unnoticed. The opposing coaches complained several times to the officials that Cole was roughing up their defenders. His play reminds me of former Armwood star and current UF offensive lineman Matt Patchan.
Michigan is getting a lineman with a good frame, very impressive athleticism, and solid technique. Cole will need to add weight and get stronger before he sees the field in college, but (1) he's got plenty of time to do so given Michigan's depth and (2) you can say that about pretty much every high school offensive lineman.
Cole amassed 20+ offers before his commitment, most notably from Alabama, Arkansas, Clemson, Florida, Florida State, Georgia, Notre Dame, Ohio State, South Carolina, Stanford, Tennessee, USC, and Wisconsin. That's about as impressive an offer list as you'll see a prospect have at this stage.
Tarpon Springs (FL) East Lake plays in Florida's largest classification (8A); last year they reached the regional final before bowing out to Orlando Dr. Phillips. East Lake has produced just a couple of lower-ranked BCS commits in the Rivals era, but what they're producing currently should have Michigan fans excited—Cole is teammates with four-star WR Artavis Scott and 2015 potential five-star athlete George Campbell, both of whom have visited Ann Arbor with Cole. Cole and Scott—and potentially Campbell, as well—have mentioned the possibility of being a package deal; if so, Michigan is in a great position to land one of the top playmakers in the 2014 class, and perhaps one of the top players of any kind for 2015.
FAKE 40 TIME
No 40 time listed.
The only film I could find of Cole on YouTube is this short reel from MaxPreps—obnoxiously, they don't highlight Cole before plays, but he's #52 and lines up at left tackle:
A far more extensive reel is up on Cole's Hudl page.
PREDICTION BASED ON FLIMSY EVIDENCE
Cole is an impressive player on film and should be one of the centerpieces of the 2014 class, but he's got a long way to go before he sees the field thanks to Michigan's newfound depth on the offensive line—that's not a knock on Cole, just a very good situation for Michigan.
He'll take a redshirt, not only because he needs to bulk up, but because Kyle Kalis, Blake Bars, Kyle Bosch, David Dawson, and Dan Samuelson all project to guard from the two previous classes—it's unlikely any of those guys will move to other positions, too, since the last two classes were strong at tackle and Patrick Kugler is the center of the future.
/takes a moment to appreciate Brady Hoke's offensive line recruiting
As an upperclassman, Cole should compete for a starting spot. There are few guarantees when it comes to an offensive lineman breaking through that level of depth, and that's the best possible problem to have as a football program.
UPSHOT FOR THE REST OF THE CLASS
Michigan now has four commits in a class that should be on the small end—currently projected to around 16, though that number should grow by Signing Day. The biggest need remains wide receiver, and Cole's commitment could help that area in a big way if he brings along Artavis Scott.
Welcome to the family Mason. Lineman legacies abound.
With these kind of lineman, Michigan will be an NFL factory.
Nice...excellent start to the offensive line class. Congrats to Mason.
A Florida guy commits to Michigan after a visit to Ann Arbor in February. Awesome.
He's from Illinois, I believe.
After last nights content intervention, I cannot think of a better post than this. Let the happy feels spread.
It's a good thing Seth didn't write this Hello post or no one would have read it.
Hoke is building this team the right way, with a focus on quality and depth in the trenches. With a solid O-line, Michigan will run the ball well even with lesser talents at RB, and will dominate running it if guys like Green live up to the hype. I am so looking forward to watching this team when Hoke has turned over the entire roster (not that I don't look forward to watching them every year, but wow, the O-line will really be something in another couple years.)
Michigan, then moves to Florida, only to "de-commit", and then is replaced in this recruiting class by a Florida lineman. Love it. Cole looks like a hell of a player and his offer sheet looks ridiculous. Get this kid a team 135 shirt!
Cole is originally from Illinois as well.
That is too funny.
And so I'm showing up for the posbang.
THIS IS HAPPY NEWS!
Hard working and tough as a "Cole" miner with the craftiness and intelligence of a mason.
Great name and soon to be better player.
...Hoke is building a brick wall on the offensive line. It is a good day to be a wolverine running back!
Bad pun. No cookie for you.
But seriously, "Mason Cole" is the name of a brawler. Half expect him to show up as the protagonist in a hyperbolic testosterone-fueled triple-A first-person shooter.
I just wish Hoke would get off his butt and start recruiting like Urban Meyer does.
But seriously, it's been an interesting past couple of days on the blog, with everyone going at each others throat. So hopefully everyone will unbuckle and relax a bit.
It's getting harder to project the O-line these days. There's some great trench battles against OSU coming up in the near future.
Did you have this Hello already written?
we're going to have dominating offensive lines for yeeeaaaars. Years. The depth looking forward is silly at this point. It'll be like the USC QB depth chart
Yeah. Except they won't suck in the NFL.
Hey now, Carson Palmer was looking pretty damn good before Kimo took him out in '06 Wild Card game.
I love seeing another tough o line commit. These kids can't be afraid of competition coming in after our last two classes.
Build from the inside out.
The prospects of a great offensive line gets the interest of RBs, QBs and WRs ... RBs for obvious reasons; QBs because they won't get killed back there; WRs because a QB with a little time make WRs end up on highlight reels.
The prospect of a great defensive line gets the interest of LBs, CBs and Safeties. Nothing makes their job easier than a QB getting pressure all day long. And it ups the chance of poorly thrown balls quite a bit.
He has the football skills and dedication to Michigan which make him a viable recruit. However! What puts him over the top is his glorious coif. Between him, Ryan and Bolden we have enough musketeers to make for a novel.
I hate to be the one to break it to ya, but Bolden cut his hair and donated it to locks of love. Great gesture, but hurts the team flow.....
This is the kind of thing I point to whenever an OSU fan babbles about how their incoming SEC-like defensive line will dominate Michigan forever and ever. Hoke is not just bringing depth to the O-Line: he's bringing elite depth.
Doles, Bars and ?
Damn, probably wouldn't matter with those three. But if we get those, I'd like the 4th to be a true tackle prospect.
EDIT: Jamarco Jones would be a good one, maybe Reilly Gibbons to add another FL boy.
If Doles is coming at all, expect him to drop soon. I would not expect more than two interior O-Lmen for this class, given our surplus.
His offer list has my two favorite tells: Alabama means he can play (at least so far) and Stanford means he probably is not an academic risk.
Welcome to Michigan, Mr. Cole.
Congratulations and welcome to the University of Michigan.
Looks like a Right Tackle or a good pulling Guard to me. I guess time will tell.
A likely five-star athlete, who's 6'5 (and would thus likely project to receiver - our biggest position of need)...holy balls. Sign me up.
The 6'5" thing is false. He recently measured in just under 6'3". Still good sized for a receiver, but hardly a giant.
you have correctly made the most important choice of your life so far. We will ALL be pulling or you.
Welcome to the Michigan family son. Glad to have you.
Snyder has Cole listed at 6'7 in his article, any chance he has grown or is that what I get for reading the Free Press?
It's the freep. In the picture that was on the board on saturday/sunday he was shorter than speight, which means either speight is 6'8" minimum or Cole is closer to 6'4"
Coach brown just guaranteed on twitter that Drake Harris will be a wolverine https://twitter.com/coachbrown3/status/306255279450890240
looks like hoke has taken the midwest centric recruiting to heart.
this year we are seeing more out of state recruits till now...THIS IS MICHIGAN
Congrats UM fans for getting another great O-line prospect. I said a few days ago that I have been worried about your recent recruiting class, especially your depth in the offensive trench. I liked what I have seen with the vids on Cole and wish him luck. The O-line is a great place to have an embarrassment of riches and it looks like UM is obtaining that...
This is pretty cool... People are recognizing what a great idea Ferns had and what it means for the future of recruiting.