rundown of Michigan's riser
The Lewan Effect
hey this can probably work
I had assumed Lewan's departure was so much of a foregone conclusion that I didn't even bother to hang around the computer last night when he announced and only found out once I flipped on the Nebraska game. Derpity-doo.
In any case, I don't have to tell you how huge his return is for Michigan next year. Without him, Michigan was replacing four starters on the OL with at least two freshmen. With him, they return two solid-to-All-American tackles and only have to find three new guys.
In addition, Lewan's return gives Michigan flexibility. Michael Schofield was a quality player at guard last year and could return there if necessary. That allows Michigan to let Ben Braden and Erik Magnuson compete for starting jobs. Team 134 now has to find three starters out of this group:
CENTERS: Jack Miller, Patrick Kugler
GUARDS: Kyle Kalis, Chris Bryant, Kyle Bosch, Blake Bars, Joey Burzynski
TACKLES: Erik Magnuson, Ben Braden
Even if you dismiss Burzynski as a walk-on—not necessarily wise—that is eight candidates for the three spots, seven of whom will compete in spring. The eighth, Kugler, is the son of Sean Kugler, until recently the Steelers' OL coach and now the head man at UTEP. If ever there is a guy who will be ready to play center as a freshman it'll be him.
Remove Lewan and you not only force Braden* in to the starting lineup ready or not, you likely remove Magnuson from the conversation. Moving guys around is a lot less possible when you've got one guy standing between you and walk-ons at tackle. Then you're trying to get someone out of Bosch/Bars/Burzynski/Bryant. That's doable, but Lewan is not only an All-American coming back but two extra bullets for the holes Michigan has to fill. High five.
The starting line above is four touted recruits and four kids who are entering at least their third year in the program. Behind them they'll have options in case they aren't working out. It's kind of a big deal.
HEY DERRICK GREEN HEY WHAT'S UP NAW JUST SAYIN'
[Note: I'll redo "27 tickets" after Signing Day.]
*[Speculation based on insider buzz has Braden ahead of Magnuson, FWIW. As always take insider buzz lightly.]