Hello: Ben Braden

Submitted by Tim on March 24th, 2011 at 10:03 PM

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:



Scout Rivals ESPN

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.


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.


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.


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.



March 24th, 2011 at 10:17 PM ^

all now Ben Braden can play MANBALL if he got offered by wisconsin. Great start to the 2012 class. Now lets pick up a couple more this weekend.GO BLUE!!!

Broken Brilliance

March 24th, 2011 at 10:22 PM ^

Welcome Ben, I'm glad to hear that you will be turning in your horns for a pair of wings in a year and a half. Just don't get to three strikes once you get on campus, or else you'll have to answer to this guy...


March 24th, 2011 at 10:20 PM ^

What do I like best about this post?  It's all by itself on the front page and not accompanied by an MGoBoard post by some doofus that ignores the great likelihood that Tim/whoever will cover the issue comprehensively.


March 24th, 2011 at 10:21 PM ^

First sports scribe to write a "Michigan turning in-state tide" hack piece gets a shiny new fountain pen. Glad we got this class rolling and trumped Sparty and Wiscy in the process. Also, West siiiide! Rockford seemingly goes to state in football twice a year.


March 24th, 2011 at 10:24 PM ^

I'll tell you, Rockford's coach is a MASSIVE UM guy. He's coached at their camps for years, and was/is very close to Lloyd and heavily influenced by Bo. I'm more excited for him that he has one of his players commit than I am for Blue to get their first player for 2012. Great news all around. I hope Ben has a great career!


March 24th, 2011 at 10:51 PM ^

Until the last couple years, the recruiting site were notorious for making up ridiculously fast times for prospects. There was no way some of them could have been accurate, and thus, FAKE.


March 24th, 2011 at 10:53 PM ^

1 FAKE out of 5 would be an accurately measured 40 time at a public event, reasonable for the athlete in question.


5 FAKES out of 5 would be reporting a 300 pound lineman routinely races cheetahs in his spare time, and wins.


(40 times are constantly exagerated.  Not every high school and college kid runs a 4.2)


March 24th, 2011 at 10:54 PM ^

Forty times you see on the internet are almost always fake.  When you see high schoolers claiming to run a 4.3 (Chris Johnson, the NFL's fastest man, ran a 4.24) or linebackers claiming to run a 4.5 (Pat White ran a 4.55), then you know they're probably lying.

Five fakes out of five means the time is totally unbelieveable.

One fake out of five means it sounds pretty accurate.

Zone Left

March 24th, 2011 at 10:57 PM ^

The NFL combine measures everyone's 40 times. Typically, there's about one running back or cornerback who runs about a 4.25. The speed jumps him a full round or more. There are only a select few who get around 4.4. There are literally dozens of recruits with "sub 4.4 speed."

One FAKE is probably true. Five FAKES(!) is really FAKE--like a linebacker with 4.4 speed at 240 pounds. It's also relative. Denard was a sprint champ, so sub 4.4 would probably be two FAKES out of five.

Maize and Blue…

March 25th, 2011 at 7:57 AM ^

so the only time you would worry about fake 40s is self reported or hand timed.  FWIW Indy is a slow track.

Denard ran a 10.3 100 meters which is the equilavent of a 9.4 100 yard dash.  To say him running a sub 4.4 is two fakes is flat out wrong.  That would mean he could run an extra 20 yards in .6 seconds. Sub 4.4 would be expected.