Hello: Ben Bredeson

Submitted by Ace on June 17th, 2015 at 1:35 PM

Photo via Scout

Michigan picked up their highest-ranked player in the 2016 class and one of the most coveted offensive line prospects in the country this afternoon when four-star Hartland (WI) Arrowhead OL Ben Bredeson announced his commitment on Twitter. Notre Dame and Wisconsin were the two other schools most often mentioned as Bredeson's potential landing place, but ultimately the recruiting trio of Jim Harbaugh, Tim Drevno, and Greg Mattison—along with some help from Bredeson's older brother Jack, who'll play baseball for Michigan next year—sealed the deal.


Scout Rivals ESPN 247 247 Comp
4*, #1 OG,
#25 Ovr
4*, #4 OT,
#49 Ovr
4*, 85, #4 OT,
#53 Ovr
4*, 96, #10 OT,
#46 Ovr
4*, #4 OT,
#31 Ovr

Bredeson is universally regarded as one of the best linemen in the country, to the extent that despite being a (very high) four-star on all four sites he's a five-star in the 247 Composite [well, was a five-star in the 247 Composite until 247 updated their rankings right as this posted]. That's about as tightly grouped a set of rankings as you'll see for a recruit not in Jabrill Peppers territory. If Bredeson remains this highly ranked, he should get that fifth star by the end of the cycle; last year, 35 prospects were 247 Composite five-stars.

I'd wager to say the only thing holding Bredeson back from ranking even higher is his size. At 6'5", 293 pounds, he's just a tad shorter than the prototype tackle prospect. Scout, which likes Bredeson the most, ranks him as their top guard. That's probably more a concern for the NFL level than it is for Michigan; Mason Cole is even a little smaller with Bredeson and held up quite well as a freshman left tackle. Bredeson should play wherever the team needs him most on the line, whether that's tackle or guard.


Other than needing to add some size and strength, an area for improvement that applies to pretty much every O-line prospect not built like Michael Onwenu, there's very little recruiting analysts don't like about Bredeson's game. Scout's free evaluation is demonstrative:


Outstanding overall prospect with good technique and ability to bend. Has good flexibility in his lower body and has no issue winning leverage battles even against shorter defensive linemen. Plays with a mean streak and finishes his blocks strong. Can still polish up his pass pro, and add more strength up top, but has all the tools and the intangibles to develop into a top flight college lineman. Could play tackle or guard as well.


  • Body Control and Balance
  • Feet
  • Nasty Streak

Areas to Improve

  • Power And Strength

ESPN's evaluation waffles so much—he's got good hand placement except when he doesn't, and same goes for pad level—that I won't bother posting anything but the conclusion ($):

Bredeson is tough prospect with the ability to transition to the college level as an OT or if needed slide inside. Needs to continue to fill out his frame and may need to adjust to a slightly steeper jump in competition, but big man that will battle and get the job done. With continued progress can be a strong multi-year starter for a Power-5 O-Line.

Consistency with technique is almost always a relative weakness for high school OL, but it seems like Bredeson is ahead of the curve. IrishIllustrated's Tim Prister broke down Bredeson's junior film and found "not a whole lot to critique," while noticing plenty to like ($):

Shows excellent balance as a run blocker even with such an aggressive, explosive first step, which can sometimes put an offensive lineman in a top-heavy mode. Uses his hands as weapons. Hands are a hammer-like force on defensive linemen. Once he gets his hands on a defensive lineman and gets into his upper body, it’s over.

A surprisingly adept pass blocker for someone so big and strong. Doesn’t have to strain to seal the edge with his feet. Sits nicely in his pass block, and then unleashes those powerful hands. Doesn’t just get hands on a body, but really punches with force. Many of his shots to the upper body stun opposing defenders, putting them on their heels.

His only concern was how Bredeson would handle speed rushers, but added "even that's a stretch." The praise for his technique is echoed by 247's Evan Sharpley:

Bredeson showcases tremendous technique, highlighted by the exceptional use of his hands. Defenders have a difficult time with him because he is able to create space with his lengthy frame. Ample athleticism to move around the line if needed.

Pad level and utilizing proper pass-blocking angles against speed rushers are noted as areas for improvement. Bredeson has had occasional issues in space against top-ranked defensive ends in camp settings, though as 247's Steve Wiltfong pointed out after The Opening regional in Chicago—where Bredeson earned an invite to the finals—he tends to learn quickly from his mistakes:

Top50 offensive tackle Ben Bredeson took all of his reps against elite guys, went back and forth with players like Auston Robertson and Josh King. Bredeson can absolutely bend, an agile lineman who is technically sound. Good agility and balance. Bredeson also did a good job bouncing back on the second rep. In pad, he’d of been more victorious in this setting.

Rivals sums it up succinctly:

What he lacks in height, the 6-foot-4, 270-pound Bredeson makes up in technique, athleticism and intensity. He is well ahead of the curve from a fundamentals standpoint and has some of the best offensive line film in the class.

There's a chance Bredeson needs to slide inside to guard in college, but his floor appears to be excellent all-around guard.


Bredeson holds offers from Alabama, Auburn, Iowa, LSU, Miami (YTM), Michigan State, Mizzou, Nebraska, NC State, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Penn State, Stanford, Tennessee, and Wisconsin, among several others. Pretty good list, if you ask me.


Bredeson is the highest-ranked prospect to come out of Arrowhead, which has sent a couple of four-stars to Wisconsin (2004 DT Nick Hayden and 2003 QB Tyler Donovan) and a handful of three-stars to mostly Big Ten West schools.


Is O-lineman, no stats.


Bredeson has a verified 40 time of 5.31, which gets zero FAKEs.


Junior highlights:

Bredeson's reps against Auston Robertson at The Opening regional in Chicago are below; he looks better in pads than he did in this particular setting, and it's worth noting these one-on-one drills tend to favor the defense:

Sophomore highlights and single-game reels can be found on his Hudl page.


Bredeson's position could be determined by how Michigan fills in the O-line class around him. If they add another tackle-type to join Erik Swenson, Bredeson could begin on the interior of the line and slide out only if his pass protection proves better than the others. If they add another pure interior prospect to join Michael Onwenu, Bredeson could fit in at tackle. Either way, with Michigan's young O-line—every projected member of the two-deep except Graham Glasgow should be back in 2016—Bredeson should get a couple years to develop before he vies for the opportunity to be a multi-year starter.


Bredeson's commitment ensures that Michigan is going to have one of the best O-line classes in the country, especially since the Wolverines are the heavy favorite for four-star Terrance Davis and are right up there for four-stars Devery Hamilton and Michael Elitise. Getting one or two of those three would give Michigan a line class comparable to 2012's haul.

As for the numbers, yes, Michigan now has 15 commitments for 14 open spots. There will be more open spots by the time the season starts, and almost assuredly even more come Signing Day, when the numbers matter most. Again, I'll have a post on this later on this week. For now, enjoy that this class of fliers and lowly camp commits—oh, and six four-stars, I guess—is now ranked ninth in the country.


Amaizing Blue

June 17th, 2015 at 2:09 PM ^

Sick of this crap, Harbaugh knows more about football than all of us combined.  Just because the kid is only a 2-star, doesn't...what?  How many?  HOLY SHIT, THAT'S A LOT MORE THAN 2!  WOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!


June 17th, 2015 at 2:32 PM ^

6'5" isn't bad and is right at an ideal OT height protype. The important thing to know is his arm length which isn't measured at camp in which I don't understand why they don't do it.

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June 17th, 2015 at 2:38 PM ^

I would be very very happy right now. Ie."Phew! I might have some of the best pass protection in the country". I'm sure the RB commits are pretty happy too!!!


June 17th, 2015 at 2:44 PM ^

Here I come with a Debbie Downer post...

...not really, though. Just a couple comments.

I somewhat disagree with the comments about his technique. I actually think he has a lot to work on. The issue I see is that his stance, footwork, etc. are basically the way high schoolers are taught. It's simpler and less nuanced, which is understandable since not all high schools are filled with college-level talent and college-level coaching. It's not that he doesn't have good technique, because he looks to be doing exactly what his coaches want. It's just that the things he'll be taugh by Harbaugh, Drevno, etc. will differ significantly.


June 17th, 2015 at 3:27 PM ^

That makes sense, but that is true for most linemen. He looks good for what he's been taught, which shows a decent level of comprehension wrt technique, one hopes.

Luckily, it looks like UM won't need any Mason Cole types by the time he's on campus, which is nice.

Space Coyote

June 17th, 2015 at 4:55 PM ^

I think, technique wise though, he is quite advanced for a high school player. The next OL recruit that I think honestly has really good technique will be the first OL recruit I think has really good technique. But I think Bredeson has good technique for a high school OL.


June 17th, 2015 at 3:51 PM ^

Bredenson, Swenson, Onwenu, Davis (if he lands) is about as good as it gets.

People are still allowed to question the recruiting strategy and not buy into the "turst the coches" mentality IMO, but if you're going to build a smashmouth/powerhouse/man-power football program developing a physically dominant OL and DL is the way to get it done.  Kudos to the staff.


June 17th, 2015 at 3:32 PM ^

How many of these kids have committed since the Harbaugh shirtless pic was posted?  Is it 6?  That picture cause me to go blind for about 20 minutes, as did the shirtless pic of Harbaugh stealing Urban's pizza, but it seems to have had a very positive affect on recruiting.

Space Coyote

June 17th, 2015 at 4:36 PM ^

A lot of his strengths are noted above such as really good flexibility, great hands, really good feet, can leverage pretty much anyone. I agree that he can play either inside or outside, though I see him more as a true LT prospect. His technique is advanced for a run blocker, does well with his punch and gets his hands inside and under defenders to leverage them out; also has really good feet to get good position on plays, can seal the edge on stretch plays, can sink his hips and generate power through his legs, and those sorts of things.

Really needs to refine his pass pro though. I like his balance and his pass set and initial punch, but his drop is an issue. He doesn't cover a lot of ground and kind of chops back in his kick slide; this is the primary reason he struggles so much with speed rushers, because he doesn't put himself in a position with his body to be successful yet. But that's a technique issue that can be worked out.

Length is a little concerning and may force him inside, but if I had to guess, he'll stick outside. I don't think his length will be too much of an issue for him. Weight may be. Obviously, the strength and conditioning program will help that, but some guys struggle to get over 300 (think Magnuson) and that may limit some of his ability as an interior player, but I still think he can handle the LT role no matter what.

This is a really good pickup, but like is always said with OL prospects, it is the highest variance position, with probably more unheralded guys become great and more high rated guys being busts than any other position. The emphasis on technique and the mentality it takes to succeed in the trenches is at a whole nother level in the college game. So while Bredeson has the skill set to be very successful, he still has a long ways to go to be a great college football player. But it's always nice to start with the baseline skills needed to be one.


June 17th, 2015 at 4:37 PM ^

So wait, all this hand-wringing by the 3 Star Mafia was over a class that was previously ranked 15th in the country until Bredeson pushed us up to 9th?  Mailbag flooded with e-mails of, "OMG, Harbaugh isn't recruiting all 5 stars!!!", when our class was already coming in at 15th....in June.



June 17th, 2015 at 5:16 PM ^

I wasn't doing any of the hand-wringing...

...HOWEVER, I believe that a large part of people's concern was that people think we're recruiting for about 15 spots. And as the class got nearer to "filling up" with 15 prospects, people were wondering how we're going to fit any 4- or 5-star guys in.

In truth, we're probably looking at 20+ spots, so that concern was premature. But I can see where they're coming from if they think we'll only take 15 guys.


June 17th, 2015 at 10:39 PM ^

Welcome to Michigan Ben. The coaches will improve his techniques against the speed rush. I think he will be a good LT. But could move inside if Harbaugh gets some bigger tackles!


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