Hello: Mason Cole

Submitted by Ace on February 25th, 2013 at 5:53 PM

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:

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:

His shirt is in the mail, I presume.

GURU RATINGS

Scout Rivals ESPN 24/7 Sports
4*, #17 OT,
#107 Ovr
4*, #19 OT,
#112 Ovr
ESPN150
Watch List
4*, 96, #4 OG,
#64 Ovr

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. 

OFFERS

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.

HIGH SCHOOL

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.

STATS

No stats.

FAKE 40 TIME

No 40 time listed.

VIDEO

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.

Comments

Wolverine 73

February 25th, 2013 at 6:19 PM ^

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.)

Cali Wolverine

February 25th, 2013 at 6:21 PM ^

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!

robbyt003

February 25th, 2013 at 6:39 PM ^

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.  

DonAZ

February 25th, 2013 at 7:06 PM ^

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.

Belisarius

February 25th, 2013 at 7:23 PM ^

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.

Perkis-Size Me

February 25th, 2013 at 7:25 PM ^

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.

snowcrash

February 25th, 2013 at 7:50 PM ^

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.

ThoseWhoStayUofM

February 25th, 2013 at 8:12 PM ^

Depth is really an offensive lineman's best friend.

1) You will have fantastic upperclassmen mentors who can teach you valuable skills that will drastically improve your game.
2) You will have fantastic competition that will push you to accomplish more than you ever thought possible
3) You can develop your skills with the best coaches and teammates while not risking injury from in-game competition.
4) Establishing credibility for the programs collective offensive line success will make you a more desirable NFL prospect.
5) Since there are virtually no offensive linemen statistics, not seeing the field early in your college career has almost no negative consequences in the long run.

The fact that offensive linemen have no relavent statistics is something that is really uique to the position and can be used to establish huge O-line depth in recruiting.  With exception to the highly debatable assertion that in-game experience is the most important kind of experience one can have, there is really no tangible benefit to actually getting playing time as an offensive linemen.

wigeon

February 25th, 2013 at 10:03 PM ^

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.  

Kevbo714

February 26th, 2013 at 1:54 AM ^

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...