Hello: Patrick Kugler Comment Count

Ace February 25th, 2012 at 11:35 AM


True story: I woke up to my phone vibrating on my desk and I immediately had no doubt that I was way late in getting to a "Hello" post. I didn't know for whom—though I had a good idea it was Wexford (PA) OL Patrick Kugler, who tweeted that Michigan "[felt] like home" after his visit yesterday—but I knew that Brady Hoke doesn't sleep and had no trouble punishing me for my slothfulness. This is where we're at with Michigan recruiting right now; I'm going to have to start patterning my sleep after a college football coach. This is totally okay as long as the 2013 class is wrapped up by the end of March.

On that note, Michigan now has its entire five-man offensive line class filled before the end of February. It is filled with four-stars. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.


Scout Rivals ESPN 24/7 Sports
4* OG 4* OT,
#54 Ovr
150 Watch List
4*, 92, #20 OT,
#192 Ovr

Four-stars across the board for Kugler, because what else did you expect? He even has an early four-star ranking from Scout, so it appears he's destined to end up on each of the four services's top-[blank] lists. Rivals is the most bullish for the moment, placing him as their #54 overall prospect, making him the team's third-best commit by their standards and the sixth in the Rivals100. Every site but Rivals lists Kugler at 6'4", 270 pounds—Rivals credits him with an extra inch and ten pounds—making him the ideal size to move inside, most likely to center.

Kugler's certainly got the bloodlines to be a dominant lineman. Scout's Bob Lichtenfels cited the Kugler family history when naming him the breakout 2013 prospect of the East last October ($):

We knew Wexford (Pa.) North Allegheny offensive lineman Patrick Kugler was going to be good. His family lineage would suggest that his father Sean Kugler is the offensive line coach for the Pittsburgh Steelers and his brother Robert Kugler is red shirting this season in his true freshman season at Purdue. The younger Kugler is better than we thought, he is dominant. I actually wouldn't hestitate to say he is the best lineman in Pennsylvania regardless of class.

Patrick did not let the resource of having an NFL offensive line coach for a father go to waste, working with his dad on technique and also being a ball boy, getting to absorb the atmosphere of an NFL training camp. Here's Kugler's self-evaluation ($):

'I just think my best thing is my physicality and run blocking definitely," he said. "I like being really physical and I'm working on my pass sets a lot. I'm working a lot on my strength and trying to get up there, get bigger and quicker."

Scout lists feet—not a surprise when working on footwork with an NFL coach—intensity, and nasty streak as Kugler's strengths, and his only listed weakness is size. While Kugler can't change being 6'4", this is actually a good thing for a center, and at 270 pounds he's got the frame to be college-ready by the time he sets foot on campus. Here is Scout's full evaluation:

Kugler is a technician and he is nasty. He finishes his blocks and always plays to the whistle. He has great feet and gets to the second level as well as anyone. Very dominant at the point of attack. he is equally adept at run blocking and pass protection. He is very cerebral and is rarely in bad position. Very good knee bend and deceptively athletic. Needs to fill out his frame more, but that will come with age and experience.

With his technical ability and feel for the game, Kugler sounds like the ideal center, though he's got the ability to play anywhere along the interior of the line and potentially even tackle—that likely won't be necessary given the recruiting haul this year and last.

So, in short, Michigan just pulled in a refined, technical lineman who knows the game, is equally skilled at pass- and run-blocking, and has the proverbial nasty streak. Oh, and his dad is the offensive line coach for the Steelers. I'd say "DO WANT," but we already got him.


Kulger had 25 offers when he pledged to Michigan, including Arizona, Boise State, Cal, Florida, Florida State, Iowa, Miami (FL), Michigan State, North Carolina, Notre Dame, Penn State, Pitt, South Carolina, Stanford, Tennessee, Virginia Tech, Washington, and West Virginia. [EDIT: Also Ohio State. Continue maniacal laughter.]


Offensive lineman, so no stats. He was recently named to the ESPNHS Underclass All-America team and pulled in all-state and all-conference honors as a junior. He was also first-team all-conference and all-state honorable mention as a sophomore.


Rivals lists a 5.1-second 40 time, which I'll give three FAKEs out of five, as well as a 300-pound bench press and a 415 squat.


Kugler does not have a highlight tape available, surprisingly. I'll update this if I come across one.


Kugler is the center that Michigan has been looking for, and while he'll likely take a redshirt year to bulk up, he could compete with Jack Miller for the starting job as a redshirt freshman. [EDIT: Though with the lack of depth, he may be forced into duty as a backup as a true freshman.] Even if Miller holds off Kugler until he graduates, Kugler will likely be a two-year starter anchoring the middle of the Wolverine line; no 2012 lineman projects to center and there's literally no depth after Miller. Kugler is much higher-ranked than your average center by the recruiting services, so I'm guessing he'll be in the running for postseason accolades by the time he's an upperclassman, though that's just a guess since I clearly don't have any film to base that on.


The Wolverines are now done taking offensive linemen, having pulled in two projected tackles (Logan Tuley-Tillman and Chris Fox), two guards (Kyle Bosch and David Dawson), and Kugler, the center.  They're also up to 13 total commitments for the class of 2013, and while I sound like a broken record, I'll once again state that this class should have around 20-22 players, though some recruiting analysts suggest Michigan could take up to 24. That would take a fair amount of attrition, so we'll have to see about that.

With the remaining spots, Michigan appears intent on taking two receivers (one big outside playmaker and a versatile slot, probably), another tight end, a nose tackle, a linebacker, and another corner, at the very least. That would put the Wolverines at 19 commits, and they could use their remaining scholarships on the best players available.

BONUS RIVAL SCHADENFREUDE. From the Notre Dame board IrishEnvy in their Patrick Kugler thread:

Today, 11:20 AM   #20 (permalink)
Raining On Your Parade

Committed to UM today.

Last edited by phork; Today at 11:23 AM..

That is all.



February 25th, 2012 at 12:12 PM ^

I used to watch other schools recruit like this — Texas, USC and recently Alabama — and wonder why Michigan couldn't match their recruiting. Especially Texas, which basically is Michigan south (the two schools are very similar in how they view themselves and how others  view them). And, yes, I know Texas has an advantage by having a huge home state to pull recruits from.

I just always wanted Michigan to recruit like the top schools do. Now, Hoke is doing exactly that. 



February 26th, 2012 at 2:46 PM ^

You should understand that the high school programs in Texas develop better players. It's not just that their state is huge; it's more centered on the quality of programs. Hoke is not recruiting exactly that way which is why we are taking players from Pennsylvania which also has historically dominant high school programs. If you need some examples, Marino, Kelly, Montana, Unitas, and Namath come to mind.  


February 25th, 2012 at 12:06 PM ^

I wonder if any these O-lineman from these two classes might get moved to the defensive side after a couple of years when the depth chart starts to sort out?


February 25th, 2012 at 12:54 PM ^

And I believe today is their junior day, and Kugler was supposed to be there.  

That 3-4 year of "MSU excellence" (as defined by my MSU friends as years they went to bowl games) might as well be coated in amber and cloned by an eccentric billionaire, because I don't see that happening organically again until at least Hoke is gone.



February 25th, 2012 at 1:06 PM ^

one really stings for Sparty. MSU was destroyed by Hoke last recruiting cycle. Now, it's not even been a month since signing day, and Michigan has requested the unconditional surrender of Sparty. If I were a Spartan fan, I'd be pissed. You have a junior day, and the head coach isn't around. Then again, the Spartan brand sells itself.


February 25th, 2012 at 3:54 PM ^

I am sure the Sparty boards are saying something along the lines of "trust the coaches" or "Coach D is so great that we take guys who want to come to EL" or something along these lines...I'd check but who knows with antivirus these days...

Similarly, I am sure the Ohio fans are saying somethign along the lines of "Urban wasn't interested in players who are only 54th in the country...our whole class will be rated 30 and better" etc. 

A rational Sparty fan might be pissed but when did you last meet one of them?


February 25th, 2012 at 9:24 PM ^

The sparty boards are ricocheting back and forth between "scUM is kicking our ass where the hell is Dantonio" and "who cares Dantonio is used to getting inferior recruiting classes and we still kick their ass".  The tide has turned.  I am really going to enjoy these next few years as things get back to normal and we once again get bored of dominating them.


February 25th, 2012 at 12:19 PM ^

Wow this is a great o-line class so far. The theme that I keep hearing is that they play with a nasty streak. I think ive read that about all the recent o-line commits.  If your a top talent running back in the 2013 class why wouldnt you want to run behind the talent Hoke is bringing in. Hoke and his staff are doing a GREAT JOB on the recruiting trail!!


February 25th, 2012 at 12:29 PM ^

Am I right in thinking that the plan is to redshirt most if not all of our 2013 OL class and probably play most of our 2012 class right of the gate to address our current depth issues on the O-Line?  That way, the OL corps will be staggered so that we'll lose about 3 guys every year and gain 3 guys every year and not have any shortfalls like we're due for


February 25th, 2012 at 12:48 PM ^

 Or at least have the freedom to do that, we are getting to an era where freshman won't be forced to play, it'll purely be a question of out-playing established people in front of them

In 2012, I see Kalis, Magnussen and Braden (has the size/strength to contribute early) getting on the field as true freshman

In 2013, Bosch plays a s a freshman, and Kugler definitely sees snaps at Center as a freshman,

I also wouldn't be surprised if they try Dawson at Center at some point in time, just for depth purposes


February 25th, 2012 at 12:32 PM ^

I kind of see Ace suffering from the five stages of grief:

1. Denial: "No, that can't be. The guys visitied campus, like, once. Besides, he's visiting Eastl Lansing today. Must be a rumor..."

2. Anger: "Gawddamn it, ANOTHER one? What....WHAT IS GOING ON? The bandages on my fingers are still on from last week!"

3. Bargaining: "Ok...ok...Hoke, just give me one month...one month to heal. I swear, push some recruiting back to summer to evaluate sleeper prospects and I'll never write ill of you again."

4. Depression: "Why bother? by next week the 2014 class will be filling up and my fingers will be bloody nubs. I mighta s well file for disability now. I'll never be able to hold a woman again..."

5. Acceptance: "Well, my hands might be a write off, but to be fair, a national championship is kind of better than hands anway."