Hello: Patrick Kugler

Submitted by Ace on February 25th, 2012 at 11:35 AM

patrickkugler

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.

GURU RATINGS

Scout Rivals ESPN 24/7 Sports
4* OG 4* OT,
#54 Ovr
4* OT, ESPNU
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.

OFFERS

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.]

STATS

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.

FAKE 40 TIME

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.

VIDEO

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

PREDICTION BASED ON FLIMSY EVIDENCE

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.

UPSHOT FOR THE REST OF THE CLASS

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.

Comments

turd ferguson

February 25th, 2012 at 12:43 PM ^

Ace, I've heard the same thing about another TE being possible, but doesn't five TEs over two classes seem a bit much? I know that they've been pursuing more kids, but I could see that also being done to protect themselves in case any of the current commits (or signees) don't stick.

Ace

February 25th, 2012 at 1:15 PM ^

Five TEs in two years is not exactly ideal, but neither is having only Ricardo Miller as an upperclassman option after this year. Especially now that they're splitting TE into two different positions (the Y-back and U-back), they need to stabilize that spot and then they can go after one or two in each class. Don't have a problem at all with taking three this year.

denverblue

February 25th, 2012 at 9:52 PM ^

Yes taking 5 TE's over two recruiting classes may not be ideal, but we also have to remember that some of these guys will redshirt, essentially giving us 5 TE's over 3 graduating classes. It sounds like Williams will contribute immediately, Funchess probably should redshirt but we'll see, I see Butt contributing immediately with either Hill and/or future 3rd TE redshirting. Also, didn't Paskorz just switch to TE for depth? He'd be a RS Jr. by the time the 2013 class got on campus.

brandanomano

February 25th, 2012 at 12:43 PM ^

It's funny how 2 years ago we would have looked at that offer list and pretty much give up hope for landing this kid. Now we look at that offer list and are like, "well duh, of course he chose Michigan".

bronxblue

February 25th, 2012 at 12:44 PM ^

I typically do not care how MSU fans feel about UM football, but I know that Kugler was a big lean for them and a guy they were high on.  So as you can imagine, this commitment is not going over well.

http://michiganstate.247sports.com/Board/93/Per-his-Twitter-account-Patrick-Kugler-committed-to-Michigan-8021237

My favorite part was someone saying he was a junior and why would Dantonio need juniors now?  Because of course, they can't PLAY right now, and there are always seniors who are graduating from HS who can actually PLAY this year.

#youdontunderstandrecruiting

#oragingapparently

Fifth-Stringer

February 25th, 2012 at 4:00 PM ^

"Somebody please let me know when U-M and OSU have everyone they want so that I can start paying attention to the kids we have a chance of actually seen playing for the Green and White." 

 

Ah, recruiting is back to the way it should be - Big 2 and Little 10 - with Michigan on top of course.

brandanomano

February 25th, 2012 at 12:47 PM ^

Buckeye 'freude anyone?

Gonna be a fun ride. Buckeye proud class of '93 but damn this UM offensive line worries me. Ty Isaac and Treadwell are soon to join them. If TTUN get those two and throw in Levenberry am not sure we can match them. I trust in Urban and the rest of the staff but I am very worried.

Yes...

M-Dog

February 25th, 2012 at 4:35 PM ^

And more 'freude from ND message board:

1) Heck that would make 5 for the year so I think that hits their quota. 

After that they may be like "well don't worry about the outsiders let's just stay focused on keeping what we got. It is a solid haul."
 
If that is the case that would be good for ND to knock out another competitor. Honestly, if I was an OL recruit and a team is recruiting me with 5 OL already committed then I...I...would definitely look elsewhere.
 
2) hope they get him and finish off their OL recruiting. Let us get going soon please!!!!!!!!!
 
3) UM commit
 
...too late
 
Excellent OL class haul by them. That should take them out of the running for anymore OL and ND reaps the benefits.
 
4) . . . .I hope March is a good month for the Irish, because I'm sick and ****ing tired of seeing Michigans success on the recruiting trail.
 
So, their recruiting strategy against us is to curl up in the fetal position and wait until we've picked off everyone we want.  Then they will come out of hiding.
 
Sounds reasonable.

UMich87

February 25th, 2012 at 5:22 PM ^

I wonder what USC, Texas, Oregon, Florida, Florida State, Miami, Wisconsin, Alabama, LSU, Oklahoma, Ok State and the rest of them are saying?  Each one thinks they can hit 2, 3 or 4 O Line homeruns this year and get anything approaching this class?  With only 28 O Line prospects left in the Rivals 250, it will be tough for anyone to string together an O Line class made up of 4 stars, but the OSU, ND and MSU fans like their chances.

bronxblue

February 25th, 2012 at 12:50 PM ^

Also, incredibly happy to have a center on the recruiting docket.  Sounds like a mini-Molk, at least in terms of temperment, and that should really help the team going forward.  

I will totally fess up to being down on Hoke's recruiting when he was hired - figured he would struggle with recruiting at UM considering his limited experience and the fact that past coaches (late Carr and RR) had struggled.  Clearly I was wrong.  His hire has been absolutely perfect, and while I expect some struggles this year, the future looks incredibly bright for this team.

MGoLifer

February 25th, 2012 at 12:55 PM ^

ACE, so you think we're going to take 2 MORE recievers, other than Dukes? He definitely sems to fit the mold of a big outside playmaker. Just wondering b/c there seems to be alot of speculation as to whether we'll target 1 or 2.

WolvinLA2

February 25th, 2012 at 1:05 PM ^

I think it depends on who commits next. If our next WR commit is a top guy like Treadwell, we might hang tight and sew up other psoition groups first. It also depends on who drops at other spots.

If we get two LBs and a couple more DBs to commit, we might not have room for a third WR.

MAZandBLUE

February 25th, 2012 at 1:16 PM ^

As I was sitting here drinking my morning (/now afternoon) coffee, I figured I'd fire up the ol' computer cause it's already past 1:00 and we must have at least one new Hello post by now. Sure enough.

Welcome Patrick. And congrats on making the best decision of your life.

Geneticblue

February 25th, 2012 at 3:55 PM ^

I dont know how real or not this is, but while I was taking my son to his doctors appointment in Granger, Indiana (close to South Bend), I ran into another Michigan fan there.  We got to talking and he told me that his nephew is Damario Jones from Jersey and that Michigan had offered him and that he was going to visit during the spring game with his family and if he likes it, maybe another time or two.  The guy told me that he is a 4.4 speedster with good hands.  I don't know how legit it was but i wrote down the name, and sure enough, here is his profile:

 

http://rivals.yahoo.com/michigan/football/recruiting/player-Damario-Jon…

 

Once again, I don't know how legit this is, and haven't seen any other info on this, but figured I would pass it on.

DonAZ

February 25th, 2012 at 3:56 PM ^

Kulger had 25 offers when he pledged to Michigan, including Arizona

BWAHAHAHA ... I live in Tucson and see the face of the coach-who-is-not-to-be-named on billboards all over town. 

RakeFight

February 25th, 2012 at 4:33 PM ^

I've been wondering the same.  It seems like the right thing is do stop ACTIVELY recruiting OL recruits.  Word is that the commits were told M would take 5 OL, and they have 5.  If they actively went after a 6th, it might upset the apple cart... or encourage attrition.  That said, I suppose if there's still a OL prospect out there that the coaches think is significantly better than the current crop, they should keep after him... but that seems unlikely to be the case.  

DefenseWins

February 25th, 2012 at 4:04 PM ^

For someone who was not exactly thrilled at the Brady Hoke hire, I have to say how impressed I am with what he has accomplished in such a short amount of time.  He has my full attention, and has had it ever since this past season started shaping up the way it did.

The main thing is success on the field and recruiting of course.  And he has had plenty of that so far in such a short time.  But also, to read everything that describe him as such a great guy is also awesome.

He is the man.  That is all.

And a 4-star OL who's father is the OL coach for a NFL team.  Who projects to center.  Yes please!

M-Dog

February 25th, 2012 at 4:47 PM ^

I went to check out MGoBlog today and got a 503 Error.  

I immediately knew why. 
 
I hereby dub this Michigan recruiting class: "The Class of '503"
 

j5aown

February 25th, 2012 at 7:57 PM ^

This raises an interesting situation for the coaching staff. Assuming they've filled the OL recruiting needs, do you continue recruiting the other top OL on the board? Let's face it, there is still a year until NSD and a couple of these kids may have a change of heart between now and then. If that were to happen, it would be nice to still be in contact with the other guys on their board.

Either way...what a great situation to be in!