A Review of 2013-2018 OL Recruiting

Submitted by Maizinator on June 14th, 2018 at 3:23 AM

I was sleepless and bored, so I decided to go back and review our OL recruiting over the past few years.  The MGOExperts are well versed in this and nothing of great surprise.  But, for me, it helped put into perspective the multi-year struggles we've had and why there should be real hope going forward.   I posted because I thought it might do the same for others.

I'll add that it also made me want to cut Drevno a little slack given what he inherited for "veteran" players and how the recruiting went after the 2015 transition class under his watch.  He missed on some guys, sure, but he did bring in some significant talent. 


2013  Cursed by the Gods.  So promising and turned into a complete shit show.  So glad we are no longer dependent on this class.

2014-2015   No numbers and it made Newsome injury hurt way worse than it should have.  Still paying the price this year.  Would cloning Cole to create an entire line have been an NCAA violation??  

2016  Small but solid start to first full Harbaugh class.  A left tackle would have been appreciated though.

2017-2018  Good foundation of numbers and talent.  Hopefully, they will develop quickly.  Simplified coaching scheme should be music to our ears given youth.

(Recruiting data from 247)


Patrick Kugler 4* (late blooming contributor)
Kyle Bosch 4*     (transfer)
David Dawson 4*  (grad transfer)
Chris Fox 4*      (medical)
Logan Tuley-Tillman 4* (booted)
Dan Samuelson 3* (transfer)


Mason Cole 4*  (NFL)
Juwann Bushell-Beatty 4*


Grant Newsome 4* (injury, possible medical)
Jon Runyan Jr. 3* 
Nolan Ulizio 3*   


Ben Bredeson 4*
Michael Onwenu 4*
Stephen Spannellis 3*


Cesar Ruiz 4*
Chuck Filiaga 4*
James Hudson 4* DT recruit
JaRaymond Hall 4* (transfer)
Andrew Stueber 3*
Joel Honigford 3*
Philip Paea 3* DT recruit


Jalen Mayfield 4*
Ryan Hayes 4*



June 14th, 2018 at 8:02 AM ^

Rest up, sleepy head.

Honestly I think about this way more than I should. If Newsome never gets injured our O-line issues are cured. Could 2016 ended differently than a 10-3? Maybe but I wont put that entirely on the O-line.

Last year we would have had a Newsome Bredeson Cole Onwenu ???? line. 

This year we would have Newsome Bredeson Ruiz Onwenu ???? line. Bring back 3 starters (possible 4 if the RT gets settled with JBB) and a future all american at center and the narrative this season would be all championship.

Just my opinion, like I said I put a lot of thought into this and would love to hear some feedback or someone tell me I'm wrong so I can start sleeping normal again. 


June 14th, 2018 at 6:10 AM ^

I remember that 2013 haul of Olinemen. It was heralded as one of the top or if not the top in the nation, and on paper, it was. Six highly ranked recruits.  The only one to still be around for a full career was Kugler, and he never came close to playing at the level most expected of him. Many thought he would be a 2-3 year starter and likely all Big Ten candidate by the end of his Michigan career.


June 14th, 2018 at 6:41 AM ^

What catches my eye the most here is that we have a 0% hit rate on 3 star prospects. Not being able to recruit at the highest level really shows up here. Without improvements in development (insert Warriner here) or significant improvements in recruiting (insert more wins here), preferrably both, we’ll be having the same conversation 3 years from now.  I like to think in our current situation the outlook is much better for development and in turn wins... so here’s to getting more 4-5 star tackles and less 6’2” corners.


June 14th, 2018 at 7:00 AM ^

This problem goes back further than this.  And, while of course wins and development help recruiting, the problem was more than recruiting & development.  There are plenty of schools that got better o-lines than UM with less recruiting stars and less heralded coaches.  So, there's also a fair bit of either bad luck and/or poor identification of talent.  However, a look at the offer sheets of these players would say it's more bad luck.  Guys like Dawson, Kugler, Kalis, LTT, Bosch were scouted fine because other big time programs wanted them.  So, there's gotta bit quite a bit of bad luck.  Statistics would say if you get the '13 haul every year you'll be just fine and their particular outcomes were the outlier.  But, we should be much better with the recruiting and coaching we have at the present by simply having a larger sample size over time and the numbers should eventually bear that out.  Also, coaching stability will help


June 14th, 2018 at 7:36 AM ^

Yeah, that's always been my take as well.  There have been coaching issues undoubtedly, but it seems like Michigan has also just had some bad luck in terms of recruiting these past couple of years, especially since they've gone through a couple of offensive line coaches in that time who weren't complete idiots.

Like a lot of things with this team, some of their injuries are self-inflicted but a bunch also just feel like aberrations that you hope correct themselves over a longer period of time.


June 14th, 2018 at 8:16 AM ^

I wouldn't call the hit rate "0% for 3* recruits."  By most accounts Runyan is in the driver's seat right now for RT and got playing time last year - starting for the first time as a RS JR is more or less on time for a program without a huge personnel hole on the OL.  He also is very athletic and has great measurables - if you recall he almost swept every category in last springs mock combine that the team posted.  Spanellis was the 6th OL last year and played most of the bowl game.  Ulizio started last year for the first 3 games.  The '17 guys it's pretty early to call them hits or misses.

OL is a group that routinely sends high 3*/low 4* guys to the NFL.  OL tend to stay in school longer (even top ranked OL are rarely 3 and dones) and have more development time, which puts their final output further away from recruiting rankings that are heavily influenced based on their junior year in HS.  It certainly wouldn't hurt to have higher ranked players but the hole from 2013, the small 2014 class and Newsome's injury are IMO a bigger factor in line struggles the last few years.



June 14th, 2018 at 8:36 AM ^

Your data on 3-star prospects (Samuelson, Runyan, and Ulizio) is very limited. Ulizio is the only one that can be counted against the current staff.

I think it's too early to conclude anything about Spanellis. Early returns are at least decent. The '17 guys haven't even seen the field.


June 14th, 2018 at 9:07 PM ^

Valid point, but Ulizio was very bad (even though he started) and I’d be fearful that Runyan can hold up.  He’s got all the “numbers” but hasn’t seen the field for a reason, our OLine was horrible last year but he couldn’t break through, I’m not optimistic.  I think with the current staff Spannellis and Stueber should be serviceable (theory based on number of mentions, without any evidence), but how good...?  They’re not 4.5-5 stars for a reason and that’s the gap between us and the elite programs right now.  Being Decent is not good enough to compete with the best.  Coach em up, win more games, get better recruits, start to consistently compete for titles.


June 14th, 2018 at 7:35 AM ^

I really shouldn’t have opened this to start my day :(

If you did the D line comparison, you would just be astonished at how night and day it mainly is. 


June 14th, 2018 at 9:29 AM ^

11 recruits from 2013 - 2015 has produced one NFL quality lineman (to date). It's not too far of a stretch to say that the complete whiff of the 2013 class put UM in a deep, deep hole. Those guys could have been anchoring all the way through 2016/2017.

Offensive line has been one of biggest areas holding this program back. However, they may finally have a toe hold on getting out of the muck.


June 14th, 2018 at 10:10 AM ^

I get the feeling that Funk then Drevno had a lot to do with this as well. Compare this period to OSU:


Evan Lisle 4*


Jamarco Jones 4*

Demetrius Knox 4*

Kyle Trout 4*

Brady Taylor 3*


Isaiah Price 4*

Matt Burrell 4*

Grant Schmidt 3*

Kevin Feder 3*

Branden Bowen 3*


Michael Jordan (NTMJ) 4*

Malcolm Pridgeon 4*

Tyler Gerald 4*

Gavin Cupp 3*

Jack Wohlabaugh 3*


Those classes don't seem all that dissimilar on paper, other than they recruited more players.


June 14th, 2018 at 10:42 AM ^

There is some young talent there to be sure. I'm confident that with Warinner simplifying the schemes we should be fine this year.

It is perplexing as to why JH was running both zone and gap concepts last year. Makes no sense at all to me. Major f up.

Warinner did fine with talent levels like UM's at OSU.

Perkis-Size Me

June 14th, 2018 at 12:43 PM ^

I don't mind that its part of his overall offensive strategy, but it certainly makes more sense to run when you've got juniors and seniors leading the way, guys who have been around the college game long enough (a la 2016), vs. freshmen and sophomores who are still trying to figure things out. When it's done right it can confuse the hell out of the opposing defense, as you don't really know what to prepare for. Harbaugh's last year at Stanford and best years in SF are a prime example of that.

Even this past season, I thought Harbaugh had a great gameplan against OSU. Guys were consistently open and in position to make plays, but either a third stringer in O'Korn couldn't get them the ball, or the receiver just couldn't hold onto it the few times that he did. We didn't lose because our receivers were consistently covered or because Nick Bosa bull rushed off the edge for five sacks. 

What I'd say is that there's nothing wrong with Harbaugh incorporating both zone and gap concepts into his gameplan. As long as his personnel are experienced enough to run it. If not, that's when you definitely need to simplify. 


June 14th, 2018 at 2:11 PM ^

Jeebus, only 8 recruited over 3 classes (2014-16)??? No wonder it has been subpar. You would need 100% hit rate for that to be even adequate. Let alone accounting for injury, transfer, lack of development.