Matthew Emmons-US PRESSWIRE
Michigan picked up yet another elite guard prospect in Mason Cole. How long will it be until he contributes, and how much potential does he have?
(Hudl highlights are more comprehensive)
The offensive line has been an area of emphasis for the Michigan staff in the past two years, and the staff's effort to recruit a large number of solid maulers has given them the opportunity to go after only a handful of elite lineman in this class. The Wolverines were in early on Mason Cole, who was identified as one of the best lineman in the class of 2014 a long time ago.
It became clear that Michigan was one of the teams to beat when Cole visited Michigan multiple times in 2012. He visited again this February and was expected to commit during the visit; that commitment never came, but he still had a great time:
Michigan fans didn't panic, however, as Cole went on to pull the trigger the very next day:
Cole had Michigan on top for months, so it was only a matter of time before he went blue. He turned down offers from Alabama, Clemson, Florida, Florida State, Georgia, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Stanford, USC and a host of other elite schools for the chance to go blue. He's a consensus four-star player.
What does he bring to the table? Currently standing at 6'5", 275, Cole is a fleet-footed high school tackle who projects to guard: he doesn't have the reach to be a blind side tackle at the next level.
Cole moves his feet well and shows great balance for a young man his size, but he still has strides to make in terms of technique. Touch the Banner gives us some insight on Cole's weaknesses:
Telegraphs run vs. pass by stance . . . Needs to be quicker off the ball . . . Inconsistent footwork in pass protection . . . Shows a good kick set at times, but sometimes opens up hips too quickly . . . Needs to be more consistently aggressive in run game . . . Lacks ideal length to play tackle at next level
Cole has some work to do in the technical areas of the game, but this is to be expected with any offensive lineman regardless of rank. He also has to put on another thirty pounds of weight before he's ready to take on 310-pound defensive tackles, but Michigan has plenty enough depth inside to allow him multiple years of weight room work.
Don't expect to see Cole on the field until he's a redshirt sophomore or later. Michigan has Kyle Kalis, Blake Bars, Kyle Bosch, Dan Samuelson and David Dawson all ready to take snaps; Kalis, Bosch and Dawson were all highly-ranked guards as well, so the competition is fierce. By the time Cole sees the field he'll be over 300 pounds and much more trained in the technical areas of blocking, and Michigan will probably be a force on the ground with him pulling through holes. The future is bright.