At this very moment, Michigan coach Brady Hoke and offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier are refining the 2014 game plan...
..And straightening out the O-Line is of high regard.
That being said, due to a horrid 2013, the front must redeem itself. Devin Gardner, the quarterback who suffered through Team 134's lapses in protection, would likely appreciate a little extra effort this fall.
Another 34-sack season would be devastating. Establishing a core group of starters and developing a solid rotation is necessary, and Team 135's O-Line will be a hot topic of discussion throughout spring practice.
However, the recruiting machine never sleeps--taking a look at next year's haul would only be appropriate. After all, you have to know about the guys who'll mesh with this year's guys down the road, right?!
Starting with commits, the upsides, downsides and other sides of the top 2015 O-Liners will be broken down into easily digestible pieces.
This is the easy part.
So far, Hoke has one OL pledge, and that's Jon Runyan, Jr., son of you know who...
The following is a quick run-down of The Second Coming of Runyan:
- School: St. Joseph's (Philadelphia)
- Height: 6'4"
- Weight: 250 pounds
- Rank: 3-star recruit (No. 51 OT, No. 10 overall in Penn., per 247Sports)
The Hoke-era star-gazing mindset must change.
Getting athletes who want to play is the name of the game, and Runyan, Jr. is such a player.
After committing, he spoke with Matt Pargoff of Maize and Blue News, expressing admiration for O-Line coach Darrell Funk, Hoke, the Michigan program and, of course, the desire to continue a father-son tradition.
Upside: He's Runyan's kid. Effort shouldn't be an issue. Pennsylvania is known for high-level prep football, so that's an obvious helper.
Also, the fact that he's the No. 51-ranked OT of his class should bring about a certain humility--don't expect this kid to run around using the "I'm a legacy" line.
He'll earn his keep. He comes from good stock.
"I'd say it's kinda both cool and intimidating," he replied when asked about his Michigan lineage, per Tim Sullivan of TheWolverine.com (subscription required to view).
See. He understands the big picture.
Downside: Size; at 250 pounds, he could stand to pack on some bulk.
Rapid maturation--or even steady progress--of OL recruits during the Hoke regime has been nonexistent. Well, not really "nonexistent," but the Wolverines aren't fielding an imposing front line. Integrating an undersized lineman into Big Ten play gets tricky.
He could be a candidate for a redshirt.
A quick glance at 247Sports' offers list shows 10 invitations to OTs, but don't pay that any mind--they're not all going to play the position. And besides that, we're going to look at the Big 3, which will undoubtedly change in the coming months.
Consider this a watch list.
Mitch Hyatt OT North Gwinett HS Junior Highlights C/o 2015 (via UFalumni11)
- School: North Gwinnett (Georgia)
- Height: 6'6"
- Weight: 271 pounds
- Rank: 5-star (No. 1 OT, No. 3 overall, No. 1 in Georgia).
Upside: He's big.
Downside: He's committed to Clemson.
Hyatt is a wish-lister. Nussmeier can recruit, so a flip could be in the future. It'll take a lot of convincing to get the Prize of Georgia to change his mind.
- School: Baldwin (Pittsburgh)
- Height: 6'8"
- Weight: 308 pounds
- Ranking: 4-stars (No. 9 OT, No. 86 overall, No. 2 in Penn.)
Upside: Taylor Lewan-size, and he has "warmer "interest in Michigan.
Downside: Al Borges helped recruit Jenkins. But this could also be an upside--if Borges was able to establish a relationship, it's safe to assume that Nussmeier could do the same.
Borges was a great recruiter. Nuss has big shoes to fill in that regard.
- School: Memphis University School (Memphis)
- Height: 6'5"
- Weight: 315 pounds
- Ranking: 4-stars (No. 15 OT, No. 118 overall, No. 4 in Tennessee)
Upside: Are you noticing a theme? Richmond is a giant.
Downside: He's probably going Rocky Top.
Follow Maize 'N Brew's Adam Biggers on Twitter @AdamBiggers81