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With long-time UM commit David Dawson gone from the fold, where will Michigan look next to fill the hole?
After a tumultuous, and at times tenuous, commitment to Michigan since February of this year, Cass Tech OL David Dawson has had his scholarship from the school yanked as he continues to speak of his desire to visit elsewhere. He'll be making an official visit to Florida in the coming weeks, and the rumors have it that he'll be a Gator before long. The question then stands, who will take Dawson's coveted spot in the 2013 class? Will the coaching staff try to fill it with another lineman? If so, where do they look?
To me, the idea of bringing in another lineman isn't as critical as it seems to for others. While there are still 3 and a half months until signing day, Michigan will doubtlessly be playing catch-up for whichever recruit they choose to pursue, unless it's a late riser. There are a couple of mid-west kids that are committed elsewhere that might have ended up in the class had Michigan not finished off recruiting offensive linemen in mid-March. Among them, the most highly touted of the group is IL OL Ethan Pocic. Pocic committed to LSU in May over presumed favorite Ohio State. Unless Pocic, like OL Kyle Bosch, was harboring a well disguised love for Michigan that will be re-ignited should Hoke and company swoop down to Lemont again, he seems to be the closest thing a verbal commitment can be to a done deal. He was a quiet kid who went through his recruitment fairly meticulously, and plans to enroll early at LSU in the winter. Don't count on him.
Another currently committed player people seem to throw out is IL OL Colin McGovern, who is currently planning on playing for the Fighting Irish. While he seemed much more open about his love for Michigan than Pocic, he has now been committed since the end of March. I would also consider McGovern a long-shot to suddenly jump ship, especially considering the season that Notre Dame is putting together. Two current commits that may be a bit more realistic are Wisconsin commit Matt Miller (brother of UM Center Jack) and Miami commit Alex Gall. Miller showed interest in the maize and blue, but at 260 pounds, he doesn't have the size Hoke and Funk covet in their big uglies. It's my opinion that Jack Miller would likely never have been recruited to Michigan under Hoke. Gall is a bit more intriguing. At 6'5, 300 pounds, he certainly looks the part of a Michigan O-Lineman. While I'm not a huge fan of Gall's upside, you could certainly do worse if desperate for numbers. He attends the same school as MSU commit Shane Jones and freshman Monty Madaris, both of whom were courted by Michigan at one point.
As far as uncommited prospects go, the pickings are equally slim. The only uncommitted O-Lineman holding a Michigan offer is FL OT Laremy Tunsil, who has long since ruled out the Wolverines. Two interesting regional guys are IN OL Dwayne Brown and OH OL Lovell Peterson. Both look better on film than their offer list would suggest, but there are a couple of question marks surrounding them. For Peterson, it's academics. On top of that, he's only been playing on the defensive side of the ball this year. Brown has the size to play D1 football, but I think he's a little slow off the ball. If Michigan wants numbers, they could see their names come up in the discussion.
However, I'd contend that Michigan doesn't truly need another lineman in the class. If they can hold onto the four they have now, that will be 8 guys in 2 years, giving Michigan 12 recruited linemen on the roster next year, plus Gunderson and Burzynski (assuming Lewan and Schofield stick around. Schofield almost certainly will). With that in mind, it's my opinion that Michigan will use his scholarship in a 'best available' capacity. CA DE Joe Mathis, FL DB Leon McQuay, IL WR LaQuon Treadwell, and VA RB Derrick Green are all players that could see an extra spot open up for them, although Treadwell and Green both appear to have guaranteed spots in the class, should they choose to take them. If Michigan strikes out with the above players, they may choose to grab another sleeper, ala Willie Henry or Frank Clark.
The onus of O-Line recruiting (if you can call it that -- 8 OL in 2 years doesn't leave many concerns for me -- will then fall on the 2014 class, where Michigan will try to add 3-4 players to guard against attrition and shore up depth. Michigan already seems to be in a strong position with four OTs; MI OL Tommy Doles, TN OL Alex Bars (brother of Blake), IL OL Denzel Ward (who received an offer this past weekend), and NY OT Jay Hayes. They would also appear to be squarely in the running for a number of other offered linemen like IL OL Jamarco Jones, MD OL Damian Prince, and KS OL Braden Smith. With Schofield and Lewan being the only recruited linemen to see their eligibility expire after next season, a premium will be placed on tackles. In my opinion, landing an OT, a versatile swingman, and 1-2 interior OL will be a success.