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47 Days Until Michigan Football

Michigan football is just around the corner.

Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Redshirt Sophomore Ben Braden, Offensive Line

Number: 71

Hometown: Rockford HS; Rockford, MI

Height/Weight: 6'6 319 lbs.

Three Things To Know About Ben

1. When you talk about putting a lineman on skates, it is normally said in a pejorative way.  Not so with big Ben Braden, who's first love in sports was hockey.  It wasn't an unrequited love either, as Ben was quite the accomplished hockey player as a youth, and played at the front of the attack on either the wing or at center.  I cannot imagine taking a check from a 300 lbs tackle on skates, but I guess we all have to meet our maker some time.

2. Ben was also a harbinger of Michigan's 2013 offensive line situation, although we didn't know it at the time.  The youngster was coming off a redshirt and was heavily involved in the playing time discussion on the interior line last spring.  Then, sometime in fall camp the chatter stopped.  Braden was moved back to tackle and Michigan settled on its first of many iterations of its line.  Sudden changes in who is on track to start a couple weeks before the season are usually bad.

3.  This year Braden will be focusing on tackle — which happens to be a huge need for Michigan now that it has to replace two NFL quality tackles.  While it is widely believed that Erik Magnuson has the inside track to the starting left tackle job, Braden should be in the discussion on the right side of the line.