Michigan fans haven’t had to think too much about 2019 recruiting just yet, but Michigan has laid the foundations for a successful class with 116 offers so far and - now - two commitments. Four-star linebacker Charles Thomas was the first, and four-star lineman Nolan Rumler is the second.
Rumler is the higher-rated of the two, coming in as the #142 player in the country and the 5th-best player in Ohio. (Hey, Urban Meyer!) He will be an exciting impact player on the offensive line for U of M.
A lot of people will talk about Rumler as an offensive tackle, but in my humble opinion, we’ve gotten a little carried away talking about the tackle-ability of guys who are projected better as guards. Ben Bredeson and Jon Runyan are examples of that among guys who are already on campus, and Rumler is a type who - while very athletic and mobile and blessed with good footwork - is simply a train moving downhill who loves to knock people on their bottom, and being at guard is the best place for him to do that.
Rumler also has the frame of a guard at the next level. He’s currently listed at 6’4”, 290, and while it’s not an impossible to overcome rule that great tackles can’t be as short as 6’4” or bigger than 315 pounds (I’m projecting his weight a little bit to account for college conditioning), I do think Michigan has added a number of pure tackle prospects in the last couple classes like Ryan Hayes, Jalen Mayfield, Joel Honigford, and JaRaymond Hall, plus other prospects who can thrive at tackle or guard like Andrew Stueber and Chuck Filiaga. Michigan will be getting more athletic across the board and heavier across the board, but in this case, I think it’s safe to say that Rumler is destined for the interior.
Once he gets there, he should be very successful. Rarely does a high school kid’s sophomore film show a player of Rumler’s caliber, able to dominate guys older than them with such ease. Rumler has great get-off at the snap (good for pulls and other creative run calls), good technique and a lot of strength. His footwork gets the job done, mainly thanks to his overall athleticism, but as I’ve said before I don’t think he’ll end up as a guy you want going up against an elite pass rusher.
I absolutely love his tenacity though, and he shows a good work ethic and the ability to make an impact on multiple guys on any given play. He loves using his hands to knock guys down even when he’s just trying to protect the quarterback.
We’ll see what this means for the rest of Michigan’s class, but Michigan’s off to a perfect start - getting an enthusiastic first commit, Charles Thomas, who’s working as a recruiter for Michigan among his peers, and now a stud interior lineman who’s already looking like a difference-maker at the next level. Championship teams are built with guys like Rumler, and Michigan plucked him from Urban Meyer’s backyard. Well done, Harbaugh & company.