Andrew Stueber and Jalen Mayfield have been neck-and-neck since the spring for Michigan Football’s starting right tackle job, but it appears the guy who gets the nod in the opener may be decided by default.
According to a report from 97.1 The Ticket’s Will Burchfield, Stueber suffered a knee injury in practice on Tuesday that will keep him out for at least the start of the season, citing a source close to the program. That would put Mayfield, a sophomore, in line to start the opener against Middle Tennessee State and potentially more.
Both 247Sports and The Athletic confirmed the early-afternoon news on Thursday before Michigan SID Dave Ablauf also confirmed it.
Stueber figured to be the slight leader in the clubhouse, though those close to the team have maintained that it has been a close competition because both have played well. At certain points this offseason, each guy has had moments where they have started to pull away from the other, but things would then level out. Some believe Mayfield was beginning to pull away recently.
If the reports come to pass, it seems Michigan is in a much better spot to absorb this than they were a few years ago with the depth and coaching improved along the offensive line. This would seem to chip away at that, but the rest of the line is rock solid assuming and hoping injuries do not pile up at some point.
Stueber has more experience, playing in all 13 games last year and starting the Ohio State game and Peach Bowl at the end of last season. He repped with the ones during Michigan’s open spring practices, as well.
Mayfield played in three games as a freshman last season at left tackle, but that is the extent of his experience to this point.