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Chuck Filiaga should be ready to step right into the starting lineup

This is a prime opportunity for the redshirt junior to get in on the action.

NCAA Football: Outback Bowl-Michigan vs South Carolina Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

There are many uncertainties surrounding college football right now. The 2020 season is still in jeopardy, and even if a season does occur it might do so with empty stadiums or a limited schedule. Still, it is never too early to take a look at the Michigan depth chart and the players slated to contribute whenever football does resume. Join us as we comb through the roster and answer key questions heading into this fall.

Chuck Filiaga, RS JR

247 Composite Ranking: 4 stars (OT 13, Overall 112)
2019 Stats: 12 games played (LG, RG)

There will be new starters for Michigan at each place along the interior of the offensive line, but that does not mean the faces will necessarily be all that foreign. A few upperclassmen have bided their time and seen some playing time here and there, and this could be their chance to take a big step forward. Among them is Chuck Filiaga, a fourth-year player who looks geared to go.

Filiaga has appeared in over 20 games, with seven of them exhibiting snaps at left guard. He is a logical choice to fill in at the vacancy left by Ben Bredeson and boasts more experience than any of his competitors. Still, the Wolverines have brought in plenty of young talent at the guard position, so nothing is a foregone conclusion. Filigia should have the early advantage, but pecking orders can change quickly.

Is Filiaga Michigan’s best option as one of the starting guards?

Coming out of high school, Filiaga was a highly touted recruit. He ended as a four-star prospect just outside the top 100 in his class, and he started out as a tackle. After a redshirt year he kicked inside, and that is where essentially all of his playing time has come. Given the options Michigan currently has at tackle — and lack of certainties at guard — his role is now set in stone.

Filiaga has a huge frame and at 341 pounds is a noticeable beast. His strength is obvious and he brings a tenacity needed from the position, and his recruiting pedigree speaks to a player that can compete and succeed at a pretty high level. His switch from tackle should not be seen as a negative; his skill set is a better fit at guard and his rawness coming into college left a lot of room for molding.

Like classmate Joel Honigford, there is always reason to question why a player entering his fourth year has not seen more playing time. For Filiaga, the answer probably lies in the less physical aspects of the position and more in the technique. He still needs some refinement in pass protection and has yet to show the consistency needed to garner complete trust. Now that the role is open, the hope is that he can put everything together and finally function as a quality starter.

Whoever steps into left guard is not going to completely replace Bredeson, but that is not the expectation for someone like Filiaga. A player with his build and power can be a great force along the interior of the line and should be able to help bridge the gap as the position group undergoes some substantial changes. Should his development not seem up to the task, there are plenty of younger options the coaches can choose to deploy. However, my guess is that Filiaga will get the first crack at it because of his experience.