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Three of Michigan’s five starting offensive linemen already decided

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Two spots are up for grabs.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 21 Michigan at Rutgers Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Michigan Wolverines have a lot to figure out before the 2021 season, but spring football provided a few offensive answers. Cade McNamara is set for the starting quarterback job and Hassan Haskins and Blake Corum will lead the rushing attack. Now, it appears we have a bit of clarity on who could fill out the starting offensive line.

Head coach Jim Harbaugh spoke on Jon Jansen’s “In The Trenches” podcast last week and revealed that Ryan Hayes, Andrew Stueber and Zak Zinter are three players the staff knows will take on starting duties.

“Very good players,” Harbaugh said on the podcast. “They put an exclamation mark on that in spring. I’d call them three solid starters in the top five.”

Hayes projects to be Michigan’s left tackle, while Stueber spent spring football taking reps at right tackle. He has played guard in the past, so that remains a possibility for him. Zinter was one of the breakout players of the spring and has been mentioned as an option at either center or guard.

“There’s just a battle going on to get to the five best,” Harbaugh said. “And that’s going to continue post-spring. It’s going on now, it’s going to continue through the summer and also into fall camp.”

Everything else is up for grabs.

That leaves Karsen Barnhart, Trente Jones, Chuck Filiaga, Nolan Rumler, Trevor Keegan, Andrew Vastardis and Reece Atteberry as players likely next in line to fill out the final two slots. True freshmen Greg Crippen, Raheem Anderson, Giovanni El-Hadi and Tristan Bounds may have something to say about it, too.

Michigan has the flexibility to choose its best five regardless of position, but having several names in the mix does not necessarily make it a strength. Chemistry is equally as important as the talent on the offensive line and the sooner they can get the best five playing together, the better it will be for the state of the offense.

The offensive line will have new leadership this season with Sherrone Moore moving from tight ends to coach the group. He also holds the title of co-offensive coordinator with Josh Gattis. There is a lot more on everyone’s plate heading into this year and we will have to wait and see how Moore impacts the group in his first year in a new role.