There are several young, talented, but inexperienced offensive linemen waiting in the wings in Ann Arbor right now. Some of them have had some decent playing time, but some of them still haven’t had much opportunity to see the field.
Trente Jones falls into the latter category. His talent and potential is undeniable, but there have been hurdles for Jones to clear, and he still has some to clear before he is able to consistently see the field. Let’s take a look at how Jones found his way to Ann Arbor, and what challenges he will face this fall.
The story so far
A four-star and near top 100 player overall in the class of 2019, Jones committed to Michigan in Feb. 2018. He held offers from some of college football’s best, and stayed true to his commitment throughout the cycle. He was a member of the Under Armour All-America team and was dominate along the right side of the offensive line at Grayson High School in Loganville, Georgia.
Much like most offensive linemen, Jones did not see any playing time his true freshman year in 2019, but did get to play right tackle in mop-up duty against Minnesota in 2020.
But that was his only game action so far up to this point in his Michigan career. It’s not that Jones doesn’t have the chops to play consistently on Michigan’s offensive line; it’s just a matter of being behind older guys. Jalen Mayfield was Michigan’s best right tackle in quite some time. Andrew Stueber has also had a say in the right tackle job, so Jones has always faced stiff competition when it came to the position.
Outlook for 2021
Jones is set for a reserve role yet again this season, as the fifth-year senior Stueber is set to take over at right tackle now that Mayfield has moved onto the NFL. Harbaugh went as far to call Stueber one of the three linemen who have locked into a starting role, along with sophomore Zak Zinter and redshirt junior Ryan Hayes.
With Willie Allen transferring away from the Michigan football program this offseason, I suspect both Stueber and Jones were ahead of him on the depth chart. With that in mind, I expect Jones to get even more playing time in 2021, as long as he plays with more consistency in practice, as former offensive line coach Ed Warinner mentioned was an issue of his last fall.
The sky is truly the limit for Jones, so hopefully he can put it together a bit more this season and be prepared for the starting job in 2022.