The Michigan Wolverines spent the offseason trying to figure out who their best five offensive linemen will be. This battle played itself out during spring football and will surely continue into fall camp.
One of the names that will certainly be in the mix for one of those starting five spots is sixth-year senior Andrew Vastardis. He decided to take advantage of the free COVID year for one last ride at Michigan.
The story so far
The Ashburn, Virginia native was a four-year letterman at Stone Bridge High School and helped lead his team to two state championship appearances. He was a National AP Scholar and a member of the National Honor Society. Recruiting-wise, he was considered a two-star prospect by Scout.com and also lettered in baseball and basketball in high school.
Vastardis was not a name on many people’s radar until a few seasons ago. He joined the Michigan football program as a walk-on in 2016 and was the team’s offensive player of the week on the scout team after Michigan’s win over Colorado. He appeared in two games as a backup offensive lineman and special teamer in 2017, which allowed him to earn his first varsity letter at Michigan.
The 2018 season saw him get action in six games on offense and special teams. Most of his reps came as a backup center, but he also played right guard. A frequent presence on the scout team that allowed him to work his way up the depth chart earned him a scholarship ahead of the 2019 season. That year, he played in five games and was one of Michigan’s top offensive line reserves.
The 2020 season, his fifth at Michigan, was when an opportunity became open to him to be a more significant contributor. Referred to as a “Mack truck” during the leadup to the season, Vastardis was named a team captain and won the battle for the starting center job and anchored the offensive line in all four games he played last season. Injuries kept him out of two games as the line shuffled as a unit throughout the year.
Outlook for 2021
Vastardis elected to use the paused eligibility for the 2020 season as a reason to come back to Michigan for one more year as he wraps up his Master's Degree. Despite being a captain, there is reason to believe that he might still have his work cut out for him in cracking the starting five.
Michigan looks like it has the potential to go 8-9 deep on the offensive line, but still is working to find out who fits in where. There has been a considerable amount of buzz that Zak Zinter has impressed at center and might be his best spot, so we will have to wait and see. Vastardis has proven to be a key reserve in his previous five seasons with the program, so Michigan could do much worse there if he does wind up being a depth piece again. He could wind up being a capable starter, but there are still some things to sort out.
Vastardis filled a much-needed spot last season, but everything not filled by Ryan Hayes and Andrew Steuber is up for grabs right now. He is but a piece in a big puzzle that is still being put together.