The Michigan Wolverines are currently enjoying a ton of depth across the offensive line, and that talent should not be drying up anytime soon. With multiple projected starters exhausting their time in Ann Arbor after the 2022 season, the opportunity for the next wave to players will soon be here.
Near the top of this group would be Giovanni El-Hadi, a big in-state prospect who expects to be a significant part of the future. While playing time might still be tough to come by this fall, there could be some unforeseen surprises in store, so having the redshirt freshman waiting in the wings is an important asset. At the latest, the Sterling Heights native should be a factor in 2023.
The story so far
El-Hadi ranked 88th-overall in the 2021 recruiting class, the 11th-best offensive tackle per the 247Sports composite. Though he was evaluated as a tackle, like many top linemen recruits, he is certainly capable of moving inside to guard should the need be greatest there. While not an indication of his future by any means, his one appearance in 2021 did come at left guard, though that was in a garbage time situation.
Given the number of experienced options ahead of him, Michigan had no need to rush him onto the field last year. His lone appearance last season — in the blowout of Northern Illinois — preserved El-Hadi’s redshirt status. He has slightly more open, but still uphill path to playing time this season, but keeping four years of eligibility is key.
Truthfully, there is not a ton new to report on El-Hadi. His weight is now listed at 315 pounds as he has benefitted from a year and a half on campus, both in the weight room and on the practice filed. Given this seasoning and an extensive high school experience, there is a baseline level of confidence should his number need to be called this fall.
Outlook moving forward
2022 is likely another waiting year, but El-Hadi should be a multi-year starter when it is all said and done. This was a top-100 recruit with a pretty defined skill set, and it will not be long before the Wolverines see him step into the first team. With Ryan Hayes, Trevor Keegan, Trente Jones and Karsen Barnhart all nearing the end of their careers, there will be some new faces up front next year.
For El-Hadi, the hope would be one of the tackle spots. At this moment, there is probably no clear leader for left tackle in 2023, though that is all very subject to change. He has the size and quickness needed to excel at the position, and Michigan recruited him with the vision of being a foundational piece along the line. The team has had the luxury of waiting a couple years for that to play out, but that is due to the roster construction, not a concern regarding his abilities.
How quickly El-Hadi gets off the bench this season will be a big indicator of where he stands relative his peers. The number of snaps he sees this fall is not a big deal, but getting onto the field ahead of others is. Given his pedigree and readiness coming into college, the expectation is the El-Hadi should be one of the top reserve options, and should that be the case, it will be all systems go a year from now.