The Michigan Wolverines' offensive line was the most dominant in college football last season, and there is no reason for that expectation to change in 2023.
The back-to-back Joe Moore Award-winning offensive line has re-tooled in some areas, but right guard Zak Zinter has been a constant across both.
The story so far
Zinter was a four-star recruit on the 247Sports composite and the No. 265 player in the class of 2020. He was the prototypical build of a Michigan offensive line recruit — 6-foot-6 and 300 pounds out of high school. He boasted offers from academically prestigious schools like Dartmouth, Harvard, and Yale, but got the best of both worlds at Michigan when he committed in July 2019.
He was an immediate impact player, starting four games at right guard in the COVID-shortened 2020 season. Several injuries/illnesses presented an opportunity for him to get some valuable experience right out the gate.
But he became a much better player between that season and his sophomore year in 2021. Jim Harbaugh wasn’t sure what the offensive line would look like for a starting unit, but he assured Zinter was one of the guys on it. Michigan loved his versatility, as Harbaugh mentioned that preseason Zinter could play guard, tackle or even center. However, he stayed at right guard, made 12 starts and earned an All-Big Ten second-team honor from the media as a part of their first Joe Moore Award-winning line.
In 2022, he continued to impress next to Rimington winner Olu Oluwatimi, creating massive holes for Blake Corum and Donovan Edwards. Then, he also performed well in pass pro:
Zinter was a consensus first-team All-Big Ten selection after starting all 14 games and was an Academic All-American.
Outlook for 2023
Continued domination is expected from Zinter. That’s all he has done the last two seasons. Without Oluwatimi, Michigan will need him to step up and potentially be the best lineman on the team.
If he is healthy and continues to put up the reps we have seen from him the last two years, this offensive line is going to be great once again. There is a chance he is the best guard in the country if he continues to develop the way he has so far.
I suspect Zinter will continue to be a veteran leader in the locker room and show guys like LaDarius Hamilton and Drake Nugent the ropes as they come from the portal to suspected starting roles.