After this season, senior center Andrew Vastardis’ time will run out with the Michigan Wolverines. That is a big void to fill next season, and with there not being anyone immediately who jumps out as a replacement option — albeit there ARE options, but not a clear-cut candidate — Jim Harbaugh did what any good coach would do these days and set his sights on the transfer portal.
And now Michigan has its Vastardis replacement in Virginia grad transfer Olusegun Oluwatimi.
Coming out of high school at DeMatha Catholic in Hyattsville, Maryland, Oluwatimi was a two-star prospect and the No. 3,300 overall recruit in the 2017 class. He only had offers from Air Force and East Carolina.
Listed at 6-foot-3 and 310 pounds, Oluwatimi has had a great college career. He began at Air Force in 2017, but never played there. He sat out at Virginia during the 2018 season due to transfer rules. He hit the ground running in 2019, starting 13 of Virginia’s 14 games that year and did not allow a single sack or quarterback hit.
In the pandemic-shortened 2020 season, Oluwatimi started all 10 of the Cavalier’s games and allowed only one sacks all year. His 2021 season was even better, as he started all 12 games — so if you’re keeping track, that is 32 consecutive starts for him — and was ranked the second-best center in terms of run blocking, according to Pro Football Focus. He was among the finalists for the Rimington Trophy, which is awarded to the nation’s top center, ultimately losing out to Iowa’s Tyler Linderbaum.
This is an absolutely massive addition for the Wolverines. Losing a senior leader like Vastardis is never easy, but Oluwatimi’s addition not only helps them on the field immediately with his exceptional play, but also helps bridge the gap with the younger centers on the roster, like Greg Crippen and Raheem Anderson.
Since he is a grad transfer, he has just one year of eligibility remaining. He is immediately eligible to play.