Freshpectations for 2016: Offensive Line

At one point during the 2016 recruiting cycle, Michigan looked like they were going to bring in one of the best offensive line hauls in the class. And then the craziness started. UM missed on top target Jean Delance, moved on from longtime commit Erik Swenson and lost Devery Hamilton to Stanford. Luckily, the staff was still able to sign three big, physical lineman that should be able to compete earlier on in their career for playing time.

That list includes Ben Bredeson, Michael Onwenu and Stephen Spanellis.

Bredeson

MGoFish Scouting Report

Bredeson is a big, physical, versatile offensive lineman that has the chance to star at any position along the line at the next level. With Coach Drevno teaching him and Harbaugh’s pro-style, power offense, he has the chance to be a very, very good lineman in the Maize and Blue.

Scout.com’s Scouting Report 

Outstanding overall prospect with good technique and ability to bend. Has good flexibility in his lower body and has no issue winning leverage battles even against shorter defensive linemen. Plays with a mean streak and finishes his blocks strong. Can still polish up his pass pro, and add more strength up top, but has all the tools and the intangibles to develop into a top flight college lineman. Could play tackle or guard as well.

Highlights 

Onwenu

MGoFish Scouting Report

Onwenu is a monster lineman that has the athleticism and beyond elite size to be a dominant player on either side of the ball. However, he’s expected to stay on the offensive side of the ball and become that road grater at offensive guard that Harbaugh’s pro-style offense needs.

Scout.com’s Scouting Report 

Big, powerful mauler who looks like he’s just a road grader, but has shown at camps that he may actually be a better pass blocker at this point in his career. Naturally strong and wins when he gets his hands on defensive linemen. Would like to see him play at a little lower weight, which would improve overall quickness and mobility, but he bends well, plays with a great base and is technically sound. Could play guard or center in college.

Highlights 

Spanellis 

MGoFish Scouting Report

Spanellis is a big, physical, old school offensive lineman that may not have the elite athleticism to play the tackle position at the collegiate level. It’s unknown where he will play during his time at Michigan but he may be a better fit on the inside at the guard position thanks to his power, size and drive though it’s likely UM sees him at tackle at this point.

Scout.com’s (via Brian Dohn) Scouting Report 

Spanellis’ strength shows in his initial punch, which can be jarring and speaks to his balance. He is aggressive and finishes blocks, but he needs to improve his footwork so he can stay on a block better. He comes out of his stance quickly, but he needs to lighten his feet and drive his legs more in run blocking. He uses his strength and initial punch in pass blocking but needs to improve later quickness.

Highlights 

Michigan’s 2016 Depth Chart Prediction

1st Team

  • LT: #77 Grant Newsome, SO
  • LG: #71 Ben Braden, 5th
  • C: #57 Patrick Kugler, SR*
  • RG: #78 Erik Magnuson, 5th
  • RT: #52 Mason Cole, JR

2nd Team

  • LT: Ben Bredeson, FR
  • LG: #55 David Dawson, SR*
  • C: #52 Mason Cole, JR
  • RG: #67 Kyle Kalis, 5th
  • RT: #71 Ben Braden, 5th

3rd Team

  • LT: #62 Blake Bars, 5th
  • LG: Michael Onwenu, FR
  • C: #75 Jon Runyan Jr, SO*
  • RG: #70 Nolan Ulizio, SO*/Stephen Spanellis, FR
  • RT: #76 Juwann Bushell-Beatty, JR*

Freshmen Year Expectations

Michigan’s offensive line play improved in Drevno and Harbaugh’s first year but it needs to be better for UM to really contend for a National Championship. The talent is there but a lot of it still needs to be developed. So, some of these freshmen may have a chance to see the field this fall, similar to Grant Newsome in 2015.

  • Bredeson is the most well-rounded, polished lineman in the haul and, if he comes in at the right size/strength, should have a shot to play early as a backup tackle. It also helps that UM is badly lacking depth at the position.
  • Onwenu has the size to play early but may need to cut some baby fat like most freshmen in order to be in game shape at the college level. If he hits the weight room, I wouldn’t rule out him playing his freshmen year with the questions at guard and center. Though I’m expecting him to redshirt.
  • As for Spanellis, he also has the size and power to play right away but is the most likely to redshirt. Like Onwenu, he could use some time getting into better shape and learning under Drevno.

What are your freshpectations for Michigan’s incoming offensive line signees? Add your thoughts below in the comment section! 

Photo Credit: Scout.com