Michigan Football Spring Preview: Offensive Line

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The last few seasons haven’t produced the greatest of offensive line units for Michigan, but a new coaching staff that favors physicality may have the Wolverines heading in a better direction up front.

Last Season

The offensive line last season got off to a slow start, but once conference play started, the unit came together and played better down the stretch. As a team, Michigan rushed for just under 2,000 yards, averaging a notch under 163 yards per game. This is a considerable improvement from the previous season, where they only rushed for 1,634 yards. An average of 3.3 yards per carry was also bumped up to 4.6. This is notable improvement considering the line lost both tackles to the NFL last year. Now they are under a brand new coaching staff, and under the direction of offensive line coach Tim Drevno and the head man Jim Harbaugh, look for the group to improve immensely.

New Faces

• Grant Newsome (a Rivals 4-star recruit)

• Jon Runyan Jr. (a Rivals 3-star recruit)

• Nolan Ulizio (a Rivals 2-star recruit)

Projected Depth Chart (2-deep)

Left Tackle
1st Team Logan Tuley-Tillman RS So. 6-foot-7, 309 lbs.
2nd Team Juwann Bushell-Beatty RS Fr. 6-foot-6, 319 lbs.

With the suspension to Graham Glasgow, Mason Cole has been the one taking reps at center. With Cole moving to center, Logan Tuley-Tillman has been tasked with manning the left tackle position. Tuley-Tillman has a lot of potential as a redshirt sophomore.

This is his second year on campus and with there being a lack of depth at tackle at the moment, Juwann Bushell-Beaty seems like a good fit at the second spot behind Tuley-Tillman. There is potential for him to come up in case of injury or ineffectiveness.

Left Guard
1st Team Kyle Kalis RS Jr. 6-foot-5, 292 lbs.
 2nd Team  Patrick Kugler  RS So. 6-foot-5, 297 lbs.

Kyle Kalis has played since his freshman year, so he will be expected to play more of a leadership role this year, seeing it is his third year on the team. He has put on more weight and can hopefully help anchor the middle of the line, no matter who lines up next to him at center.

Center
1st Team Mason Cole So. 6-foot-5, 287 lbs.
2nd Team Graham Glasgow RS Sr. 6-foot-6, 303 lbs.

Cole started every game last year, and you could tell he was starting to figure things out. He improved mightily from the Notre Dame game to the Ohio State game. With the suspension of Graham Glasgow, Cole has been put in at center for now. If/When Glasgow returns, Mason will probably be put back at left tackle.

Glasgow is a senior who was suspended from the team. He started last year, and this could be a big loss for the Wolverines if he is not able to go when they open up on the road against Utah on Sept. 3.

Right Guard
1st Team Erik Magnuson RS Jr. 6-foot-6, 296 lbs.
2nd Team David Dawson RS So. 6-foot-4, 309 lbs.

Magnuson played in some games his freshman year and was more involved last year. Now he is expected to be the day-one starter at right guard. Expect to see him pick up more of a leadership role.

Another player in his second year who has the potential to make an impact if the situation occurs is Dave Dawson.

Right Tackle
1st Team Ben Braden RS Jr. 6-foot-6, 331 lbs.
2nd Team Grant Newsome Fr. 6-foot-7, 280 lbs.

Ben Braden is coming into his third year at Michigan. He started last year and made some improvements to his game. He is expected to lead the right side, along with Magnuson, and create some holes for the ground game in a new offensive scheme.

With the lack of depth at the tackle position, Grant Newsome has the size to fit in at right tackle. Being a four-star recruit, Newsome seems likes the easy choice to put behind Braden at right tackle.

Player To Watch: Mason Cole

The player who will have the biggest impact on the offensive line is without a doubt going to be Mason Cole. Now only a true sophomore, he started every game last year and improved each week. He is getting bigger and better, and along with the new coaching staff that will demand toughness and excellence, I believe Cole will step up and become one of the great Michigan offensive linemen. Both Tim Drevno and Jim Harbaugh are going to need him to play at a grander level next year. If he does, Michigan can establish a ground game, which will open up the passing attack. The game is won in the trenches, and Cole is going to have to lead the charge for Michigan to win that battle.

Position Grade: B+

Derek Devine
Institutional voice of Alma College during the day, Michigan fanatic at night. Taking TBHR to the next level one post at a time.