Name: Erik Magnuson
Weight: 296 lbs.
High school: Carlsbad (CA) La Costa Canyon
Position: Offensive tackle
Class: Redshirt junior
Jersey number: #78
Last year: I ranked Magnuson #4 and said he would be the starting left guard. He started five games at offensive guard.
I have had as difficult of a time pinning down Magnuson as I have anyone during these countdowns, I think. He was brought in with the goal of playing him as a left tackle, and he has played almost anything but that. I pegged him as Michigan’s starting left guard last season, but that was mostly the job of Graham Glasgow. The right tackle was Ben Braden, who struggles in pass protection, which is a stronger suit for Magnuson. The left tackle was Mason Cole, a true freshman who looked like a guard coming out of high school. After being squeezed out of the offensive line, Brady Hoke dressed him up as a tight end with a #81 jersey and let him play in heavy packages late in the season.
This year I think the picture is a little clearer. Glasgow is needed at center now that Jack Miller quit football, so that opens up a spot at left guard. Magnuson has been waiting in the wings for a couple seasons, starting roughly half the games over that span. I don’t see a lot of weaknesses in Magnuson’s game, but obviously Hoke’s staff disagreed somewhat. Interior players pushing from behind are redshirt sophomore guard David Dawson and redshirt sophomore center Patrick Kugler, who could potentially push Glasgow back to guard with a good camp. However, the lineup is expected to remain the same as in the spring, and I am significantly more confident in Magnuson at this point than either Dawson or Kugler. With a new offensive line coach in Tim Drevno, Magnuson and the rest of the line should take a step forward.
Prediction: Starting right tackle