2011 Countdown: #67 Erik Gunderson

2011 Countdown: #67 Erik Gunderson

June 25, 2011
Erik Gunderson (#69)

Name: Erik Gunderson
Height: 6’8″
Weight: 298 lbs.
High school: Milan High School in Milan, MI
Position: Offensive tackle
Class: Redshirt sophomore
Jersey number: #69
Last year: I did not rank Gunderson.  He didn’t play in any games.

Gunderson was one of those kids who created a wee bit of buzz when he chose to attend Michigan and become a walk-on.  Those things happen when you come out of high school standing 6’8″ and weighing 338 lbs.  But many assumed that he would be too stiff to play at this level and he would spend a few years standing on the sidelines, blocking the view of fans sitting in the first row.

But Rich Rodriguez was the coach and he criminally under-recruited various positions, including offensive linemen the past couple years.  By default Gunderson might be the #4 offensive tackle for the upcoming season, and he actually acquitted himself well this past spring.  He could be an emergency option in case of injury, and he has an outside chance to push for playing time in the next few years.  However, I have to think that if an injury bug hit the offensive tackles ahead of him for any length of time, somebody like Patrick Omameh would probably slide from guard to tackle to fill the gap.

Prediction: Backup offensive tackle


  1. Comments: 21384
    Jun 25, 2011 at 7:57 PM

    What does it (d'oh) say about RichRod's recruiting that Gunderson comes in a few slots ahead of several "real" recruits.

    I realize those years were a mixed bag, but I think history is going to judge much of the '09 class harshly.

  2. Comments: 21384
    Jun 25, 2011 at 9:38 PM

    I've been beating the drum of OL need as loudly as anyone, but I have to defend Rodriguez a little here.

    When the need was severe in '08, Rodriguez landed 6 OL. While Carr did the groundwork on some of those, Rodriguez went out and found a stud in Omameh out of nowhere, and added the highest regarded player (Barnum) very late. I think from there he figured he was pretty set for a few years.

    The next year was a small class, but Lewan and Schofield look great, so quality is there. 2010 (Pace) was a bit of a debacle, but give '08 and the promise of '11, it could be excused.

    The '11 class was looking pretty good with Bryant, Posada, Fisher and probably at least one other, but RR was fired, Fisher de-committed, and Hoke failed to find a replacement with the short time-line.

    Its worth noting that Carr set up the tragic '08 O-line after several years of recruiting failings(basically since Long the quality OL can be counted on one hand). It's also worth noting that Hoke failed to fill the numbers void. He didn't have much time, yet he did manage to find a QB, a K, a TE, and roughly 17 LBs.

    Rodriguez deserves some credit for rebuilding the OL from (almost) scratch. Finding some very good OL (Lewan and Omameh) for his system, as well as good depth (Khoury, Barnum, etc.) Yes, things look thin for 2012 and 2013 thusfar, but Rodriguez would have had the opportunity to address that.

  3. Comments: 21384
    Jun 25, 2011 at 9:51 PM

    @ Anonymous 3:57 p.m.

    It's obviously bad that Rodriguez brought in so few offensive linemen. There's no way around it. When your two-deep includes a walk-on – not because the walk-on is necessarily exceptional, but because he's literally the #2 option – then there was a failure somewhere.

  4. Comments: 21384
    Jun 25, 2011 at 10:10 PM

    @ Lankownia 5:38 p.m.

    There's no excuse for the 2010 class. Rodriguez signed 27 recruits, and only 1 (Pace) was an offensive lineman. That's ridiculous. And both O'Neill and Wermers were gone by August 2009, meaning Rodriguez had six months to replace O'Neill and about nine months to replace Wermers, IIRC. He lost recruiting battles to the likes of Louisville, Cincinnati, and South Florida.

    Seven of those 2010 kids are gone from the team, including five (Davion Rogers, Austin White, Demar Dorsey, Conelius Jones, and Antonio Kinard) who never even began their freshman year.

    I will admit that I think Rodriguez, Frey, the rest of the staff had a good eye for talent when it came to the OL, and Frey did a nice job of developing them. But the numbers were a complete joke.

    For some perspective, of the top-25-ranked classes in 2010, only FSU took only one linemen and finished better than Michigan. Almost every other school took at least three. And while Michigan had the #20 class, you had to go all the way down to #25 to find another team (Ohio State) that only took one lineman. And Ohio State's class came on the heels of two awesome OL classes in which they pulled in 7 highly rated linemen (Shugarts, Brewster, Marcus Hall, Mike Adams, etc.), not to mention got a certain highly touted transfer from Michigan. They had an excuse. Michigan didn't.

  5. Comments: 21384
    Marc Shepherd
    Jun 25, 2011 at 11:58 PM

    A team needs somewhere between 16-20 scholarship offensive linemen at any given time, which means you have to recruit around 3-5 per year, depending on attrition and how many of them stay around for fifth years.

    With just 3 in the 2009 class, Michigan would have needed at least 3 in 2010, even if O'Neill and Wermers had stuck around; and more like 5, since they didn't. Instead, Rodriguez took just Christian Pace, a decision so bizarre that it beggars belief.

    Of the 3 OLs Rodriguez took in 2009, one (Quintin Washington) is now on the defensive line, which means there are just three remaining OLs from the 2009 and 2010 classes, fewer than half the number there should have been.

  6. Comments: 21384
    Jun 26, 2011 at 1:37 AM

    @Marc Sheperd
    What was wrong with taking Christian Pace? He had several good offers and was a top 10 center. Why he didn't get more OL is the question.

  7. Comments: 21384
    Jun 26, 2011 at 1:38 AM

    @ Anonymous 9:37 p.m.

    I don't think he's saying that taking Christian Pace was bizarre. I think he meant that taking only one offensive lineman (Pace) was a bizarre decision when we needed multiple OL.

  8. Comments: 21384
    Jun 26, 2011 at 5:00 PM

    You're right – there's no excuse for 2010 OL recruiting. I guess I should have said, instead, that Rodriguez isn't the only guilty party here – Carr is responsible for what has to be the worst OL ever at Michigan in 2008, and Hoke is partially responsible for not addressing the numbers issue in 2011. That said, a class of 6 OL should address the problem – like Rodriguez did in '08. But given that the issue is even more acute for '12 (compared to '08), I'd say 6 should be the number brought in.

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