2012 Season Countdown: #2 Ricky Barnum

2012 Season Countdown: #2 Ricky Barnum

August 28, 2012
Ricky Barnum

Name: Ricky Barnum
Height: 6’3″
Weight: 296 lbs.
High school: Lakeland (FL) Lake Gibson
Position: Center
Class: Redshirt senior
Jersey number: #52
Last year: I ranked Barnum #16 and said he would be the starting left guard. He started three games at left guard before suffering an ankle injury.

Much like the recently profiled Fitzgerald Toussaint, Ricky Barnum has consistently been injured throughout his career.  Of course, Toussaint stayed mostly healthy last season and had a stellar season.  Despite being a fifth year senior, Barnum has played in just nine career games – two in 2009, three in 2010, and four in 2011.  He started three games last year, but he suffered an ankle injury that saw him replaced by Michael Schofield, who never relinquished the job.  Barnum has never been outstanding, but the coaches like him and he’s a solid player.

Barnum has practiced snapping the ball throughout his college career after playing center in high school; but he has never taken a snap in college.  However, with the departure of Rimington Award winner David Molk and no clear heir, the coaches asked Barnum to move from left guard to center.  He’s fairly short and quick for a lineman, so both of those traits bode well.  Unfortunately, if recent trends continue, he’ll only be healthy enough to play in five games this season.  His backups are even less experienced.  First off the bench will likely be redshirt freshman Jack Miller, who is just 6’4″ and 288 lbs., so he’s a little slight.  Other options at center include former walk-on Joey Burzynski, who is also competing for the left guard position; and redshirt senior Elliott Mealer, who has been starting at left guard in recent days.  Both have played center in practice at times over their careers.  I hesitated to place Barnum this high on the list, but Michigan fans have seen what happens when the starting center leaves the game, most recently in the first series of the Sugar Bowl when Rocko Khoury replaced Molk.  Barnum can be an adequate player this season, but if/when he gets injured, it could seriously hamper the timing and effectiveness of Michigan’s offense.

Prediction: Starting center


  1. Comments: 21384
    Aug 28, 2012 at 4:27 PM

    Not to mention, he's the only one who can understand Denard when Denard starts speaking Florida.

  2. Comments: 21384
    Painter Smurf
    Aug 28, 2012 at 5:28 PM

    I had a feeling you would have Barnum up here at the top. The more I think about it, I agree that Barnum may be even more valuable than Lewan. My assumption was the Burzynski could be plugged in as the back-up while Miller develops. We will have to wait for the cupcake games to see whether UM has legit depth here. The predominant shotgun offense only magnifies the importance of the center. It sounds like Barnum's ankles are still an on-going concern. Hope he finally has a healthy year.

  3. Comments: 21384
    Aug 28, 2012 at 5:54 PM

    Ack – hopefully this isn't like Woolfok and he stays healthy…

    Those games played stats and the fact that he's never snapped in college are things I wasn't really thinking of. Thanks for worrying me even more about the OL.

  4. Comments: 21384
    Aug 28, 2012 at 8:10 PM

    I understand Barnum's importance; I question having him here this high because we don't know what he brings to the table yet. That is, if it was known that he was a C- player, he wouldn't be this high. We don't know yet what we're getting in Barnum; but we know if Lewan goes down, we're effed.

    • Comments: 21384
      Aug 29, 2012 at 4:31 AM

      Barnum is the starting center, thats why he is so high up. If he is a c- player, that makes him even more important

    • Comments: 21384
      Aug 29, 2012 at 4:49 PM

      No, if he is a C- player, the dropoff between him and Miller (let's say he's a D) won't be that severe.

      My point is, if the intent of this process is to rank the most important positions in football, generally, OK. If it's player-specific (calculating the importance of adequate/inadequate depth behind them, the system being run, and how integral player X is to the success of the team), seems odd to put Barnum here when we really don't know what we have with him.

    • Comments: 21384
      Aug 29, 2012 at 5:20 PM

      I think we generally know what we have with him. He's been a starter or pushing for a starting guard spot for the past couple seasons. We haven't seen him snap the ball much, but he's been playing center since high school and did pretty well in the spring. The backup center might be Mealer, but it might also be Jack Miller, who's light and inexperienced. The potential drop-off is significant. Admittedly, it's not an exact science because we haven't seen Barnum play much center, and we haven't seen much of Miller at all. But it's a preseason ranking; there are bound to be unknowns.

  5. Comments: 21384
    Aug 29, 2012 at 12:13 AM

    Centers are important, and we obviously got a taste of that in the Sugar Bowl, but there's a reason why NFL teams don't draft centers early. I'd have Lewan here. In addition to him being a super-elite LT who will match up against some of our opponents' primary threats, he also has a couple of true freshmen backing him up.

    • Comments: 21384
      Aug 29, 2012 at 12:18 AM

      Lewan's backup is Schofield. And Schofield's backup is potentially Patrick Omameh. And putting in an inexperienced guy at RT is much, much, much different than putting in an inexperienced guy at C.

    • Comments: 21384
      Aug 29, 2012 at 2:33 AM

      Hoke said in a press conference that Mealer has taken snaps at C. It's very possible that if Barnum gets hurt, Mealer moves to C and Burzynski takes Mealer's spot at LG. I'd strongly prefer that to any scenario that has us losing Lewan and shuffling a bunch of other guys all through the line.

    • Comments: 21384
      Aug 29, 2012 at 2:57 PM


      That's a whole lot of assuming, but think about the ramifications for a second, even if thats true.

      Don't you think they'll bring in the 6th best OLmen, regardless of who gets hurt? If so, that means the positions that require the least reshuffling (OG) are easier to replace than the ones that require the most (OT).

      If you take out Lewan – not only are you inserting the 6th best OL for a 1st round NFL pick but also moving your RT and RG to new positions. What happens to RG in that situation? We still don't know. It's probably Burzynski (a walk on), but it might also be a true freshman…it might even be …Barnum. Maybe they think Miller is the 6th best best guy.

      Probably not though – I suspect that Miller stinks and/or is not close to ready. If Barnum goes down they'll probably put Mealer at OC and bring in Burzynski/Kalis at LG. If Lewan goes down, they'll probably bring in Burzynski/Kalis AND shuffle around half the OL to do it, PLUS you lose an elite talent instead of a guy who has played 9 games in his career.

      Since the 6th best OLmen's best position is probably LG, I'd rather the importance of replacing the starters to be LT, RT, OC, RG, LG. That also happens to be the approximate order of the talent for each position, though I'd support Barnum above Schofield given that Barnum technically beat him out as an OL starter to start last year.

      Also – OC is a particularly important position – I don't think there is much dispute there.

      But whatever – they're both really really important to this years team.
      All the OL starters are, even Mealer. The exact order doesn't matter so much as acknowledging that if any of the starters go down we're in trouble – so they're all very important.

    • Comments: 21384
      Aug 29, 2012 at 2:59 PM

      I don't think replacing Lewan with Schofield would be such a huge deal, if Schofield is as good as advertised. Some people think he could be a high draft pick in 2014, maybe not a Round 1 guy but in Round 2 or 3.

    • Comments: 21384
      Aug 29, 2012 at 9:26 PM

      Schofield starts at RT. I haven't seen anyone express a significant concern about Schofield being able to play LT effectively, if he is needed there. If Lewan gets hurt someone FROM THE BENCH has to be inserted into the starting unit. Unless you have a way of cloning people, in which case, I'd suggest just cloning Lewan.

    • Comments: 21384
      Aug 30, 2012 at 12:04 AM

      Some very mediocre players have played RT for decent Michigan teams. Mark Huyge, Rueben Riley, etc. I'm not that worried if someone like Kalis has to play RT at some point.

    • Comments: 21384
      Aug 30, 2012 at 2:15 AM

      Huyge beat out Schofield for the starting gig!

      Those guys were 5th year seniors. They didn't have quite the recruiting profile that Kalis did, but 4 years of strength training and coaching will separate most 3-stars from even a highly rated high school kid. If we were talking about slotting in a guy like Mealer this year or Huyge last year in at tackle, that would be one thing. We're not – we're talking about a true freshman who is a 3rd string guard, behind an undersized walk-on sophomore, trying to play at tackle. I know you like Kalis as a recruit but this is a huge stretch…

      I think Burzynski comes in if ANY o-linemen gets hurt. I think Kalis may be the next guy in after that, but it's probably going to take a few more weeks before he's serviceable.

  6. Comments: 21384
    Aug 29, 2012 at 4:32 AM

    Who is #1??

  7. Comments: 21384
    Aug 29, 2012 at 12:32 PM

    d robison

  8. Comments: 21384
    Aug 29, 2012 at 3:16 PM

    yall can back off barnum because he got hurt if he dont get hurt first team big ten at og hey he is the best thing in last year draft an this year draft so hater keep hate the young man can play oc/ot/og pancakescitygot to be good if the coach move to oc from og stay healthy an another rimtoning award

    • Comments: 21384
      Aug 29, 2012 at 3:23 PM

      Wow…I don't even know what to say.

    • Comments: 21384
      Aug 29, 2012 at 9:23 PM

      claim: If Barnum did not get hurt last year he would have been first team all-conference OG.

      validity: Maybe, even Lewan didn't make the first team. Barnum did beat out Schofield, who looked good and has shown good flashes of ability when he has been healthy. Dude needs to stay healthy though – that's first thing.

  9. Comments: 21384
    Aug 30, 2012 at 4:56 PM

    c u dont no barnum got hurt he didnt beat out barnum heal up he got one more season witch is this one an lewan and barnum is diffence barnum would have been on the first team all big ten and second team all american last year before the season start it they both was on the preson second team all big ten so dont hate haters

  10. Comments: 21384
    Nov 19, 2012 at 3:31 PM

    Some of you are very negative… I would like to see you guys do have the things these kids do, better yet you probably cant. Don't be mad god blessed this kid with talent that you lack of… I pray none of you have sons because I hope they can live up to the expectations that you want this kid to live up to! Get a life, stop worrying and trying to live other kids dreams.

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