2016 Season Countdown: #3 Mason Cole

2016 Season Countdown: #3 Mason Cole

September 1, 2016
10/11/14 The University of Michigan football team defeats Penn State, 18-15, at Michigan Stadium.

Mason Cole

Name: Mason Cole
Height: 6’5″
Weight: 305 lbs.
High school: Tarpon Springs (FL) East Lake
Position: Center
Class: Junior
Jersey number: #52
Last year: I ranked Cole #8 and said he would be the starting left tackle (LINK). He started all thirteen games at left tackle.

Cole has been eligible to play in 25 Michigan games over his two seasons, and he started every one at left tackle. He was a lightweight as a freshman in 2014, but he held his own. He was a little heavier in 2015, and he was good enough to be Honorable Mention All-Big Ten. His best quality was his ability to block on the edge and in space, but he was occasionally overpowered by bigger, stronger guys since Cole was only about 287 lbs. Still he was a solid player, and the offensive coaching staff favored the left side in crunch time. Combined with mammoth left guard Ben Braden and center Graham Glasgow, the left side got the job done pretty well.

With Glasgow graduated and playing for the Detroit Lions, Michigan needed a new center and moved Cole there in the off-season. They gave him a taste of center in the spring of 2015 in anticipation of Glasgow’s departure, so this isn’t brand new. There were some issues with shotgun snaps in the spring game, and it’s always a concern when a player moves to center because they have to get acclimated to calling protections, snapping under pressure, etc. Cole is arguably Michigan’s best blocker, and he’s the most suited to center because of his quickness. He was always unlikely to stick at left tackle because he lacks prototypical bulk and length, so center and guard seem more fitting. His primary backup is redshirt junior Patrick Kugler, who has looked overmatched in limited time. If Cole were to get hurt, it would create a void in the middle that would be difficult to overcome. Cole has a chance to be an all-conference player and set himself up as an NFL draft pick for 2018.

Prediction: Starting center; Second Team All-Big Ten


  1. Lanknows
    Comments: 6285
    Joined: 8/11/2015
    Sep 01, 2016 at 9:00 PM

    I have Cole as the #1 most important player. He’s the only guy they absolutely can not afford to lose. Not only is he Michigan’s best OLmen, but he’s playing the most critical position. The run game hinges on his transition to center working, and that’s doubley important with a first-time starter at QB.

    Peppers is more talented and also lacks a replacement, but Michigan’s D will still be excellent without him. They coped against Florida just fine.

    Lewis is the best player on the team, but Michigan has 2 other proven corners, Peppers, and Long. Again, the defense will still stand strong without him.

    But Cole…everything falls apart on offense without Cole. He isn’t the best player on the team, and he won’t go highest in the NFL draft, but he’s the player that is most critical to this team’s success.

    • Avatar
      Comments: 183
      Joined: 9/3/2015
      suduri xusai
      Sep 02, 2016 at 1:39 AM

      I think he is #1 most important player as well. Our OL is very thin and if he goes down…. I don’t want to think about it.

      I wonder what guys think of his chance of leaving early for the NFL. I think he could be drafted after this season. I hope he stays, especially with the amount of guys we lose, but he might be tempted to make millions early.

    • Thunder
      Comments: 3849
      Joined: 7/13/2015
      Sep 02, 2016 at 5:51 AM

      I don’t think Kugler is such a terrible option at center. And Peppers/Lewis affect two or three phases of the game each.

      • Lanknows
        Comments: 6285
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        Sep 02, 2016 at 11:49 AM

        I’m not even sure Kugler is the real answer if Cole goes down. Michigan has preferred playing multiple true freshman instead of him, tried to recruit a grad transfer to replace him, etc. I know he’s the only other OC on paper, but I think they’d make a position change in the long-run or maybe by midseason Runyan will have passed him.

        Peppers is a legit contributor in all 3 phases. Lewis won’t affect anything beyond the D and the team is best served if he sticks to CB/NB exclusively.

        • Avatar
          Comments: 183
          Joined: 9/3/2015
          suduri xusai
          Sep 02, 2016 at 9:47 PM

          I thought that too. Kugler was a high-rated recruit that did not do a thing until now. I wonder what’s the word on Kugler’s development or lack thereof.

  2. Avatar
    Comments: 142
    Joined: 8/12/2015
    Sep 01, 2016 at 10:09 PM

    You’re only as strong as your weakest link. Remember that folks, Cole is steady, if unspectacular, he is not of a concern whatsoever.

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