2018 Season Countdown: #22 Michael Onwenu

2018 Season Countdown: #22 Michael Onwenu

August 6, 2018

Michael Onwenu (image via MLive)

Name: Michael Onwenu
Height: 6’3″
Weight: 350 lbs.
High school: Detroit (MI) Cass Tech
Position: Offensive guard
Class: Junior
Jersey number: #50
Last year: I ranked Onwenu #16 and said he would be the starting right guard (LINK). He started nine games at offensive guard.
TTB Rating: 78

Onwenu seemed like the heir apparent to Kyle Kalis at right guard after the 2016 season. He struggled mightily with his weight as a true freshman, and the hope was that he would be in better shape for 2017. Despite losing weight he still wasn’t in shape. He began the season as the starting right guard, but it was a position he would lose to freshman Cesar Ruiz later in the year. Onwenu got the start at left guard in the Outback Bowl, but that was because a bunch of linemen were injured or got sent home.

This year I guess Onwenu is going to start again, but center/guard Stephen Spanellis has been making a push to steal Onwenu’s spot. It would be a little disappointing to see the highly touted Onwenu get sent to the bench, because it would represent another apparent failure to develop a well regarded offensive lineman. Then again, may the best man win. Onwenu has had three years to get in shape, and one reason he hasn’t played as much as possible is that he still weighs upward of 350 lbs. At some point one would think it should kick in that something needs to change when it comes to diet or conditioning, but if that doesn’t happen, he could get passed permanently. The only senior lineman on the roster is tackle Juwann Bushell-Beatty, and Onwenu isn’t going to bump out to tackle and replace Bushell-Beatty (if JBB even starts). This is almost a now-or-never situation for Onwenu.

Prediction: Starting right guard


  1. Avatar
    Comments: 1863
    Joined: 1/19/2016
    Aug 06, 2018 at 1:27 PM

    “… may the best man win”


    Owenu is a HUGE man, and does appear to just be straight up BIG: his head, neck shoulders – everything looks like it’s photoshopped for a wider view. Not sure how much weight he can lose, but he’s definitely got to get his endurance at starter-level, or else he won’t last the season

  2. DonAZ
    Comments: 523
    Joined: 8/12/2015
    Aug 06, 2018 at 1:55 PM

    That picture goes back a ways … that’s Shane Morris at QB.

  3. Painter Smurf
    Comments: 263
    Joined: 8/12/2015
    Painter Smurf
    Aug 06, 2018 at 9:56 PM

    Some of the talking heads frame Onwenu’s weight problem as a stamina issue (which may be partially true), but there is more to it than that. He does not move well enough to perform the full range of blocks. He may move well for a 360 lbs guy, but he does not move as well as an average UM OG. Warriner implied in an interview that he was less of a fan of OL carrying bad weight as other OL coaches (i.e., Drev). Hopefully, Herbert made a big impact with Mike in the off season. But if not, I’d be perfectly cool with Spanellis. Thought he looked pretty good last year.

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