2019 Season Countdown: #50 Joel Honigford

2019 Season Countdown: #50 Joel Honigford

July 15, 2019
Joel Honigford (#59, image via Twitter)

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Name: Joel Honigford
295 lbs.
High school:
Sugarcreek (OH) Garaway
Offensive guard
Redshirt sophomore
Jersey number:
Last year:
I ranked Honigford #86 and said he would be a backup offensive guard (LINK). He played in two games.
TTB Rating:

There’s a reason you recruit a lot of linemen (take notes, Rich Rodriguez), and that’s because you want veterans to be available in case an opportunity opens up for playing time. Over the past couple years, players like Ja’Raymond Hall, James Hudson, Juwann Bushell-Beatty, and Nolan Ulizio have all departed. Jim Harbaugh has done a good job of increasing numbers on the offensive line, meaning people like Honigford, Stephen Spanellis, and Chuck Filiaga are still around if they’re needed.

Four-fifths of Michigan’s offensive line is basically decided going into 2019, with Jon Runyan, Jr., Ben Bredeson, Cesar Ruiz, and Michael Onwenu seeming to have locked up their spots. The competition is still open at one tackle position, though, with Andrew Stueber and Jalen Mayfield both vying to start. Honigford has been repping at offensive guard, and word out of the spring is that he has taken some big strides over the past year. Barring injury, there’s no chance for him to start in 2019, but he will be jostling with the aforementioned Spanellis and Filiaga to be the first offensive lineman off the bench. Spanellis appears to be the top backup interior guy and has the ability to play center, too, but we should start to see Honigford emerge in 2019. Both Bredeson and Onwenu will graduate after 2019, so the top backup guards will probably be your starters in 2020.

Prediction: Backup offensive guard


  1. Avatar
    Comments: 67
    Joined: 1/10/2017
    Jul 15, 2019 at 8:52 AM

    Good post. I’d argue that JBB (who I believe exhausted his eligibility) shouldn’t be classed with those other guys who departed.

    • Lanknows
      Comments: 5515
      Joined: 8/11/2015
      Jul 15, 2019 at 12:49 PM

      Yeah I found that strange too – 3 transfers and JBB a starter. Hall transferred before Cole, Kugler, and (very technically) Newsome left the program. JBB’s name fits better with those other starters.

  2. Avatar
    Comments: 1619
    Joined: 1/19/2016
    Jul 15, 2019 at 10:13 AM

    Very refreshing to read. Glad we’ve turned the corner on OL!

    • Avatar
      Comments: 1277
      Joined: 8/11/2015
      Jul 16, 2019 at 6:09 AM

      Well, we’ll know next year if we really have. That’s when we’ll have to plug a lot of new guys in, and see if we really have a pipeline, or are still struggling to generate top 10 quality starters.

      • Avatar
        Comments: 348
        Joined: 12/24/2016
        Jul 16, 2019 at 9:21 AM

        Yeah, 2020 is looking like a tough year for Michigan; all the more necessity for Harbaugh to accomplish something in the up coming 2019 season.

        As noted Michigan will need to replace a lot of guys in 2020 and the schedule does not bode well at all. With a season sandwiched between likely losses at Washington & a season ending defeat in Columbus and games against Wisconsin, PSU, MSU who will ALL be significantly better in 2020 while Michigan will be significantly worse AND games against Minny & Purdue who also will be significantly better……… Michigan probably doesn’t do any better than 8-4 and I won’t be surprised if they go 6-6 and with Harbaugh yet to show his teams can finish a season , expect the Wolverines to lose their bowl game………..
        A possible 6-7 season for 2020…………intjohn

        • Thunder
          Comments: 3367
          Joined: 7/13/2015
          Jul 16, 2019 at 9:28 AM

          Wow…that’s a lot of pessimism. When has Harbaugh ever shown that he’s going to go 6-7 with an established program?

          Also, next year’s line looks like a highly touted redshirt sophomore (Mayfield), a highly touted redshirt junior (Filiaga), a fifth year senior (Spanellis), a decent redshirt junior (Honigford), and an experienced redshirt junior (Stueber), and that’s only if Cesar Ruiz leaves after his true junior year. Add in some other highly touted sophomores/redshirt freshmen (Keegan, Rumler, etc.), and I don’t see the reason for such negativity.

        • Lanknows
          Comments: 5515
          Joined: 8/11/2015
          Jul 16, 2019 at 12:57 PM

          If the winner of RT battle sucks, this might become a legit worry. For now it’s just negative speculation

          — the other side of the coin of looking at depth charts 2 or 3 years out and seeing glory for all recruits and less regarded players squeezed out of the boatload of superstars.

      • Lanknows
        Comments: 5515
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        Jul 16, 2019 at 12:56 PM

        Agreed. That said, the RT spot (Mayfield, Steuber, others) is an important test in 2019. If they can’t fill one tackle spot with a capable starter from all these recruits over the last 3-4 years, how are they going to replace (potentially) 4 new starters next year?

  3. Avatar
    Comments: 54
    Joined: 10/3/2015
    Jul 15, 2019 at 12:02 PM

    Great to see guys like Honigford down in the 50s. Hopefully we’re at a point now where we’re no longer elevating o-linemen based on necessity. Just need to keep the pipeline flowing (~4 OL recruits / year – redshirt at least half of them) and avoid the need for those 6 OL “catch up” classes.

  4. Lanknows
    Comments: 5515
    Joined: 8/11/2015
    Jul 15, 2019 at 1:01 PM

    I am also very happy to see the depth built up. I believe the blocking will be be far more effective than we’ve seen in years.

    I think one important factor in depth is your hit rate, and how quickly develop starters. It seems like Michigan has had one of two extremes in recent years. Either top recruits play right away (HIT: Ruiz, Bredeson, Cole, Onwenu) or guys are still wonky into their senior year (Slow Development: JBB, Runyan, Kugler).

    I am optimistic that we’ll get a return to developing quality starters more rapidly — in their RS Freshman and Sophomore seasons (Mayfield, Steuber, Spanellis, Honiford). Counting on one this year, and hopefully the others project well to starting roles next year.

    Rodriguez has been criticized many times for not getting enough OL numbers (which is generally true) but his brief tenure showed extremely strong identification of players and rapid development of talent. Hoke got numbers but didn’t develop as well. Harbaugh, I think and hope, is on track to do both.

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