2020 Season Countdown: #44 Ben VanSumeren

2020 Season Countdown: #44 Ben VanSumeren


August 2, 2020
Ben VanSumeren (image via Detroit Free Press)

Name: Ben VanSumeren
Height: 
6’2″
Weight: 
244 lbs.
High school: 
Essexville (MI) Garber
Position: 
Running back
Class: 
Redshirt sophomore
Jersey number: 
#40
Last year: 
I ranked VanSumeren #48 and said he would be a backup running back (LINK). He played in five games and ran the ball 6 times for 20 yards.
TTB Rating:
 78

Michigan’s transition to the Josh Gattis offense was a positive for a lot of people, but probably not someone like VanSumeren. Brought in as more of a traditional fullback, he was left without a real position on offense. At 6’2″ and 236 pounds, his speed and quickness were lacking as a runner. Though he spent the spring of 2019 getting a lot of reps due to injuries, the season itself saw him finish as the #5 tailback.

The outlook has not changed much going into 2020, and VanSumeren has reportedly made another position switch, this time to linebacker. It’s not clear exactly what role he would fill on defense, but he was rumored to potentially become a pass rusher off the edge, a role that Josh Uche previously inhabited. I do not see VanSumeren having a lot of success in that type of role, but like fellow fullback/linebacker recruit Ben Mason (who has also spent time at defensive tackle), it appears the coaching staff will try to shoehorn him into a role. I would not be surprised to see him line up at linebacker, defensive end, fullback, and/or tailback in 2020, but I would be surprised to see him become a standout at any one of those spots.

Prediction: Backup linebacker

51 comments

  1. Avatar
    Comments: 1863
    Joined: 1/19/2016
    je93
    Aug 02, 2020 at 11:25 AM

    At least we won’t option BVS to the short side of the field in 2020 😅

  2. Avatar
    Comments: 79
    Joined: 1/10/2017
    Julio
    Aug 02, 2020 at 11:48 AM

    Thunder, if you could put BVS anywhere (school, position), where would you put him?

    I remember being impressed by his HS videos and thinking he’d make a decent H-back.

    • Thunder
      Comments: 3785
      Joined: 7/13/2015
      Aug 02, 2020 at 2:02 PM

      This is probably not a very imaginative answer, but I would send him to Wisconsin and let him be a RB/FB combo. He’s not tall enough to be a great H-back prospect, IMO.

      • Avatar
        Comments: 1332
        Joined: 8/13/2015
        Roanman
        Aug 02, 2020 at 2:44 PM

        Maybe Iowa, who wanted him at Mike and/or Will.

    • Avatar
      Comments: 1359
      Joined: 8/11/2015
      WindyCityBlue
      Aug 02, 2020 at 4:03 PM

      Having him anywhere on offense goes completely against the concept of “speed in space”, assuming that Gattis hasn’t switched to a different trendy offensive meme for this year. Maybe we’re back to “manball” for 2020. People probably won’t remember that we tried that 5 years ago and went nowhere with it.

  3. Avatar
    Comments: 1332
    Joined: 8/13/2015
    Roanman
    Aug 02, 2020 at 1:01 PM

    Gattis and Harbaugh both spend a great deal of time thinking about ways to create mismatches for fast people. This makes a lot of sense in that a quick guy isolated on a bigger, slower guy can result in a home run.

    But, if I had Mason and Van Sumerin, and especially Van Sumerine who has demonstrated ability as a receiver, I would be looking to create the occasional mismatch that would allow me an opportunity to punish your quick guys. There is nothing quite like getting run over or buried for slowing down some of that twitchiness. This is something I know a lot about, having been small, but slow. Everybody slows down a little having been pounded on once or twice.

    If you have the football smarts to scheme your opposition into places they don’t want to be in order to accommodate your speed in space philosophy, you should be smart enough to scheme their quick people into the occasional beat down.

    And yes, I understand finite snaps, but still …..

    • Avatar
      Comments: 1863
      Joined: 1/19/2016
      je93
      Aug 03, 2020 at 1:46 AM

      I think we all expected this when JH was hired, but haven’t seen it

      ” … have the football smarts to scheme your opposition into places they don’t want to be …”

      • Avatar
        Comments: 1359
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        WindyCityBlue
        Aug 03, 2020 at 6:59 AM

        Yes, after five years, Harbaugh still seems to have no idea what he wants the character of his offense to be.

      • Avatar
        Comments: 1332
        Joined: 8/13/2015
        Roanman
        Aug 03, 2020 at 8:32 AM

        I couldn’t disagree more, we’ve seen it over and over and over for the entirety of his tenure.

        Harbaugh’s problem at Michigan was and remains that he hasn’t been able to assemble a balanced roster across his two lines.

        First we couldn’t block, then we we couldn’t stop an inside running play against the good teams.

        There has been no lack of real good innovative thinking on offense. Unproductive O line coaching, crazy stuff at left tackle then, and now idiot 5 star D line recruits quitting are what has been biting us.

        • Avatar
          Comments: 1863
          Joined: 1/19/2016
          je93
          Aug 03, 2020 at 10:38 AM

          I don’t recall seeing much of it Roanman. Maybe 2015 against NW? 2016 during a stretch of weak teams?

          I do not remember seeing Defenses in a bind, or reading/hearing opposing coaches talk about MICHIGAN offense out-scheming them. Definitely not “over and over and over for the entirety of his tenure”

          • Avatar
            Comments: 1332
            Joined: 8/13/2015
            Roanman
            Aug 03, 2020 at 10:49 AM
            • Avatar
              Comments: 1863
              Joined: 1/19/2016
              je93
              Aug 03, 2020 at 11:50 AM

              Not a fan of MGoBlog, but I’ll take a look

              Should I expect a cherry-picked play here & there? Bullying of baby seals? Or will I see out-scheming, “over and over and over for the entirety of his tenure?”

              • Avatar
                Comments: 1332
                Joined: 8/13/2015
                Roanman
                Aug 03, 2020 at 12:26 PM

                Seth does good work.

    • Avatar
      Comments: 1359
      Joined: 8/11/2015
      WindyCityBlue
      Aug 03, 2020 at 6:58 AM

      Sorry, were you drunk when you wrote this? Aside from spelling VanSumeren’s name wrong twice (two different ways), he’s never caught a pass in his career. So not the least clue what you mean by “ability as a receiver” unless it’s “ability to lull people into thinking he’ll never be targeted”. But unless you’re going to waste a player by putting him out there as a useless battering ram on a lot of other downs, every time you put him in to run somebody over (which a Michigan fullback hasn’t done after catching the ball in a LONG time), you’re telegraphing to the other team that he’s going to get the ball.

      • Avatar
        Comments: 1332
        Joined: 8/13/2015
        Roanman
        Aug 03, 2020 at 8:34 AM

        Scurry off Whiney, you know you don’t want any part of me.

        I’ve handed you your head so many times you should be calling yourself, Sleepy Hollow Blue.

        • Avatar
          Comments: 1359
          Joined: 8/11/2015
          WindyCityBlue
          Aug 03, 2020 at 10:15 AM

          As usual, all you can do is insult when your nonsense is called out.

          How has VanSumeren “shown ability” as a receiver? Exactly how? Betting my third testicle that you’ll have no coherent answer for that, just more deflection.

          • Thunder
            Comments: 3785
            Joined: 7/13/2015
            Aug 03, 2020 at 10:17 AM

            From the Ben VanSumeren bio on MGoBlue:

            “Finished prep career with 176 receptions for 2,888 yards and 29 touchdowns”

            • Avatar
              Comments: 1359
              Joined: 8/11/2015
              WindyCityBlue
              Aug 03, 2020 at 11:05 AM

              So he showed so much ability as a receiver that the coaches dumped him into a useless position where he was never going to see a ball thrown in his direction?

              Got it.

    • Lanknows
      Comments: 6182
      Joined: 8/11/2015
      Lanknows
      Aug 03, 2020 at 11:12 AM

      It’s going to be very interesting to see if BVS and Mason, prototypical Harbaugh players, disappear in YEAR 2 of the Gattis offense.

      Harbaugh has had pretty solid offenses almost every year despite a huge evolution in scheme between 2015 and 2019.

      • Avatar
        Comments: 1359
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        WindyCityBlue
        Aug 03, 2020 at 12:55 PM

        Except for the year of QB disaster “pretty solid” is a fair evaluation, but if you want to really compete at the highest level, “pretty solid” just isn’t good enough. You need to have a great offense, not just a good one, and I don’t see this team getting any closer to that than they were 4 years ago.

      • Lanknows
        Comments: 6182
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        Lanknows
        Aug 03, 2020 at 2:26 PM

        Is “the highest level” a particularly relevant bar for a program that hasn’t won a national championship outright since the 1940s? The last time Michigan did it (1948) teams in the top 25 included Cornell, William & Mary, Vanderbilt, Northwestern, Wake Forest, and Tulane. Six teams finished the season without a loss that year.

        • Avatar
          Comments: 1359
          Joined: 8/11/2015
          WindyCityBlue
          Aug 03, 2020 at 5:39 PM

          I’m not sure what the hell a “relevant bar” is, but it IS a relevant goal, yeah. Why wouldn’t it be? The teams that are there now didn’t used to be. Before Swinney, Clemson had one NC in their entire history and had gone 20 years without a 10 win season or a conference championship.

          • Lanknows
            Comments: 6182
            Joined: 8/11/2015
            Lanknows
            Aug 03, 2020 at 7:43 PM

            It’s not a relevant goal because it’s very unlikely to happen in your lifetime. Why? History and current reality.

            History says there are a whole bunch of Northwesterns and not many Clemsons.

            Current reality says Michigan is not a talent rich environment and they are not willing to go all out to win (and by that I mean paying players more overtly and treating academics as an optional inconvenience).

            There is no evidence that reality is going to change in Michigan’s favor. And history certainly isn’t.

            Michigan isn’t a perennial title contender and is outside of the top tier of the elite. This is what you keep saying and you are right. What you’re ignoring is that’s been true for 70 years. Yet — that’s the bar you want to hold them to.

            It’s not just about coaching. Harbaugh’s got more wins in his first 5 years at Michigan than Swinney had at Clemson. You don’t want to acknowledge that, in part because you know as well as I do it doesn’t mean anything in regard to Michigan taking that next most difficult step to winning a national championship.

            Sure, it’s possible. Anything is possible. Eastern Michigan might win a national title too. All they have to do is dream big and compare themselves to Alabama.

            • Avatar
              Comments: 1359
              Joined: 8/11/2015
              WindyCityBlue
              Aug 03, 2020 at 8:14 PM

              Arguing that “anything is possible” is the same thing as “everything is equally likely” is kinda dumb. And that’s what you’re doing here.

              As far as Swinney, as I’ve pointed out to you multiple times, he had NEVER been a head coach before he took over as an interim halfway through a season (which you count as his first full season, because it suits you to lie), whereas Harbaugh had been a head coach for TEN years before he started here, so pretending their starting points at their current programs are equivalent is just another lie.

              Michigan State can beat Ohio State at home, and on the road, with a backup QB, win multiple conference championships against them, and make the playoffs, with talent a step below ours. But yeah, it’s dumb for that to be a goal for Michigan.

            • Avatar
              Comments: 1863
              Joined: 1/19/2016
              je93
              Aug 04, 2020 at 12:04 AM

              Wow Lank, you went from having us on the cusp of elite to comparing our NC hopes to Eastern 😂

              Anyway, Harbaugh believes we can win it all – he recruits to that goal. Every coach, player & low level staffer believes in, and works toward this. Why shouldn’t fans?

            • Lanknows
              Comments: 6182
              Joined: 8/11/2015
              Lanknows
              Aug 04, 2020 at 12:18 PM

              If you’ve ever played sports you’d already know the differences between players and fans.

              • Avatar
                Comments: 1863
                Joined: 1/19/2016
                je93
                Aug 04, 2020 at 12:24 PM

                Well, one of us has played … and coached 😏

                • Lanknows
                  Comments: 6182
                  Joined: 8/11/2015
                  Lanknows
                  Aug 04, 2020 at 12:31 PM

                  Exactly right. Try it and then talk.

                • Lanknows
                  Comments: 6182
                  Joined: 8/11/2015
                  Lanknows
                  Aug 05, 2020 at 3:37 PM

                  Thunder found it for you JE.

                  Oct 13

                  “If Michigan beats OSU, PSU, OR ND you will not comment for 2 months afterwards”

                  Oct 26

                  Michigan beats ND.

                  A man of his word, a man who can be believed, would not post again through Christmas. You didn’t even make it through half of it, by Indiana you were back.

                  I don’t know the exact date in November you welched but I remember calling you out for it then. It doesn’t really matter now, because you either do what you say or you don’t.

                  I’m not mad at you JE. Again, I didn’t expect you to follow through in any way at all. The internet is full of people lying. But here for a moment is some truth: You lost the bet and you welched on the payoff. Then you conveniently forgot about it while bragging about yourself and trying to take shots (and missing again).

                  So don’t be so sensitive when Ol Spreadsheet calls it like it is or if nobody believes the things you are putting out there about yourself.

                  I welcome future wagers even though I know you won’t follow-through. No hard feelings and no lies told.

              • Avatar
                Comments: 1863
                Joined: 1/19/2016
                je93
                Aug 04, 2020 at 2:07 PM

                https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nfa03pxYNP8

                This is what Coach promised upon his return, and has repeated for almost six years. That’s the standard, and reasonable expectation for fans

                As a player and coach, I can relate

                • Lanknows
                  Comments: 6182
                  Joined: 8/11/2015
                  Lanknows
                  Aug 04, 2020 at 2:48 PM

                  Welching JE, a well-noted person of their word on the internet.

                • Avatar
                  Comments: 1863
                  Joined: 1/19/2016
                  je93
                  Aug 04, 2020 at 3:27 PM

                  Everytime you realize you’ve lost, you resort to name-calling. It’s a pattern that leads to meltdown

                  BTW, why “welching”

                • Thunder
                  Comments: 3785
                  Joined: 7/13/2015
                  Aug 04, 2020 at 8:00 PM

                  re: welching

                  I believe you lost a “bet” where you said you wouldn’t comment for X amount of time, and then you didn’t follow through. Not that I want you to follow through or that I think this is a good way to spend anyone’s time, but I believe that’s the origin of “welching JE.”

                • Avatar
                  Comments: 1863
                  Joined: 1/19/2016
                  je93
                  Aug 04, 2020 at 10:13 PM

                  But i met my obligations:

                  – I donated to the site, to which you acknowledged

                  – I went without posting, to which Lank acknowledged, about halfway through*. The site has archives; double or nothing if I’m mistaken here. My integrity remains beyond reproach

                  *I still read, but didn’t post, as was our agreement

                • Lanknows
                  Comments: 6182
                  Joined: 8/11/2015
                  Lanknows
                  Aug 05, 2020 at 11:25 AM

                  JE – you are not a man of your word on the internet. I hope it’s different IRL. On this site — you welched on our bet and I called it out when it happened. No skin off my back but you’re on here saying things that are untrue both about things you know and things you don’t. It is what it is.

                  I was honestly surprised that you made it whatever percent through that you did. Credited you for it, prematurely it turned out, because you didn’t follow through.

                  I never called you Welching JE until you welched on the bet. So now, you can wear the shoe that fits.

                  You be you. I’m not mad at it, you shouldn’t be either. Keep throwing imaginary jabs, but don’t get your feelings hurt when one comes back, especially when it’s legit.

                  Yours truly,
                  Spreadsheet Meltdown 2020

                • Avatar
                  Comments: 1863
                  Joined: 1/19/2016
                  je93
                  Aug 05, 2020 at 11:36 AM

                  I offered double or nothing. Donated to the site, and did not post. I would do it again – twice the donation and twice the suspension on posting. Just point it out, with links

                  Should be easy for you to prove, right?

                • Lanknows
                  Comments: 6182
                  Joined: 8/11/2015
                  Lanknows
                  Aug 05, 2020 at 11:37 AM

                  I dont recall the donation being part of the final bet, though you brought it up before. I donated anyway FWIW.

                • Lanknows
                  Comments: 6182
                  Joined: 8/11/2015
                  Lanknows
                  Aug 05, 2020 at 11:38 AM

                  You are welcome to prove yourself but we both know you won’t.

                • Avatar
                  Comments: 1863
                  Joined: 1/19/2016
                  je93
                  Aug 05, 2020 at 11:54 AM

                  Thunder, I don’t remember the weeks we made the bet

                  Are you able to search Comments? I recall one bet turned into two: $ for one (to which you replied), and two weeks suspension (Lank commented on)

                  Again, if I’m wrong, I will double the donation and suspend for four weeks. But I am not 😎

                • Thunder
                  Comments: 3785
                  Joined: 7/13/2015
                  Aug 05, 2020 at 1:44 PM

                  Is this it?

                  https://touch-the-banner.com/michigan-42-illinois-25/

                • Lanknows
                  Comments: 6182
                  Joined: 8/11/2015
                  Lanknows
                  Aug 05, 2020 at 12:46 PM

                  Interesting what you claim to remember all so clearly and what you forget.

                  Interesting to claim to be retired but want Thunder to spend his time searching around to help jog your memory.

                  Who knows what to believe!

                • Lanknows
                  Comments: 6182
                  Joined: 8/11/2015
                  Lanknows
                  Aug 05, 2020 at 12:50 PM

                  I’m not from the south but if I was this might be a bless-your-heart moment.

                  You seem upset JE so maybe we can just call it an honest mistake. A ‘retiree moment’. Maybe you didn’t intend to go back on your word and just forgot.

                  If reminding you of your welching is too harsh I can just go with Forgettin JE instead.

                  If that is your preference just let me know.

                • Avatar
                  Comments: 1863
                  Joined: 1/19/2016
                  je93
                  Aug 05, 2020 at 1:46 PM

                  When did I say I remember the bet “clearly?” True to form, when losing, you make up details and argue against that. I actually wrote the opposite, stating the fundamentals of our wager

                  I asked thunder if he had a search function, because none of us are at an age where we can expect to remember all of yesterday, let alone today

                  Anyway, I found my PayPal recipient, then found your acknowledgement

                  *I’m retired from the Marine Corps. Started working at 12, and won’t stop anytime soon. It’s how I grind 💪🏽

                • Lanknows
                  Comments: 6182
                  Joined: 8/11/2015
                  Lanknows
                  Aug 05, 2020 at 2:58 PM

                  Maybe this post can be believed and maybe not.

                • Lanknows
                  Comments: 6182
                  Joined: 8/11/2015
                  Lanknows
                  Aug 05, 2020 at 3:35 PM

                  Thunder found it for you JE.

                  10/13

                  “If Michigan beats OSU, PSU, OR ND you will not comment for 2 months afterwards”

                  10/26

                  Michigan beats ND.

                  A man of his word, a man who can be believed, would not post again through Christmas. You didn’t even make it through half of it, per the link below.

                  https://touch-the-banner.com/preview-michigan-at-indiana-3/

                  I don’t know the exact date in November you welched but I remember calling you out for it then. It doesn’t really matter now, because you either do what you say or you don’t.

                  I’m not mad at you JE. Again, I didn’t expect you to follow through in any way at all. The internet is full of people lying. But here for a moment is some truth: You lost the bet and you welched on the payoff. Then you conveniently forgot about it while bragging about yourself and trying to take shots (and missing again).

                  So don’t be so sensitive when Ol Spreadsheet calls it like it is or if nobody believes the things you are putting out there about yourself.

                  I welcome future wagers even though I know you won’t follow-through. No hard feelings and no lies told.

                • Thunder
                  Comments: 3785
                  Joined: 7/13/2015
                  Aug 05, 2020 at 4:57 PM

                  I don’t keep track of all the back-and-forth, but I will confirm – and he already linked – the fact that he followed through with a donation to the site. It appears to me that there were 2 bets, and he followed through part-way with one (not commenting) and fulfilled the other (donation). So I would say he does deserve some credit.

                  Personally, I wish we could all just get along, but then again…I guess a good argument gets some clicks going on the site. So there’s that.

                • Avatar
                  Comments: 1863
                  Joined: 1/19/2016
                  je93
                  Aug 05, 2020 at 6:34 PM

                  How didn’t I follow through on not posting? He even acknowledged it on the Frank Clark thread

                • Lanknows
                  Comments: 6182
                  Joined: 8/11/2015
                  Lanknows
                  Aug 05, 2020 at 6:51 PM

                  The bet was this: loser does not post for 2 months. JE posted after a couple weeks. That’s not following through (AKA welching).

                  I clarified what the bet was in the Illinois thread. I said very clearly “pick one” to avoid confusion. JE did that. I restated the terms for clarity. Read through again if you need to.

                  JE – If you want to give yourself partial credit for going a couple weeks go right ahead. I suggest not trying the “well I gave you some of what I promised” approach with your bookie or mortgage lender.

                • Avatar
                  Comments: 1863
                  Joined: 1/19/2016
                  je93
                  Aug 05, 2020 at 7:14 PM

                  Oh poop. Remember when I said at our age we don’t remember yesterday, let alone a year ago? Oops 😅

                  Alright, I said double or nothing. $100 donation is en route, and I’ll self-suspend for four months, returning in December ✌🏽

                • Lanknows
                  Comments: 6182
                  Joined: 8/11/2015
                  Lanknows
                  Aug 05, 2020 at 7:36 PM

                  I appreciate you admitting it.

            • Lanknows
              Comments: 6182
              Joined: 8/11/2015
              Lanknows
              Aug 04, 2020 at 12:30 PM

              On the cusp of the elite is where Michigan is at when it is at it’s best. At least if we’re talking the last 70 years.

              WE’RE BACK! Thanks to Harbaugh.

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