Former Stanford center Drake Nugent committed to Michigan as a grad transfer. As a class of 2019 signee out of Littleton (CO) Highland Ranch, he has two years of eligibility remaining. In the 2019 cycle, he was a 3-star, the #15 center, and #1141 overall.
Nugent is listed at 6’1″ and 300 lbs. and has started the past 24 games at center for the Cardinal. He was named a captain in 2022 and is a two-time Honorable Mention All-Pac 12 honoree.
Nugent redshirted in 2019, does not lose a year of eligibility for 2020, and has been a starter since 2021. According to PFF (LINK), he has only allowed 2 quarterback hits in 993 dropbacks over the past two seasons.
Nugent is a little bit undersized at the aforementioned 6’1″, but he is tough and stout on the interior. I watched some cuts of a couple of games, and the biggest thing I came away with is that he’s unlikely to get pushed around very much. He may struggle at times with mammoth nose tackles, but those are few and far between. But if he’s supposed to block back and wash a nose tackle/defensive tackle away, then he gets the job done. He also has the quickness and leverage to reach block, get out and move, and stay underneath defenders.
Michigan is losing center Olu Oluwatimi to the NFL after winning the Rimington and Outland trophies as the nation’s best center and interior lineman, respectively. So they need a replacement at that position, and it could be Nugent; however, there’s also rising redshirt sophomore Greg Crippen waiting in the wings, who redshirted in 2021 because of Oluwatimi’s presence. Crippen is taller and longer and could potentially play guard if he’s good enough to win a position, but Nugent is limited to center due to his size. It will be interesting to see how that battle plays out going into the future.
Michigan has landed several prospects in the transfer portal so far this cycle, including offensive guard LaDarius Henderson (LINK), linebacker Ernest Hausmann (LINK), and fellow Stanford Cardinal offensive tackle Myles Hinton (LINK).
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