Goodbye, Jon Runyan, Jr.

Goodbye, Jon Runyan, Jr.

January 14, 2020
Jon Runyan, Jr. (image via MLive)

Thanks to Keith, Ashley, Stephen, and Javier for the generous Paypal donations!

Runyan, the son of former Michigan star tackle Jon Runyan, attended Philadelphia (NJ) St. Joseph’s. He only listed one offer on his recruiting pages, and that was from the Michigan Wolverines. His final ranking came in as a 3-star, the #124 offensive tackle, and #1138 overall. I gave him a final TTB Rating of 73 (LINK). From his commitment post:

Overall, I would have no problem playing Runyan at offensive tackle if he adds a little bit of length. He has the foot speed and coordination to be a blind side tackle if necessary. He may have to move inside to guard if he doesn’t hit that growth spurt. So much depends on size that it’s tough to project him far down the road, but based on his genes, athleticism, and technique, I think he could be a very good college player.

Hit the jump for more.

Runyan was listed at 6’4″ and 245 lbs. when he committed to Michigan, so it was expected that he would need some time to develop. He redshirted in 2015 and played in just one game in 2016. He became a backup in 2017, when he played in eight games. There wasn’t much buzz about him, and rumors started to bubble up that maybe he was a guy who would never play. The 2018 season opener saw Runyan start at left tackle against Notre Dame, where he struggled mightily. And then . . . he was fine. Good, even. He was 1st Team All-Big Ten in 2018, and then again in 2019.

34 games played (26 starts)

1st Team All-Big Ten (2018, 2019)
Hugh H. Rader Award (best lineman) in 2018

Runyan had the type of career that I came to expect as a young Michigan fan. He didn’t play much early in his career, blocked by the likes of Mason Cole, Grant Newsome, and Ben Braden. A lot of people thought he would be an offensive guard because of his height, but then he surprised many by showing up at left tackle in the 2018 season opener. I did not think he would have the length to play tackle, but fast forward a few seasons later, and Runyan handled himself just fine at left tackle. He wasn’t a dominant player, but it’s generally a good thing if you go unnoticed on the offensive line, especially at left tackle, where teams put their best rushers and try to blitz people to attack the quarterback’s blind side. Some players stick out like a sore thumb, but Runyan consistently did his job.

…being a standout athlete for a lineman. When I attended the 2016 open practice at Ford Field, the two athletes that stood out most were Chase Winovich and Jon Runyan, Jr. Winovich was hustling all over the place and pissing off the offensive players, and Runyan was an anomaly for being so quick and agile, despite being listed at 304 lbs. at the time and practicing at guard.

Runyan’s career was somewhat reminiscent of someone like Tony Pape, who blossomed into a solid enough player to be a 1st team all-conference choice and a 7th round pick by the Dolphins. I think NFL teams are going to be scared off by Runyan’s lack of height (his listed 6’5″ height might be inflated by an inch, if not two) and the fact that his body looks to be almost maxed out when it comes to a bulk perspective. He could be a late round pick, and he will certainly get brought in as an undrafted free agent if he doesn’t get drafted, but I don’t think he will last long in the NFL.


  1. Avatar
    Comments: 1785
    Joined: 1/19/2016
    Jan 14, 2020 at 8:19 AM

    I don’t think Runyan will get drafted, but here’s a young man who outplayed expectations, and probably saved us from a few more embarrassing losses

    Best of luck and Go Blue

  2. GKblue
    Comments: 347
    Joined: 8/11/2015
    Jan 14, 2020 at 10:45 AM

    “Runyan had the type of career that I came to expect as a young Michigan fan.”
    Exactly, stuck around and did himself proud. Outperformed most expectations at left tackle. I can see him UFA, maybe late rounder as utility lineman.

    • DonAZ
      Comments: 504
      Joined: 8/12/2015
      Jan 14, 2020 at 10:58 AM

      Or more likely he’ll get a job as a salesperson and make a lot of money there.

  3. Lanknows
    Comments: 5873
    Joined: 8/11/2015
    Jan 14, 2020 at 12:40 PM

    Very nice career for Runyan. Not many make 1st team all conference twice in their career. Even fewer who come in with middling ratings. Impressive!

    As noted in the post, he really did not look like he would contribute and then bam – his senior year he breaks out into a starter at left tackle. One of the more surprising breakouts I can remember.

    Early on I thought he might end up at center to take advantage of his athleticism.

    As far as NFL prospects go – is height still an issue if he moves to guard? I saw Onwenu get listed at 6’2, so presumably an even bigger issue for him though he is obviously much bigger. I think the NFL – like NBA – is probably more focused on length (AKA wingspan) these days and Onwenu supposedly has pretty long arms. Not sure about JRJ…

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