Review of 2007 Recruiting: Offensive Linemen

Review of 2007 Recruiting: Offensive Linemen


April 23, 2014
David Molk

THE ROSTER
Adam Kraus, RS Sr.
Jake Long, RS Sr.
Jeremy Ciulla, RS Jr.
Grant DeBenedictis, RS Jr.
Brett Gallimore, RS Jr.
Alex Mitchell, RS Jr.
Tim McAvoy, RS So.
David Moosman, RS So.
Mark Ortmann, RS So.
Cory Zirbel, RS So.
Justin Boren, So.
Perry Dorrestein, RS Fr.
Stephen Schilling, RS Fr.

THE COMMITS
Mark Huyge
High school:
 Grand Rapids (MI) Catholic Central
Ratings: Rivals 3-star, #65 OT
College: Michigan
Other notable offers: Ball State, Central Michigan, Eastern Michigan, Western Michigan
Scoop: Huyge redshirted as a freshman in 2007. Huyge didn’t play at all during the 2008 season, but he turned into a nine game starter (five at guard, four at tackle) as a redshirt sophomore. He started another seven games at tackle in 2010 and became the full-time starter at right tackle as a fifth year senior in 2011. He was not drafted in the 2012 NFL Draft and his football career appears to be finished.

David Molk
High school:
 Lemont (IL) Lemont
Ratings: Rivals 3-star, #5 C
College: Michigan
Other notable offers: Iowa, Michigan State, Northwestern, Purdue, West Virginia, Wisconsin
Scoop: Molk redshirted as a freshman in 2007 but became a full-time starter in 2008 and never looked back. He started four games as a redshirt sophomore in 2009 but was sidelined by foot and knee injuries. As a redshirt junior in 2010, he was First Team All-Big Ten, a Rimington Trophy finalist, and the team’s top lineman after starting all thirteen games. During his fifth year season in 2011, he won the Rimington Trophy and was a First Team All-American. He was drafted in the 7th round (#226 overall) by the San Diego Chargers. He played in twelve games for the Chargers but was released prior to the 2013 season. The Philadelphia Eagles signed him earlier this offseason.


THE TARGETS
Bryan Bulaga
High school:
 Woodstock (IL) Marian Central Catholic
Ratings: Rivals 4-star, #6 OT, #70 overall
College: Iowa
Other notable offers: Nebraska, Wisconsin
Scoop: Bulaga started five games as a freshman in 2007 and was named Freshman All-Big Ten. As a sophomore in 2008, he became the full-time starter at left guard and was named Second Team All-Big Ten. He missed a few games in 2009 but was still named first team all-conference and a First Team All-America. He left Iowa after his true junior year and became a 1st round pick (#23 overall) by the Green Bay Packers in the 2010 NFL Draft. He has been a starter at both right and left tackle in the NFL and was an All-Rookie player in 2011, but he missed the 2013 season due to a torn ACL.

Jaivorio Burkes
High school:
Phoenix (AZ) Moon Valley
Ratings: Rivals 4-star, #7 OG
College: Nebraska
Other notable offers: Arizona, Arizona State, Oklahoma, Oregon
Scoop: Burkes started two games as a true freshman in 2007 and four more as a sophomore in 2008, but his career ended before the 2009 season when a medical condition was discovered.

Patrick Crump
High school: Hoover (AL) Hoover
Ratings: Rivals 3-star, #20 OG
College: Alabama
Other notable offers: Kentucky, Louisville, Purdue
Scoop: Crump redshirted in 2007 and had some minor knee issues during the spring of 2008, but then he quit football prior to the 2008 season.

John Elliott
High school: East Meadow (NY) East Meadow
Ratings: Rivals 4-star, #16 OT
College: Boston College
Other notable offers: Maryland, Rutgers, Virginia, West Virginia
Scoop: Elliott – who is no relation to former Michigan and NFL tackle Jumbo Elliott – redshirted as a freshman in 2007. From what I can gather, he did not continue his football career beyond that season.

Mark Jackson
High school: Cincinnati (OH) Harmony Prep
Ratings: Rivals 4-star, #23 prep player
College: Illinois
Other notable offers: Michigan State, Oklahoma, West Virginia
Scoop: Jackson redshirted as a freshman in 2007. He left Illinois for DuPage Junior College in 2008 and then transferred to Glenville State, where he started at left tackle for three consecutive seasons and was named All-WVIAC each year. He was not drafted by the NFL and now plays for the Spokane Shock of the Arena Football League (along with former Michigan defensive tackle Terrance Taylor).

Josh Oglesby
High school: Milwaukee (WI) St. Frances
Ratings: Rivals 5-star, #1 OT, #10 overall
College: Wisconsin
Other notable offers: Nebraska, Notre Dame, Ohio State, USC
Scoop: Oglesby redshirted as a freshman in 2007 before starting three, ten, and two games in the successive seasons, missing portions of each with knee problems. He finally stayed healthy and blossomed as a fifth year senior in 2011 when he started thirteen games and was named First Team All-Big Ten. He went undrafted in the 2012 NFL Draft and was signed by the Washington Redskins, but his knee problems forced him to fail his physicals and his career ended. He spent 2013 as a graduate assistant at Wisconsin.

Maurkice Pouncey
High school:
 Lakeland (FL) Lakeland
Ratings: Rivals 4-star, #15 OG
College: Florida
Other notable offers: Clemson, Florida State, Miami, Nebraska
Scoop: Pouncey started eleven games as a freshman in 2007 and fourteen as a sophomore in 2008. As a true junior in 2009, he was a First Team All-American and All-SEC as Florida’s center, also winning the Rimgton Trophy. He left college early and entered the 2010 NFL Draft, where he was selected in the 1st round (#18 overall) by the Pittsburgh Steelers. He was named to the Pro Bowl following the 2010

Michael Pouncey
High school:
 Lakeland (FL) Lakeland
Ratings: Rivals 4-star, #16 OG
College: Florida
Other notable offers: Clemson, Florida State, Miami, Nebraska
Scoop: Maurkice’s twin brother, Mike played defensive tackle as a freshman in 2007 due to some injuries on the team, making 8 tackles and 1 interception. As a sophomore in 2008, he started all fourteen games at offensive guard and was named Second Team All-SEC. He became a Second Team All-American as a junior in 2009. Then as a senior in 2010, he moved to center (replacing his brother, who went to the NFL) and became Second Team All-SEC. He was drafted in the 1st round (#15 overall) by the Miami Dolphins in the 2011 NFL Draft. He has started 46 games for the Dolphins from 2011-2013 and was named to the Pro Bowl in 2013.

Chaz Ramsey
High school:
 Madison (MS) Central
Ratings: Rivals 4-star, #12 OG
College: Auburn
Other notable offers: Mississippi, Mississippi State, South Carolina
Scoop: Ramsey started ten games as a true freshman in 2007 and was named to the SEC All-Freshman team, also earning Honorable Mention Freshman All-America. Ramsey injured his back prior to the 2008 season, which ended his career; that injury instigated a lawsuit against Auburn’s athletic trainer, whom Ramsey blamed for the permanent injury during his rehab.

Matt Romine
High school: Tulsa (OK) Union
Ratings: Rivals 4-star, #3 OT, #55 overall
College: Notre Dame
Other notable offers: Florida, Miami, Oklahoma
Scoop: Romine played sparingly as a freshman in 2007, which garnered him a redshirt, and then was a backup for the next two years. As a redshirt junior in 2010, he made three starts in the middle of the year. He was a grad year transfer to Tulsa in 2011 and started all thirteen games that season. He was not drafted in the 2012 NFL Draft and was not picked up by a pro team, as far as I can tell.

Darris Sawtelle
High school: Birmingham (MI) Brother Rice
Ratings: Rivals 4-star, #10 OT,
College: Tennessee Grand Valley State
Other notable offers: Michigan State, Nebraska
Scoop: Sawtelle redshirted at Tennessee in 2007 and did not see game action in 2008. When Lane Kiffin was hired at Tennessee, he and Sawtelle didn’t see eye to eye, so Sawtelle transferred to Grand Valley State in 2009. He played ten games that season but appears to have left the team prior to 2010.

Mitchell Schwartz
High school: Pacific Palisades (CA) Palisades
Ratings: Rivals 3-star, #27 OT
College: Cal
Other notable offers: Oregon, Stanford, Virginia
Scoop: Schwartz redshirted in 2007 but immediately drew into the lineup as a redshirt freshman, starting the next 51 games of his career at Cal. He was Second Team All-Pac 10 as a redshirt junior in 2010 and moved up to First Team as a fifth year senior in 2011. He was a 2nd round pick (#37 overall) by the Cleveland Browns in the 2012 NFL Draft. He has started all 32 games of his pro career.

Derek Sherrod
High school: Columbus (MS) Caledonia
Ratings: Rivals 4-star, #13 OT
College: Mississippi State
Other notable offers: Florida, Miami, Mississippi, Notre Dame
Scoop: Sherrod was a backup as a freshman in 2007 but became a starter for the 2008-2010 seasons, getting the nod at left tackle in his final 36 games. He was First Team All-SEC as a senior in 2010. He was a 1st round pick (#32 overall) by the Green Bay Packers in the 2011 NFL Draft. He has played in just twelve games during his three-year NFL career, partly due to a broken leg that robbed him of part of 2011 and all of 2012.

Donald Stephenson
High school: Blue Springs (MO) Blue Springs
Ratings: Rivals 3-star, #34 OT
College: Oklahoma
Other notable offers: Missouri, Nebraska
Scoop: Stephenson redshirted as a freshman in 2007 before playing in seven games as a backup in 2008. He missed the 2009 season, partially due to injury, but returned to start ten games in 2010 and total 103 knockdown blocks, which was second on Oklahoma’s line. As a fifth year senior in 2011, he was Honorable Mention All-Big 12. He was drafted in the 3rd round (#74 overall) by the Kansas City Chiefs in the 2012 NFL Draft, and he has started 14 games over the last two seasons.

Stefen Wisniewski
High school:
 Pittsburgh (PA) Central Catholic
Ratings: Rivals 4-star, #8 OG
College: Penn State
Other notable offers: Georgia Tech, Northwestern, West Virginia
Scoop: Wisniewski played in eight games and started one as a true freshman in 2007, earning him Freshman All-Big Ten honors. He became a full-time starter at right guard for the 2008 season. Moving from guard to center for his junior year in 2009, Wisniewski was named First Team All-Big Ten. Not only did he maintain that status a year later, but he added First Team All-America in 2010. He was selected in the 2nd round (#45 overall) by the Oakland Raiders in the 2011 NFL Draft and has started all 45 games he has played since entering the league, both at guard and center.

Lee Ziemba
High school: Rogers (AR) Rogers
Ratings: Rivals 4-star, #4 OT, 61 overall
College: Auburn
Other notable offers: Arkansas, Nebraska, Notre Dame, USC
Scoop: Ziemba started thirteen games as a true freshman in 2007 and was named a Freshman All-America, and he started twelve more games as a sophomore. With thirteen starts as a junior in 2009, he was named Second Team All-SEC. As a senior in 2010, he was an All-American and First Team All-SEC after starting all fourteen games, and the SEC coaches gave him the Jacobs Blocking Trophy, which is awarded to the conference’s best blocker. Overall, he started 52 games for Auburn. He was drafted in the 7th round (#244 overall) by the Indianapolis Colts in the 2011 NFL Draft and played six games for them in 2011, but he has not played since then.

CONCLUSIONS
Biggest miss: Mike Pouncey. This is a difficult choice because Michigan recruited several good players. I could probably choose Maurkice Pouncey, Stefen Wisniewski, or Bryan Bulaga here, too. However, Michigan got a good center in Molk, so Maurkice Pouncey would have been a luxury, although he could have played guard next to Molk. Wisniewski, too, could have been a guard for Michigan. But Mike Pouncey had success at both guard and center, and while I thought Michigan was able to piece together some quality tackle play over the years, the interior of the line seemed a little more questionable. If you plug in Mike Pouncey at right or left guard during the Rodriguez years, I think that would have helped quite a bit.

Biggest bust: John Elliott. I can find no record of injury or family strife for Elliott, who it appears quit football entirely. Either way, he was the #16 offensive tackle in the country and appears not to have played a single down of college football.

Best in class: Maurkice Pouncey. Really, there are lots of options, as several guys turned into high level draft picks and solid NFL players. Pouncey, though, won the Rimington Trophy, became the #18 pick as a center (which is very high to pick a center), and was a Pro Bowler for his first few years in the league, stopped only by a torn ACL at the beginning of 2013.

2 comments

  1. Comments: 21557
    GoBlueInNYC
    Apr 23, 2014 at 11:29 AM

    I really enjoy these types of retrospective articles, along with stuff like "Wolverines in the NFL" and checking in on how former commits/UM transfer players are doing. Thanks for putting this stuff together.

    It's interesting, I don't think I've ever considered the fact that Molk was brought in by Carr, not Rodriguez. He was such a key piece to Rodriguez's offense functioning, I guess I always just associated the two.

    • Comments: 21557
      Apr 23, 2014 at 11:45 AM

      Good. I'm glad people enjoy them.

      Yeah, it's really interesting that Molk was brought in by Carr. I think you might be able to make the argument that Molk was the best college player (not necessarily NFL prospect) of the Rodriguez years, yet he was recruited for a different system. Michigan had already moved back to a zone blocking system, but Molk's shotgun snaps were excellent and his quickness helped out with the running game more than I believe it would have under Carr's offense. Not that Molk would have done poorly if Carr had remained the coach, but he was basically the perfect center for Rodriguez's offense.

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