Name: Ben VanSumeren
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