Normally I wouldn’t devote a whole post to the commitment of a former Michigan Wolverine to another school, but this one is special. Because former Michigan fullback/running back/linebacker Ben VanSumeren committed to transfer to the Michigan State Spartans.
Is it okay to dislike VanSumeren now?
Yes. Yes, it is.
Sports are built around rivalries and competition, and VanSumeren could have gone to 127 other programs without much of an issue, anywhere except Michigan State or Ohio State. Instead, he chose to go to the in-state rival. It’s understandable to an extent that an in-state kid (VanSumeren is from Garber High School in Essexville, MI) would want to stay close to home, but if you’re truly a proponent of the University of Michigan, you don’t transfer to Michigan State or Ohio State.
VanSumeren was a man without a position in Ann Arbor. He should have been a fullback, except Michigan basically got rid of that position with the hiring of offensive coordinator Josh Gattis in 2019. Michigan tried him at running back, but 9 carries for 20 yards and 1 touchdown didn’t show much. Michigan tried him at linebacker (7 tackles in 2020), but he was lost. Maybe he would have been better if he hadn’t played three different positions in three seasons.
I don’t wish ill upon Ben VanSumeren or his family, but I do hope he loses every remaining game of his college career.
Michigan linebacker Ben VanSumeren has entered the transfer portal. He would have been a fourth-year player in the fall of 2021, having signed in the class of 2018.
VanSumeren signed with Michigan as a future fullback. But with the move to the spread offense in 2019, essentially eliminating much use of a traditional fullback position, VanSumeren was a man without a position. He spent some time at running back in 2019 and then moved to linebacker in 2020. He did not have much success at either spot. VanSumeren ran 9 times for 20 yards and 1 touchdown in 2019. Then he made 7 tackles in 2020.
Perhaps the most painful part of VanSumeren’s departure is that his younger brother, 2022 defensive tackle Alex VanSumeren, was committed to the Wolverines and then rescinded his pledge a few days ago (LINK).
Michigan now has seen four class of 2018 signees transfer, including VanSumeren, TE Mustapha Muhammad, RB Christian Turner, and CB Myles Sims.
Let’s see more of this guy on offense . . . Zach Charbonnet. Charbonnet’s first carry of the game was a 70-yard touchdown up the gut on power. He ended up with 70 yards on 4 total carries, so his other three carries netted zero yards, but I would still like to see Charbonnet touch the ball more if/when the game is on the line. Michigan did a good job of spreading out carries to keep people happy and fresh, but we know Charbonnet is tough – and that touchdown run showed more speed than what he had last year. In the 2019 season opener, he broke away against Middle Tennessee and didn’t have the same explosion he showed against the Gophers.