Ex-Wolverine Players: 2020 Pre-Season

Tag: Stephen Spanellis


7Sep 2020
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Ex-Wolverine Players: 2020 Pre-Season

Jaylen Kelly-Powell

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I always like to keep up with former Michigan players, commits, and coaches. As we go into this crazy 2020 season (or not), here’s a look at where things stand for every Michigan player who has transferred elsewhere. If you want a recap of how their 2019 seasons went, check out this post (LINK).

LB Jordan Anthony: Anthony entered the transfer portal and graduated from Michigan over the summer, but it does not appear that he has picked a landing spot yet.

WR Tarik Black (Texas): In his first season after leaving Ann Arbor, Black is projected to be a backup Z receiver for the Longhorns.

S Brian Cole II: Cole, who was drafted in the 7th round out of Mississippi State, was recently waived by the Vikings.

WR Kekoa Crawford (Cal): Crawford was expected to be a starting receiver for Cal this year, but the Pac-12 canceled/postponed its season.

Hit the jump for more.

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29Jul 2019
Blog, homepage 4 comments

2019 Season Countdown: #36 Stephen Spanellis

Stephen Spanellis (image via Michigan Daily)

Name: Stephen Spanellis
Height:
6’5″
Weight:
300 lbs.
High school:
Baltimore (MD) Gilman
Position:
Offensive guard/center
Class:
Redshirt junior
Jersey number:
#72
Last year:
I ranked Spanellis #36 and said he would be a backup guard/center (LINK). He played in five games on offense and thirteen on special teams.
TTB Rating:
63

This was an accident, but coincidences like these are inevitable when doing a countdown of about 100 people. Last year Spanellis was #36 in the countdown, and this year he is, too.

Sufficiently amazed?

Okay, moving on.

Spanellis is Michigan’s most experienced backup lineman going into the 2019 season. He has played in 26 games altogether and 11 along the offensive line. There was some talk coming out of last season that he would probably replaced Mike Onwenu at right guard unless Onwenu stepped up his game. In positive news for the team, Onwenu is reportedly in the best shape of his career going into his senior year.

Even though talk of Spanellis starting has dissipated, he will still be a key backup. He’s the #2 center on the depth chart and has spent considerable time at right guard, though if he’s the sixth-best guy, the coaching staff would probably insert him at left guard if the need arose, too. (He probably lacks the foot speed to play tackle.) The 2019 season will be an audition of sorts for Spanellis, who has the chance to get a foothold on a starting position in 2020; once Onwenu and left guard Ben Bredeson graduate (and perhaps if Cesar Ruiz leaves for the NFL), there will be two to three spots open on the interior line.

Prediction: Backup guard/center

22Jul 2018
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2018 Season Countdown: #36 Stephen Spanellis

Stephen Spanellis (image via Michigan Daily)

Name: Stephen Spanellis
Height: 6’5″
Weight: 307 lbs.
High school: Baltimore (MD) Gilman
Position: Offensive guard/center
Class: Redshirt sophomore
Jersey number: #72
Last year: I ranked Spanellis #44 and said he would be a backup offensive guard (LINK). He played in 13 games at center, guard, tackle, and elsewhere.
TTB Rating: #63

I believe Spanellis qualifies as what Jim Harbaugh would call “an ascending player.” He redshirted in 2016 and became the team’s jack-of-all-trades extra lineman in 2017. Tom Strobel previously held that role as a tight end and extra lineman, and with Strobel moving on to Ohio, Spanellis found himself inhabiting that spot. He would occasionally wear #97 to line up in the backfield as an extra fullback in goal line packages, too. When Patrick Kugler got hurt in the Outback Bowl, Spanellis ended up taking over the center position while Cesar Ruiz started and played at guard.

In the great¬†All or Nothing season released on Amazon Prime Video this off-season, the production documented the coaching staff taking a look at Spanellis snapping the ball and beginning that transition. Spanellis was a tackle in high school, but he was expected to be a guard in college. Going into this season, he could very well be the #2 center behind sophomore Ruiz. I expect incumbents Ben Bredeson and Michael Onwenu to reprise their roles as the starting guards, but Spanellis is reportedly in competition at right guard with Onwenu, and there’s a chance he wins it. Whether he wins the job or not, I expect him to be a regular contributor, either as a backup or as an extra player for jumbo packages.

Prediction: Backup guard/center

19Jul 2017
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2017 Season Countdown: #44 Stephen Spanellis

Stephen Spanellis (image via Twitter)

Name: Stephen Spanellis
Height: 6’6″
Weight: 335 lbs.
High school: Baltimore (MD) Gilman
Position: Offensive guard
Class: Redshirt freshman
Jersey number: #72
Last year: I ranked Spanellis #95 and said he would redshirt. He redshirted.
TTB Rating: 63

Spanellis played both offensive guard and tackle last year and in the spring. He had and has some reshaping of his body to do, and it’s unclear how quickly that change will take place. Michigan is a little bit thin on experienced offensive linemen, and with three seniors having graduated after the 2016 season, opportunities have arisen. Spanellis isn’t in the conversation to start, and he probably won’t be Michigan’s sixth or seven lineman, either. That would be quite a leap from where he was in the spring, which was still on the two-deep but not pushing for a huge role. I think Spanellis will play this year when it gets to garbage time, but he’s probably a year or two away from being serviceable.

Prediction: Backup offensive guard