This spring recap is beginning to become a fall preview as the season is only a couple months away.
Looking at this Michigan line, I can honestly say it is a strength of the team, and by far the best offensive line under Coach Rich Rodriguez.
Going left to right this spring, we had redshirt freshman Taylor Lewan starting at left tackle, fifth year senior Stephen Schilling at left guard, redshirt sophomore Rocko Khoury at center, redshirt sophomore Patrick Omameh at right guard, and redshirt junior Mark Huyge at right tackle.
Huyge is one of the more versatile linemen on the team and a guy who kind of came out of nowhere in 2009. He grew by leaps and bounds from year one to year two and took over at the right tackle position at the beginning of the 2009 season, at which he started four games. He also started five games at right guard. At 6'6" 305 lbs., Huyge has the size and athletic ability to be a solid right tackle.
Patrick Omameh is an intriguing prospect as his recruiting process didn't necessarily begin with a bang. At best, Omameh was considered an undersized three star prospect written off as a MAC level talent. He was listed at 240-260 lbs. in high school, so it's easy to see why some were skeptical.
Now, in only his third year out of high school, Patrick has three starts at right guard, is around 300 lbs., and is one of the best linemen on the team. Omameh has all-conference written all over him and sometime in the next couple of years should accomplish that feat.
Rocko Khoury did a fine job this spring. Most of his snaps were clean and he will give Michigan the legit backup at center they so desperately need. However, this fall the job belongs to David Molk, a guy who needs to stay healthy as his health was pivotal in the Wolverines offensive line last year. He has 16 career starts and is one of the top guys on the Rimington Award's list.
Stephen Schilling is still at left guard and basically a fourth year starter now. Schilling was a former five star All-American recruit coming out of high school. He has 36 career starts on the offensive line and is in his third year in the spread system. Schilling is over 300 lbs. and has all the athletic ability to help make this offensive line become excellent.
Taylor Lewan hasn't stepped on the field yet in a real game but has generated a lot of well-deserved hype. Yes the Jake Long comparisons may be a bit premature. However, I can tell you one thing: this kid is legit. He's around 6'8" with a huge frame and long arms for excellent pass protection which he showed off this spring.
He is also closing in on 300 lbs. and he still has lots of room to get bigger. What impressed me was his run blocking and his mean streak...he finishes plays. He gets incredibly low, he is quick as a cat off the ball, and he is as strong as an ox.
His speed and athletic ability are uncanny for his size and he is "Taylor made" for this scheme because of that fact. His combination of skills are amazing and he is going to be very, very good.
This team still has solid depth with Rocko Khoury, Michael Schofield, and of course Perry Dorrestein (12 career starts). There is also Ricky Barnum and Quinton Washington, who were high school All-Americans. Elliot Mealer, John Ferrara (six career starts), and Christian Pace round out the scholarship lineman.
This a very experienced offensive line that features five guys who started at least part of 2009, and a unit that combines for 82 career starts which is one the best in the FBS. The overall talent, depth, competition, and knowledge of the system as well as skill sets fitting the system and having chemistry have improved. Plus, the entire two deep this spring averaged about 308 lbs. per man. Size kills in the Big Ten!
Overall, it is important to reiterate that this should be by far the best offensive line Rich Rodriguez has had in his time at Michigan. This should be a very strong unit!