A random poster on MGoBlog reported that Dann O'Neill has quit football; Brian from MGoBlog basically verified the original poster's story, so it looks likely that O'Neill will no longer be a Michigan Wolverine football player. This is currently just a strong rumor and has not been officially announced by Rich Rodriguez.
Coming out of Grand Haven, MI, in 2008, Rivals ranked O'Neill the #49 player and #10 offensive tackle in the country. He was listed at 6'8" and 291 lbs. and looked like Michigan's next monstrosity of a tackle.
Then along came Rodriguez. Rumors from practices suggested that O'Neill had a lot of refining to do to his technique and wasn't improving as quickly as many would have expected. Current rumors swirl that he just lacks a passion for the game; I don't know the validity of the rumor, but if you look at his pictures, he always looks sad. Not mean like I'm-going-to-eat-your-children-Mr.-Defensive-End. Not happy like I'm-going-to-eat-your-children-Mr.-Defensive-End-and-yum-they-will-be-tasty. Just perpetually sad like Jake Gyllenhaal.
Nowhere have I ever read a report that O'Neill was challenging for playing time. The tackles vying for time have always been Mark Ortmann, Perry Dorrestein, Patrick Omameh, Ricky Barnum, and Mark Huyge. Considering that Omameh and Barnum are both in the same graduating class as O'Neill, perhaps O'Neill didn't think he would get a fair shake. Regardless, if Barnum and Omameh both stick around, it's quite possible that O'Neill would have remained a depth player.
That being said, offensive line depth now becomes an issue again. Michigan's offensive line was thin last year, but we pulled in three good offensive linemen (Taylor Lewan, Quinton Washington, and Michael Schofield) to add to the six signees from the class of 2008. With Kurt Wermers and apparently O'Neill washing out so soon in their careers, the net gain from the 2009 class is essentially only +1. O'Neill's departure would leave us with twelve returning scholarship players to go with the three 2009 recruits, giving us a total of 15. Perhaps Barnum is more likely to stay outside at tackle now, which might necessitate further recruiting of interior linemen in the class of 2010.
Potential depth chart for 2009:
LT - Ortmann (5th), Dorrestein (RS Jr.), Lewan (Fr.)
LG - Schilling (RS Jr.), Barnum (RS Fr.), Washington (Fr.)
C - Molk (RS So.), Khoury (RS Fr.), Mealer (RS Fr.)
RG - Moosman (5th), Ferrara (RS Jr.), McAvoy (5th)
RT - Huyge (RS So.), Omameh (RS Fr.), Schofield (Fr.)
(Picture via Rivals.com)