Sunday, March 3, 2013

Ricky Barnum, #52

Ricky Barnum
Barnum attended Lakeland (FL) Lake Gibson and graduated in 2008.  He committed to Florida in early January 2008, but Rich Rodriguez - who was hired from West Virginia in December 2007 - continued to recruit Barnum, who held offers from Georgia, Georgia Tech, South Carolina, South Florida, and West Virginia.  He eventually made the flip from the Gators to the Wolverines on National Signing Day in February.  He was a 4-star and the #5 center to Rivals, and he was a 3-star and the #17 offensive guard to Scout.

Barnum redshirted as a freshman in 2008.  Michigan's coaching staff at the time really liked his mobility, and they started to work him in at various positions on the offensive line, including offensive tackle - despite the fact that Barnum stands just 6'3".  As a redshirt freshman in 2009, he played left guard against Eastern Michigan and left tackle against Delaware State.  In his redshirt sophomore season, he played left guard against Bowling Green, left tackle against Ohio State, and right guard in the bowl game against Mississippi State.  Barnum finally earned a starting job as a redshirt junior in 2011, earning three starts before injury his ankle pretty badly and giving way to Michael Schofield.  As part of his versatile training, Barnum had been snapping in practice throughout his career, and he was expected to be the starting center going into 2012; however, the surprise of opening day 2012 was that Barnum was back at left guard (Schofield had moved to right tackle) and fellow fifth year senior Elliott Mealer was inserted at center.  Barnum struggled with ankle, knee, and forearm injuries throughout the first four years of his career, but he started all 13 games as a senior.

22 games played, 16 starts


I was never sold on Barnum as a viable offensive lineman at Michigan, even when Rich Rodriguez seemed to be trying to get him on the field early in his career.  There was a time when "insiders" were suggesting that he could be Michigan's next starting offensive tackle, and that always bugged me because he clearly lacks the size to do so.  His best position was always going to be guard or center.  When Schofield took over for him in 2011, it was an improvement; the backup was better at pulling and drive blocking.  Going into his senior season, I thought - as most people did - that Barnum would be the starting center.  I even went so far as to place Barnum at #2 in the 2012 Season Countdown because it was so vital that he have a good season at center.  Aside from him getting bumped over to left guard, the entire interior offensive line struggled, ncluding Barnum. Supposedly, Mealer was the superior snapper despite struggling as a blocker, too.  It was a subpar season for Michigan's offensive line.

. . . being quite average.

Barnum runs well in a straight line, but Michigan's coaching staff didn't take particular advantage of his pulling skills.  Perhaps they didn't trust him as a pulling guard.  Despite his mobility, he doesn't stand out as an open-field blocker and he really struggles with drive blocking.  At just 6'3" and 296 lbs. or so, he lacks the bulk to be effective at guard on the next level.  Just like in college, I think his best position would be center, but his reported issues with snapping the ball consistently might be a problem there, too.  I just don't see a future for Barnum in the NFL.


  1. For the Nth time, let's all give thanks that there weren't any significant O-line injuries last year. So-so performance of the line aside for a moment, talk about dodging a bullet!

  2. Barnum was "average" ... within the offensive line requirements of the Big 10? Or regardless of the conference and offensive line strategy of other teams?

    I was never a RR fan ... but that said, I'm guessing his offensive line philosophy is quite different from Hoke's ... though exactly what those difference are I could not articulate.

    But let's say RR stayed at WVU and Barnum went there ... do you think looking back we'd still say he was average? Or would he within the WVU offense and the Big East context have appeared a better fit?

    Then change that to Florida ... would Barnum's size and style have been a better fit at Florida?

    1. Barnum was average within the context of the Big Ten. He would have fit in on middle-of-the pack teams, but he was subpar for Michigan's standards.

      You're right that Rodriguez's offensive line philosophy is much different than Hoke's.

      Barnum would have fit better at WVU because he would have been playing weaker competition and he would have been playing within his skill set. He was not built to be an offensive guard in Hoke/Borges's offense because he lacks the size and bulk.

      I think he could have fit at Florida as a center (if he got his snapping straightened out), but not as a guard. He would have been outmuscled, just like he was at Michigan.

  3. I really liked Barnum his junior year, but he seemed to regress badly in 2012. So did Omameh. I hope that's not an indicator of Darrell Funk's abilities.

  4. So do you think Michigan's line is going to be better overall this year?

    1. I don't think Michigan's line is going to be appreciably better this year, but I don't think it will get much/any worse, either. The tackles should be slightly better since both return, and the players on the interior probably have better futures overall, but they're young. I think 2014 is when you'll see a significant improvement from the unit.

    2. It seems crazy for a team to potentially lose two 5th year senior bookend tackles (both probably NFL draft choices) and actually get better in 2014, but I tend to agree. The interior line should be dramatically improved from 2013's all-inexperience-experience and the replacements at OT should be decent players too. Hopefully by 2015 (when Kalis, Magnuson, Braden, etc are upperclassmen) the OL is finally reaching a position where Michigan fans want it to be.

  5. I will remember him for: "speaking Florida" with Denard.

  6. Barnum was a major disappointment to me. He had a quality recruiting pedigree and Rodriguez seemed extremely high on him from the outset (and Rodriguez's track record with OLmen was pretty good in his brief time at UM). Injuries held Barnum back and the scheme/coaching change didn't seem to help.

    I expected Barnum to really come into his own in his healthy 5th year senior season but it didn't seem to work out.