Sunday, June 1, 2014

2014 Season Countdown: #77 Dan Samuelson

Dan Samuelson (image via Scout)
Name: Dan Samuelson
Height: 6'5"
Weight: 282 lbs.
High school: Plymouth (IN) Plymouth
Position: Offensive guard
Class: Redshirt freshman
Jersey number: #74
Last year: I ranked Samuelson #92 and said he would redshirt. He redshirted.

It's not very often that freshman linemen play, so Samuelson's redshirt last year should not have surprised anyone. After his freshman year, however, he is still listed at just 282 lbs. Aside from the fact that Michigan has a fair number of players with experience, offensive guards in the Big Ten have to weigh more than 282 lbs. Samuelson looked thin in the spring game, and he also needs to continue working on pass protection. He was a third-stringer in April, and I see no reason why he would rise any higher by fall. Two of his classmates have inched ahead of him (Kyle Bosch and David Dawson), so it may be a few years before Samuelson gets a real shot.

Prediction: Backup offensive guard


  1. "After his freshman year, however, he is still listed at just 282 lbs"

    I know you can't comment on Samuelson's specific case ... but in general, what's the reason for inability to gain proper weight? Surely all the tools are there at his disposal -- training table, weight facilities ... is it effort? Or is there perhaps a genetic component that says that only so much muscle mass can be added naturally?

    1. With linemen it's often about nutrition. There are some programs that encourage size, and there are some programs that encourage leanness. Michigan's staff seems to want a good mix of healthy eating and size, so the linemen consume a lot of calories but (hopefully) high quality proteins, carbohydrates, etc. It seems like Aaron Wellman and his staff help the big guys lean out before they start trying to add good weight. So I would guess that Samuelson (who was listed at 290 lbs. last year) will only see his weight go up from this point.

  2. Related to DonAZ's comment, I appreciate the health sacrifices these guys make during their careers. There's only one good (and short-term) reason for players to add weight: Maximize their mass x velocity product. Medical science suggests that there are some long-term risks, even if it's "good" weight. Common sense suggests the same. Cover your nutritional needs and get regular exercise of all types (which, of course, will require more calories beyond the baseline). Stop at that point.

    Here's an article on the topic:

  3. I don't know how realistic it is for us to expect 18-19 year olds to turn into lean 315 maulers by their second year of college. The three lineman counted down so far (LTT, Fox, Samuelson) haven't done much to ready their bodies for B1G football, but under normal roster circumstances they'd have a couple years to add the necessary size and strength. I'm curious to see how much stronger Kalis, Braden, and Magnuson are now that they're going into their third year in the program. Hopefully the shoulder hasn't held Magnuson back too much.

    1. Yeah - we shouldn't even be thinking about these guys until their 3rd year. If a guy is playing his RS Freshman year he should be an absolute stud along the lines of Jansen, Backus, Long, or Lewan. But, thanks to the Rodriguez transition and the subsequent recruiting priorities in '12 we're left crossing our fingers and hoping a bunch of underclassmen can be starters. It's frustrating that the situation was predictable and little was done to address it.

    2. The good OL tend to see the field (non-garbage snaps) in year 2. The ones who turn out to be good starters but don't see the field until year 3 are the exception. A player may not be physically mature in year 2, but the talent should already be evident to the coaches by that point. So it is not a death knell if Samuelson is only a garbage-time player this year, but it makes it less likely that he will be a good starter in the future.

    3. @PS,

      In the past, if a 2nd year guy was playing it was a future NFL starter. In the most recent 6-7 years, as depth has waned, we've seen a lot more people who were less than that start (e.g., Molk, Omameh, Schilling, and probably a bunch from last year.) Some of that was Rodriguez's offense being simpler than Borges' for OL. Under 'normal' circumstances, when you have depth on the OL, a lot of good starters can get buried until their 4th or 5th year. This happens all the time with the well established power running teams (e.g., Wisconsin).

      But yes, the likelihood of being an all-conference starter goes down as the years go. And certainly now, given the total lack of established starters any non-freshman not in the conversation for a starting spot probably isn't going to be an NFL starter.

    4. I have no idea if this is true. I'm just throwing out a possibility.

      Is it possible that starting early and being all-conference go hand-in-hand simply because those guys are on our radar longer?

      For example, Taylor Lewan was a four-year starter and he became a 1st round pick because he truly had the ability to dominate.

      But Patrick Omameh also began starting in his second year, and he never reached a level of dominance. Still, he was named All-Big Ten first team by the coaches as a senior.

      So why was Omameh named first team all-conference? I have an uncorroborated suspicion that coaches, media members, etc. get so used to seeing a guy on the field, seeing his name in the starting lineup, etc. that they start to assume "This guy must be good because he's been starting for four years." Meanwhile, a guy like Elliott Mealer might be just as good, but because he didn't play much during his first four years on campus, he's not as familiar to observers and therefore doesn't get named all-conference.

      My point is simply that it's tough to judge offensive linemen because they don't have stats and they're not analyzed as much. I don't really buy the idea that OL players can't improve significantly as they age, because we see safeties, linebackers, wide receivers, defensive linemen, etc. improve over the years. Why would OL be an exception? David Harris, Jordan Kovacs, Junior Hemingway, Braylon Edwards, Brandon Graham, etc. all started off slowly before blossoming into pretty good players. Griese and Brady didn't see the field early in their careers, but they ended up playing well.

    5. I would guess you're right Thunder, especially if said veteran multi-year start plays for a prestigious program.

      That said, I think Omameh was pretty good in Rodriguez's system and was maybe the biggest casualty of the transition to Borges. (That and the Heisman Trophy engraver preparing to unveil his untied shoelaces mod.)

  4. Samuelson was never a guy anyone expected to make an immediate impact. Unlike guys like Kugler, Kalis, and Bosch who came with accolades and supposedly the physical ability to be "maulers" quickly, DS seemed like a developmental guy who could develop as an upperclassmen.

    1. Nothing against Samuelson, but I am still annoyed that UM took him over Cameron Hunt, who started at Oregon as a freshman and looks like a future NFL guy. Based on last year's film, I'd take Hunt over Bosch and Kalis too. Oh well.

    2. I'm more annoyed they didn't take Pocic when he was very high on Michigan. He would have easily been the highest rated lineman in the 2013 class.

    3. The talent recognition and development of the OL is certainly questionable. Borges got canned largely because of it. The issue now is if he was the problem or a scapegoat.

      Also under question is the recruiting strategy as a whole, IMO.