Friday, July 4, 2014

2014 Season Countdown: #52 Bryan Mone

Bryan Mone (#90) - image MWolverine
Name: Bryan Mone
Height: 6'4"
Weight: 315 lbs.
High school: Salt Lake City (UT) Brighton
Position: Defensive tackle
Class: Freshman
Jersey number: #90
Last year: Mone was a senior in high school. He had 35 tackles and 6 tackles for loss. He was a 247 Composite 4-star, the #8 defensive tackle, #111 overall, and #2 in Utah.
Final TTB Rating: 79

Mone received Michigan's first offer of the 2014 class, and he eventually committed to Michigan in February of 2013. As a roughly 260 lb. sophomore and even as a junior, he looked as if he might be able to stick as a strongside end or maybe a 3-tech tackle. As time wore on and the pounds added up (he's been listed as heavy as 338 lbs.), it became clearer that he would be an interior player. Regardless, he turned that athleticism into being a fringe top 100 player and earned an invite to the Under Armour All-American Bowl.

I was originally very high on Mone, but the added weight has me slightly concerned. I was under no illusion that Mone would remain in the 260 lb. range, but his weight ballooned in a seemingly short period of time, and he has been unable to show the explosiveness that he had early in his recruitment. He looked out of shape as a senior and at the Under Armour all-star game. I have flashbacks of William Campbell's lack of development, and I cringe at the thought that we might see four years of uninspired play from Mone. On the plus side, Mone has a respectable personal story (he helps take care of his brother, who has serious special needs) and seems like the type of kid who will put in the work to be good. I hope that translates into eating the right things and putting on the right kinds of muscle.

With the season looming, Mone has a very good chance of contributing this season, and I think a redshirt is off the table unless he gets injured. The starting nose tackle is expected to be junior Ondre Pipkins, who is coming off a torn ACL. Redshirt sophomore Willie Henry is capable of playing either defensive tackle position, redshirt sophomore Ryan Glasgow played quite a bit last year, and redshirt freshman Maurice Hurst, Jr. will also get some snaps at nose tackle. But if the coaches need some space-eating snaps in Pipkins's stead, Mone might be their man. The Utah native is the third-heaviest player on the team behind Juwann Bushell-Beatty (327 lbs.) and Ben Braden (319), and two pounds heavier than Pipkins. The sky is the limit if Mone takes care of his body, but at the very least, he should be a solid, regular contributor for the Wolverines.

Prediction: Backup nose tackle


  1. I'm not too optimistic about Pipkins, to be honest. He had a year and a half on the field before he got hurt, and showed essentially nothing. Henry showed a lot more in his half of 2013 than Pipkins, despite not having played the year before. If we find somebody else solid at the 3-tech, I have no doubt that Pipkins will be behind Henry at NT. Mone could be in the mix there, but it would be pretty disappointing if a 5 star recruit in his third year got jumped by a true freshman. If we're ever going to have a dominant defense again, we can't afford so many busts on the DLine.

    1. Michigan- where talent goes to die...or underperform

    2. This is a curious take.

      Henry and Pipkins are from the same class. Pipkins was pegged to play immediately, ahead of Henry in 2012. In 2013, Pipkins again had a rotation spot ahead of Henry. Then Pipkins got hurt and eventually Henry jumped in and looked pretty darn good. Comparing how Henry looks after a season and a half on campus vs how Pipkins looked early in his career unfair. Also, they are a bit different players - Pipkins job isn't really to get noticed it's to absorb blockers and hold his ground, while Henry is supposed to penetrate and make plays a little more.

      It doesn't mean Henry can't be better than Pipkins in the long-run, but so far the coaches have viewed Pipkins as the guy ready to make a big contribution.

      I'm optimistic about both of them - I think they can start beside each other and eventually (next year) develop into one of the better interior duos in the conference, and maybe the country.

      The guys I'm not so optimistic on are the tall DE/DT tweeners. Not sure why the coaches are so enamored with these types of players, and with the switch to the OVER, they seem to be getting squeezed out of a role.

    3. Except I'm not doing that. I'm comparing what Henry did right after he stepped in to what Pipkins was doing right before he got hurt, not to what Pipkins was doing in his first few games. They were playing the same position, with the same responsibilities, Henry was just doing it better. He was more active and around the ball much more often than Pipkins ever was. And many times have you seen Pipkins actually tie up two blockers?

      I'd LIKE to be optimistic about Pipkins, but I see no reason to be, based on what he's shown so far. We waited four years for Will Campbell to make an impact, and he was never much more than a doorstop. Pipkins looks to be on the same path, all of the crossed fingers in the world notwithstanding. Big, but not that physically dominant, and not much of a motor.

    4. Pipkins does need to step it up. I thought he had a nice freshman year, but he did not look good/improved early in his sophomore year and he was not getting a ton of snaps before the knee injury. Maybe he would have turned it on later in the season, but it was a little disappointing. He probably needs to limit himself to about 300 lbs so he can keep his energy level up.

      Mone certainly got a lot of hype in his first spring. Lots of teammates commented on his impressive strength. Agree fully with Magnus, that he plays early and that he needs to get his weight down. UM is playing a lot of shotgun offenses this year so these NT's need to be in shape if they want significant snaps.

    5. @Anon - I mean, the coaches have chosen Pipkins over Henry whenever he's been healthy. That should make you question your view that he has "shown nothing" and introduce some doubt into your view that Henry will start ahead of him. If healthy, Pipkins seems to have the edge for what the coaches want.

      I think the issue here is expectations. When a 5-star guy like campbell or pipkins is forced into duty early and doesn't look great, that doesn't mean we cast them aside at the first hints that someone else can play. The best linemen we've had recently - Branch, Graham, Martin -- none of these guys were dominant forces early in their careers. Campbell and Pipkins played bigger roles than they should have because our depth has sucked. Doesn't mean they won't develop into very good starters.

      I wonder how many people on here would have preferred to cut Brandon Graham when he was a fat LB turned DT....

      Back to Pipkins - yes, he needs to step up and hopefully he's working hard to get healthy. He's entering his third year now, so this is when you'd expect him to push his performance up a level. We'll see if he's ready. If he isn't, Mone will fall in line with other recent interior DLmen forced into roles bigger than what they are ready for.

  2. The talent seems to be there. The weight gain is a concern, but probably moreso for his immediate prospects as a contributor than a long-term problem. Some big guys never get it together, but there are many examples of those that cut bad weight and turned into very good good players. Big guys like Mone can lose pounds fast.

    No reason to redshirt him as he's physically mature - unless fitness is really a problem. Pipkins, Henry, and Wormley should lead the rotation but there's room for several more to get snaps and nobody is entrenched as a starter. The coaches seem to want a 6-deep rotation at the NT/DT positions. Mone will probably be in that group.

  3. I want to wish everyone a very happy Fourth of July, I hope everyone has a great time with family and friends, and is safe in whatever they do.