Weight: 294 lbs.
High school: San Diego (CA) La Costa Canyon
Position: Offensive guard
Class: Redshirt sophomore
Jersey number: #78
Last year: I ranked Magnuson #76 and said he would be a backup offensive tackle. He started seven games at offensive guard.
I woefully underranked Magnuson last season, and I even got caught up in the whole "Ben Braden started the spring game so the coaches must like him" wave. Alas, Braden played as a backup in just a couple games, and Magnuson eventually earned his way onto the field as one of the five people to start games at left guard. Magnuson was not what I would call "good" but he was solid playing next to Taylor Lewan. (Personally, I was extremely frustrated when Michigan put Magnuson in at left guard for an unbalanced quarterback sneak against UConn, because I would think Lewan should be nearest to the quarterback and plowing forward for yardage. The attempt failed.)
Magnuson returns to his left guard position this fall after missing much of the spring due to shoulder surgery. The depth chart released on Monday says that he will start at left guard while left tackle will be manned by freshman Mason Cole. I am not a fan of starting a freshman on the offensive line, but that's the way it goes with so much uncertainty, a lack of much experience, and some terrible play fresh in everyone's mind. Magnuson's recruiting profile and play last year suggest that he could play left tackle, and he would probably bump out to that spot if anything were to happen to Cole. But in the meantime, this will give the team a solid interior blocker. Nobody on the line will be approaching all-conference status, but I look for him to be Michigan's best or second-best lineman this year, right up there with Graham Glasgow.
Prediction: Starting left guard
Thanks for putting this list together. Just curious - do you put your entire list together ahead of time, or rank each player one at a time when you do their actual write-up? I assume either way, you have at least a rough idea of the guys who will be at the top of the list ((i.e., Funch, Gardner).ReplyDelete
I put the whole list together in May, and then sometimes I bump guys up/down a spot or three as I work my way up the list. The top 15 has been pretty much the same all along, I think.Delete
The upside is you could have all three interior guys returning to the positions they started at last year. None of them started all year, but it's better than shuffling everyone around again if they had moved Magnuson to LT and Glasgow to RG. Only having 1 or 2 people return at their spots is bad news, and it's partially to blame for last year's debacle. Still, if last year should teach us anything it's that the August lineup may look VERY different from the November lineup.ReplyDelete
Agree with rank, good post, thanks!
There may still be some shuffling of the OL lineup early on, and though injuries may necessitate other adjustments, barring anything serious along those lines, I would really hope that by October we have a firm starting lineup, without things being in flux every week, and without the coaches having to play all of these motivational games. Our front 5 needs to have to opportunity to work together and improve as a unit if we're going to have a good chance to win the tough games in the second half of the season. If we're still struggling to find five stable starters in November (or, even worse, next spring), that won't bode well.Delete
I agree with you. I think the coaches are striving for some stability, which seems smart, but it may not work and change may come quickly.Delete
It'll be interesting to see how Miller and Burzynski (Or Bosch) play against App State because they are probably fighting for a starting gig the following week when Glasgow returns.
If Bosch starts, I think that's a sign that the coaching staff expects Miller to be replaced by Glasgow.
If Burzynski starts, it might be a sign that they are trying to red-shirt Bosch and trust Miller.
Ideally, Miller and Burzynski would not be critical pieces of the picture at all, but it seems like they will be, at least for a while. And Kalis still does not seem to be figuring significantly in the scheme of things despite Hoke saying, seemingly every few days, that if Kalis was healthy, he'd be the starter, and then Monday that Kalis was fully healthy. I guess the coaches aren't required to send consistent messages in their public comments and press releases, but I'm not sure why they wouldn't want to. Maybe we'll be surprised again on Saturday, and Kalis will walk out there with the starters.Delete
Seems like motivating players would be more important than keeping fans well informed. Miller should feel like he is fighting for a starting spot, even if he has only a 1% chance of actually beating Kalis for a spot in the top 5.Delete
Kalis is fully healthy? He's a lineman with a back problem. Those types of injuries on his body type are not good combinations. It will flare up again. I'd rather rest him this week, than risk anything before ND.Delete
Please educate me, if Michigan has a deep bench of equally worthless offensive linemen, shouldn't they all be clumped together further down the list? None of these guys seem like they have real quality.ReplyDelete
Mags is a solid player, and that makes him hugely valuable to this team. There is a reason that the coaches did not mess with him in '13 once he settled in, while the other OG spot was a revolving door. Even though he is not a bulky OG who will plow DT's, his feet are well above average. That means he is able to stay with defenders and execute the combo blocks and pass pro pretty well. If UM had a lineup full of five guys like Mags, the blatant blocking busts would go way down. He and Glasgow are both talented enough to work into starting positions on a decent OL (probably Cole too). But I am not sure you can say that about any other OL at this point.Delete
Just because you have uncertainty doesn't mean you have depth. And, while WE don't know who is good doesn't mean the coaches don't. Cole has been all but unchallenged, but if he falters then you're shuffling around. Maybe Cole belongs in the top 10 instead of Mags. But then maybe Mags is sticking at LG because he's the best OLmen and is critical for continuity and the success of the unit. So he probably belongs in the top 10. Then there's Glasgow at Center, the best returning OLmen and playing a key role at center. RG - there seems to be some uncertainity here, justifying your question. However, how much of that is simply Kyle Kalis' health? At RT, Braden has the size to be an impact player and if he falters then the whole line suffers. IMO - each of these guys goes in the top 20. Because the backups....well....Delete
Miller may emerge as a starter, or maybe he just plays one game against App State and then is your backup. he could be way worse than glasgow - certainly looked like it last year.
Bosch - may get a red-shirt
Anyone else? All the other options could be a lot worse than the starters. Burzynski is serviceable but his ceiling is low.
The starters are not going to be great, but they could be A LOT better than the backups. We don't know yet.
I'd say the other candiates (e.g., a LB or WR) will probably have quality backups. These OLmen do not. Even if they aren't good, they are very very important.Delete
Yes, you can have "depth" in the sense that you have three guys at a position who are all about equal in talent level, so that you can rotate them all through without losing much and so that if one gets injured, there's not much drop off to second and third string. That's not a bad thing in and of itself, but it says nothing about the overall talent level, and how it stacks up against real opposition in real games. The fact that someone has won the competition within the team does not necessarily mean they will match up well against guys in different jerseys.Delete
No, I don't think they should be bunched up lower, which is why I did not bunch them up lower. I think there are guys who have potential and should be out front or at least getting a look; and there's another set of guys who have very little upside. Joey Burzynski is not important to me because I don't think he's a quality option at this level. Meanwhile, other guys who can play RG have the ability to play well now or at least build toward improving in the second half of the year or for next season.Delete
Have to ask...did you put in your prediction before or after the depth chart was released-ha ha!ReplyDelete
It has seemed for the past couple weeks that Cole was going to start at LT. Otherwise, there was really no reason for him to be taking so many snaps with the ones. Michigan has plenty of bodies at OG, so if Cole were going to be benched, I think they would have done it sooner.Delete
Magnus, I noticed that you had Kalis at #9, Magnuson here at #4, and Glasgow is yet to be listed. That is, three of five starting OL that are ranked in the top ten. Does this mean, that you think the OL will significantly get better?ReplyDelete
Its probably more a statement that they better be significantly better or this team is in for a world of hurt. Sadly even by the end of the season I can't see this group (no matter how much they improve) being remotely good enough to hold up to Bennet, Spence, Bosa and Washington for OSU. I remember 3 years back in recruiting the talk would be how the Michigan OL heralded recruits would battle against OSU studs on the defensive line. Purely judging on progress so far, I think they will get the better of us, hopefully in a year or two when these guys are upperclassmen that will change.Delete
I think the OL will be better this year. I don't know what you mean by significantly. I think they will gel, but they won't be leading a top-20 rushing attack.Delete
I don't think there is any rational reason to expect them to be better. But I hope they are!Delete
I think Significantly better means that they aren't consistently allowing sacks and tackles for loss.Delete
This has to be the biggest season-to-season jump in the brief history of the countdown, no?ReplyDelete
Yeah...it might be.Delete