|Hartland (WI) Arrowhead offensive tackle Ben Bredeson
Bredeson is 6'5", 293 lbs.
ESPN: 4-star, 85 grade, #4 OT, #53 overall
Rivals: 4-star, #4 OT, #49 overall
Scout: 4-star, #1 OG, #25 overall
247 Sports: 4-star, 96 grade, #10 OT, #46 overall
Bredeson was offered by Brady Hoke's staff and liked the Wolverines to begin. Things really started to hit their stride between the two parties, though, when Hoke's side was replaced by Jim Harbaugh's staff. The three front-runners were Michigan, Notre Dame, and Wisconsin, but Wisconsin started to fall off the trail a little bit and Michigan insiders were more confident than Notre Dame guys. It doesn't hurt that Bredeson's older brother, Jack, will be playing baseball for Michigan this coming season.
Bredeson has good but not great size for the offensive tackle position, and his body may be a better fit for offensive guard. I think the first thing that stands out about him on film is his nasty disposition. He plays to the whistle, and he continues to block guys even when he pancakes them or they're clearly taken out of the play. He's clearly frustrating to play against, because numerous guys who get pancaked look disgruntled as they get up after the play (more on that later). Bredeson has a good first step as he run blocks, and he can work double-teams up to the second level. He also shows some solid lateral agility that allows him to latch onto linebackers.
One of the reasons that Bredeson is probably frustrating to play against is because it looks like he holds. A lot. And on reason he holds a lot is because he does not get his hands inside as often as he probably should, so he ends up grabbing on the wings of the shoulder pads. His hand placement needs to improve so he can get away with holding at the next level. It's also clear that Bredeson is not being taught some fundamentals that will certainly be practiced at Michigan, so a lot of his technique will need to be revamped - his stance, his steps, his kick set (which is basically nonexistent), the hand placement, etc. I don't think his technique is sloppy or that he doesn't pay attention to details; I simply think he's learning "high school technique." Lastly, I believe he needs to get stronger in the upper body and improve his initial punch, because even at his superior size, he gets stunned sometimes by defenders who attack him straight up.
Overall, I think Bredeson is a player who could slide in at all five positions. He can stay low enough to maintain leverage at the interior positions, and he has the foot quickness to block guys on the edge. I do not see him being an elite left tackle prospect like, say, Taylor Lewan because Bredeson just lacks the length and athleticism that Lewan had. He needs to get in the weight and learn some new technique, and then I think he can be a mauler for a powerful offense. He's a potential All-Big Ten player.
Michigan now has fifteen commits in the 2016 class, and three of them are offensive linemen. Erik Swenson is probably a left tackle, Michael Onwenu is an interior guy, and Bredeson is a swing player. The Wolverines will only lose one lineman after this coming season (Graham Glasgow), but next year's senior class will be four players and the following year will be five more. Those large offensive line recruiting classes in 2012 and 2013 will be filtering out soon, so it's important to replenish.
Michigan does not dip into Wisconsin extremely often, but they have found some quality players there over the years, including John Navarre and Adam Stenavich. The last player the Wolverines got out of Wisconsin was punter Will Hagerup in the 2010 class, and Michigan has not successfully recruited a player out of Arrowhead since defensive tackle John Herrmann in 1985.
TTB Rating: 88 (ratings explanation)