Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Ben Bredeson, Wolverine

Hartland (WI) Arrowhead offensive tackle Ben Bredeson
Hartland (WI) Arrowhead offensive tackle Ben Bredeson committed to Michigan on Wednesday. He chose the Wolverines over offers from Alabama, Auburn, LSU, Miami, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Penn State, and Wisconsin, among others.

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)


  1. Huge get. Huge OL coming. I'm excited.

  2. I was always okay with Harbaugh taking a couple fliers on camp standouts as long as some 4 stars kept coming in. I think he is assuming he will have 22-25 spots, and so he can have a few low 3-stars.

    How does he get to 22-25?

    Start with 14 open.
    Add 5 guys who will be 5th year (in 2016) and aren't even 2nd string going into this season, let alone when they get passed by younger guys.
    Add 1 or maybe even 2 QBs who realize they are far down the depth chart.
    Add 1 or 2 guys earlier in their career who realize they are far down the depth chart.
    Add a couple cases of bad behavior, don't like the Harbaugh regime, whatever.

    I don't exactly cheer for these things, but 5th years aren't guaranteed and it makes sense that if Harbaugh is taking 2, 3, 4 QBs a year a lot of those guys will leave before graduation.

    1. We'll get to 25 easy. This will be a big class. As you said, I can see at least 5 attrition, a number of 5th years not renewed, and a QB or two dropping out.

    2. It'll happen how it happens. Theres a few guys who are rumored to be off the team already due to medical issues. We all know Harbaugh is a hard-ass and he can dial it down or up as necessary. We already saw more than typical attrition in the offseason and expect to see more when the "open competition" plays out and guys are clearly buried -- there will be some hurt feelings and animosity.

      Harbaugh is not shy about his love for competition and that means that there will be some "casualties".

      Too much is always made about regime change effects on toughness (remember when everyone was talking about how tough Rodriguez was pushing his players, and then how "physical" Hoke's practices were to make his players tougher) but given what we know about Harbaugh I think it's fair to expect more than normal attrition.

      Clearly the coaching staff expects to have 25 (at least) spots to fill. There's not much point in projecting who the 10 guys are that will depart, but it's not that far beyond normal expected attrition.

  3. When you mention sprinkling in stars...what does that mean? What is the quantifiable difference between a so called 4 star vs. 3 star?

    Tell me the difference between McKeon and Upshur based on film and why I should be more enthused about Upshur. Overall, what makes Upshur so much better than McKeon.

    Thank You.

    1. Regarding McKeon and Upshur, I think McKeon is the better in-line tight end and also a better receiving target. Upshur is an excellent blocker, but not a great receiver, IMO.

  4. This guy is a certified road grader. Our OL is going to return to greatness when they would open up holes my gram-ma could make it through with her walker.

  5. Thanks for the detailed insight into what development Mr. Bredesen will need in order to achieve his maximum potential. While I always appreciate the comments about new commits posted in the other excellent Michigan blog where you post as Magnus, your's is the gold standard for obtaining objective evaluations.

    While it's true we haven't recruited many athletes out of Wisconsin - boy did we blow it on failing to recruit JJ Watt (betcha that Harbaugh would've found him) - there is one Wolverine alum not mentioned. He was a first team All-American his senior year, spent a decade playing for the Green Bay Packers, and was named to the 2nd team All-Decade NFL team for the 1980's.

    No doubt, this former defensive stalwart was the finest Wisconsin native to play for the Maize and Blue. Of whom do I write you ask? For those of us over 50, we will never forget the great John Anderson, one of the most accomplished athletes to ever attend the University of Michigan.

    Again, thanks for all evaluations you do Thunder. You make being a Michigan fan a more enjoyable experience!