Michigan added three linebacker commits to its 2021 recruiting class, but the Wolverines also boast one of the most talented collection of offensive line commits in the cycle. Bradenton (Fla.) IMG Academy four-star offensive lineman Greg Crippen is a key piece to this group, and he will play even larger role for his team this fall.
At 6-4 and 285 pounds, Crippen has experience at both center and guard, though he will be called upon to snap the football for IMG this fall. As per usual, IMG is one of the most talent-rich programs in the nation, and the school boasts several five-star linemen on its roster.
Even with all that talent, Crippen has consistently drawn rave reviews for his development over the offseason, including from IMG head coach Bobby Acosta.
“Greg is the centerpiece to our offense” Acosta said. “A tremendous leader with strong core values. He loves football and his team.”
As a result of his hard work in recent months, Crippen received the IMG Academy spring offensive lineman MVP award from coach Acosta less than a week ago.
Earning that honor means even more when considering the physically gifted players that Crippen competed with and against each day in practice. On the offensive line, five-star J.C. Latham, who is ranked as the No. 1 offensive tackle in the 2021 class, spoke to Wolverine Digest about Crippen’s talent, and Latham commended the Michigan commit’s football I.Q. Latham mentioned that Crippen only needs to hear instruction once because he taken in the coaching and demonstrates it directly after.
As a true film junkie, Crippen has worked to make calls at the line of scrimmage before plays, and his ability to quickly break down and process opposing defense alignments is a strong trait to his game.
And when not studying the game, Crippen is often working to boost his strength heading into the 2020 season. Crippen has posted multiple videos pushing mid-size and full-size SUVs up hills during the coronavirus quarantine, showing his dedication and commitment to arrive in Ann Arbor in the best shape of his life.
But before reaching that point, Crippen is battling it out on a daily basis against players such as four-star lineman Tyler Booker, who ranks as the No. 1 offensive tackle in the 2022 class. Booker spoke about Crippen and echoed many aspects of Latham’s analysis as well.
“Greg is everything you want in a teammate,” Booker said. “Very passionate about the game of football. He is very technically sound and has a high football I.Q.”
To help provide a further look into what Crippen will bring to Michigan down the road, 247Sports.com national recruiting editor Brandon Huffman posted a breakdown of his talent after Crippen issued his commit to the Wolverines in March.
Brandon Huffman: “An interior linemen who is a natural center, Crippen does a good job of making the snap then engaging the necessary defender. Uses his hands well and keeps his defender engaged. Decently flexible, at times looks like he's bending at the waist but then shows more knee bend. Looks for contact and where he can deliver a punch. Occasionally lunges so we'll need to work on that and keep his balance while also keeping his feet chopping. Projects as multi-year Power 5 starter.”
As part of a regular series of Michigan commit film study, Wolverine Digest broke down Crippen’s skill set and talent earlier in the month.
On film, Crippen is a well-rounded blocker that is technically sound in both run blocking and pass protection. Crippen delivers a strong pop at the point of attack, which helps open up running lanes during rushing attempts. As a pass blocker, though, Crippen uses that same powerful punch to spin pass rushers off balance and to help carve out the top of the pocket from the center position.
In certain instances, Crippen does not have a defensive lineman directly in front of him, and the four-star prospect shows the ability to diagnose the play quickly and hit a defender with a combination block. This quick thinking will be useful at either guard or center, and it shows that Crippen has studied his position thoroughly.
Though Michigan also holds a commitment from Detroit (Mich.) Cass Tech four-star center Raheem Anderson, Crippen has the ability to play anywhere along the U-M interior offensive line.
What are you expecting out of Greg Crippen when his Michigan career begins? How early do you think he can see the field? Let us know!