Landing Rocco Spindler Would Give Michigan Big Ten's Best OL Class
On Saturday, Aug. 8, one of Michigan's top overall targets will be coming off the board when Clarkston (Mich.) High offensive guard Rocco Spindler announces his college decision. At this point, Spindler is down to a final group of Michigan, Ohio State, Penn State, Notre Dame and LSU, and the Wolverines are pushing hard to land the highly touted in-state lineman.
So far, U-M has amassed four offensive line commits in the 2021 class:
If Spindler were to choose Michigan on Saturday, he would become the team's fifth OL commit in this class and would essentially give the Wolverines a complete offensive line grouping. But how does that rank across the Big Ten?
During the 2021 cycle, no team in the nation is recruiting at a higher level than Ohio State, but that overall success does not translate to the offensive line. So far, the Buckeyes only have two OL pledges, but they pair of commits are well regarded in Bellaire (Texas) Episcopal five-star offensive guard Donovan Jackson and Richfield (Ohio) Revere four-star offensive guard Ben Christman. While those players grade out as quality prospects with high ceilings, Ohio State is at a stark disadvantage from a numbers perspective when compared to Michigan. Not only do the Wolverines have four quality OL commits already, that number could grow to five when Spindler announces this weekend.
Over the past several years, Wisconsin has become a popular destination for offensive lineman that want to be developed into NFL-caliber players, and the Badgers have secured a pair of four-star pledges already in Grafton (Wis.) High offensive tackle JP Benzschawel and Lakeville (Minn.) South offensive tackle Riley Mahlman. Like Ohio State, the Badgers have landed two quality prospects up front, but Wisconsin is lacking in quantity when compared to Michigan and its early start in picking up offensive line commitments. If Benzschawel or Mahlman do not develop as expected, Wisconsin does not currently have the depth in its class to offset that outcome, so it leaves more to be desired when comparing offensive line groups.
Out of any school in the Big Ten, Iowa has perhaps the strongest argument when comparing offensive line groups head-to-head with Michigan. At this point, the Hawkeyes hold pledges from Winnetka (Ill.) New Trier four-star offensive tackle David Davidkov, Cedar Rapids (Iowa) John F. Kennedy four-star offensive guard Connor Colby, Blue Springs (Mo.) High three-star offensive tackle Beau Stephens and Lena (Ill.) Winslow three-star offensive guard Gennings Dunker. Iowa offensive line coach Tim Polasek has been effective on the recruiting trails so far, and Iowa comes closer in terms of depth, but the addition of Spindler to Michigan would give the Wolverines four recruits that are four-stars, which would be a decisive edge here. However, Iowa has also found balance with two tackles and two guards committed, so the Hawkeyes are a close second place in the pursuit for the conference's best OL haul.
Head coach P.J. Fleck is known for his prowess on the recruiting trail, and Minnesota has managed to pick up a trio of three-star offensive tackles this year. It is clear that the Gophers prioritized size and length in its tackle prospects because all three players stand at least 6-7. So far, Minnesota holds pledges from Chicago (Ill.) Simeon's Cameron James, Annandale (Minn.) High's Logan Purcell and Jacksonville (Fla.) Trinity Christian Academy's Austin Barber. For this class, Minnesota had a large need to restock its bookend tackle positions, and while the Gophers have achieved that, those three prospects have a lower ceiling than the players in Michigan's 2021 class. Fleck and co. would need to add two or three additional top OL recruits to challenge in this category.
It is well noted that the Nittany Lions have experienced quite a bit of success recruiting in the state of Michigan for the 2021 cycle, but that does not roll over to the offensive line. So far, the Wolverines have shut out Penn State in terms of landing offensive lineman from the state of Michigan, and if that continues on Saturday with Spindler than Penn State will continue to be looking up at U-M in terms of OL recruiting. Right now, PSU has landed Olney (Md.) Good Counsel four-star offensive tackle Landon Tengwell and three-star Harrisburg (Pa.) High three-star offensive guard Nate Bruce. With only two commits, the Nittany Lions do not have the requisite bodies in the fold to pose a serious threat to overtake Michigan offensive line coach Ed Warinner for the recruiting crown in this cycle either.
Spindler would certainly be the cherry on top for Michigan recruiting on the offensive line, but he is a player that U-M has gone all out for. So, his announcement on Saturday is a highly anticipated event.
Where do you think Michigan ranks in terms of OL recruiting in 2021? Will any school be able to make a late charge at Michigan's top position? Let us know!