2021 Offensive Line
Last season, the Michigan Wolverines Offensive Line won the Joe Moore Award for the best OL in the country. But can it be even better in 2022? With LT Ryan Hayes, LG Trevor Keegan, and RG Zak Zinter returning, there’s a solid foundation they bring back. The two pieces they will have to replace are former starting Center Andrew Vastardis and RT Andrew Steuber, drafted by the New England Patriots in the 7th round.
While Vastardis and Steuber both started a lot of games for the Wolverines, neither of them were considered great athletes for the ir position. Vastardis was very good at checking into the right plays and making adjustments with his brain but was somewhat limited physically. Andrew Steuber was a more natural fit at Guard but played Tackle out of necessity for the Wolverines. However, both of them played very well last year, and those two starting spots are now up for grabs.
Stepping in at Center, Second Team All-American former Rimington Award Finalist Victor Oluwatimi transferred over from Virginia to plug the hole left by Vastardis. PFF also had Oluwatimi as the 12st best Center in the country in 2021. Considering Andrew Vastardis ranked outside the top 100 Center’s, it’s hard not to look at that as an upgrade.
At RT, the presumed favorite to win the job is Senior Trente Jones. Jim Harbaugh was very complimentary of Jones during Spring practices, saying “Trente’s always been one of the best athletes in the room. Really [improved his] strength, improved his knowledge of the offense. His toughness. Being able to be in there every day as a starter. In the past you had Andrew Stueber there, Jalen Mayfield before that. But he’s a very gifted guy athletically. His strength has progressed. I’ve always liked watching him. Whenever I put on 53, his number, I like watching him. That’s continued. He’s much stronger and more savvy now.”
Statistically, Michigan’s offensive line finished as the 15th best rushing attack in the country. They also finished as the 5th best in the country in sacks allowed. To improve upon those numbers in 2022 will be a tall task, but with the returning experience they have, the All-American transfer at Center, and an uber-athletic Senior ready to step in at RT after 4 years of being in the program, I like the chances of the Michigan Wolverines having an even better Offensive Line in 2022 than the unit who won the Joe Moore Award in 2021.
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