Michigan’s current offensive lineman commits in the 2024 class reside in four different states, but it already feels like they are neighbors.
The group of five has its own group chat, which Austin (Texas) Vandegrift four-star Blake Frazier says is always active.
“We are so close,” Frazier told MLive. “I talk with them all the time and would argue I’m closer with them than some of the people I’ve gone to school with for the past 10 years. It is ridiculous. We butt heads like guys do, but at the end of the day, we are already talking about the work we are going to put in and we are going to push each other and gonna make sure nobody is slacking off. Just the bond we have is truly crazy.”
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Avon (Ohio) four-star interior lineman Luke Hamilton was the first to join the class last November – one day after the Wolverines’ win over Ohio State in Columbus. Lakewood (Ohio) St. Edward three-star tackle Ben Roebuck was next to verbally pledge on March 22, followed by Kanas City (Missouri) Rockhurst four-star tackle Andrew Sprague (April 7), Frazier (April 16) and Ponte Vedra Beach (Fla.) three-star center Jake Guarnera (April 28).
All five are ranked among the top-500 prospects nationally. Not coincidentally, most of the commitments transpired after they took unofficial visits to Ann Arbor in March and were able to interact more in person.
“I thought my relationship I had with the four Michigan offensive line commits right now really was much better than any other (schools’) class I had,” Guarnera told MLive following his commitment. “I didn’t really have a relationship with many of the other recruits at any of the other schools. Those guys brought me in and made me feel like family.”
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Michigan’s five offensive lineman pledges already totals their previous two cycles combined, but it likely isn’t done adding in 2024. The program his signed more than five lineman just once under Harbaugh – back in 2019 when it took six.
But with the unit coming off back-to-back Joe Moore Awards and the potential of losing a handful of starters after the season, it makes sense for offensive line coach Sherrone Moore and Co. to strike while the iron is hot.
“That is the interesting part,” The Michigan Insider’s Brice Marich told MLive. “How many do you take? I think right now six is the magic number, but you have so many offensive linemen that they either lead for or are in the top list for or still have a shot with.
“It is always a numbers game. It’s very fluid. That’s why I never give people a set number like six or five because it can always change. You never know what could happen. Guys you don’t expect to transfer just bounce.”
Michigan is heading into an important recruiting month and will welcome dozens of prospects on campus for official visits. The visitors list will include two more highly ranked offensive tackles, with the potential of more to come. Sugar Land (Texas) Fort Bend Christian Academy’s Bennett Warren is slated to make the trip to Ann Arbor on June 9, while Michael Uini out of Copperas Cove (Texas) is scheduled to visit June 16. Both are rated as four-stars and ranked inside the top 200, according to the 247Sports Composite.
But what if the Wolverines land either of the two tackles from Texas and continue to make up ground in the recruitment of top-ranked tackle Brandon Baker? How do you say no if he decides he wants to join the class?
“Let’s say you do decide to take seven, that means you have to take one away from another position probably,” Marich said. “So where do you look at? I suggested maybe safety because they picked up a late safety in the 2023 class in Brandyn Hillman, so that’s an option. But it’s tough.”
With seven months until signing day, a lot can happen. But even if Michigan, which currently has the second-ranked class with 17 commits, doesn’t add any other offensive lineman, it still will be one of the strengths of the class. Sprague is the highest ranked of the group at No. 143 overall, while Frazier isn’t far behind at No. 166. Hamilton checks in at No. 359, followed by Roebuck (No. 462) and Guarnera (No. 468).
“Our bond is ridiculous, man,” Frazier said. “I talk about our team (Vandegrift) and how I’m trying not to get too caught up in going to Michigan and trying to enjoy my senior year, but at the same time, it is really hard not to get excited about the class that we’ve built and the class we’re still continuing to build.”