Michael Onwenu seems like a perfect fit for Jim Harbaugh’s first full recruiting class. A monster interior lineman should be the perfect fit for the identity of Harbaugh’s future Michigan teams.
The big guard from Cass Tech has all of the tools to be a great fit, but needs some work in order to be that. If he puts it all together, though, he will be talked about as a foundational player for the new old school era of Michigan football.
Any time a player is as massive as Onwenu, the worry is going to be about him being too big at the next level. He isn’t a super sloppy 360+ like a lot of others his age would be, but he needs to keep his weight down. He’d be best to get down to the 330-340 range. Despite his size, he moves well. He’s not the quickest guy, but has surprisingly light feet.
I’m really impressed by Onwenu in pass protection. He delivers a solid punch and those light feet help him quite a bit. The balance he plays with is outstanding the majority of the time and the only real detriment is that he has shorter arms.
There were some things I really liked about him as a run blocker and others that I did not like at all. He has the strength to be dominant at the point of attack and does a nice job of fitting his hands and playing with solid leverage. He moves well getting out to the second level and pulling. He does a nice job of fitting his block on a moving target.
What I hated to see was him not being a consistent finisher. He would put himself in good body position, but not sustain his block. This happened far too often and it looked a bit lazy. The other thing is that I expected someone his size to be a lot meaner. He did not have a consistent nasty streak and was too finesse for a player his size. Hopefully that gets drilled into him at Michigan because he doesn’t seem to naturally have that nasty in him to really punish defenders on a consistent basis. It’s either that or he is conserving energy and that may have to do with his weight and conditioning.
The other thing he needs to improve on is being quicker off the ball. That may be a conditioning thing as well, but it’s an issue because no matter how big he is, he can get beat by the quicker man if he is too slow off the ball.
He has the tools to be a perfect fit in Michigan’s power running offense.
Onwenu could potentially be the best interior offensive lineman in this recruiting class, but a lot of how good he can be depends on how much better he becomes at finishing blocks and if he can control his weight. If improves and plays nastier and keeps his weight down, he can become an All Big Ten level guard down the road for the Wolverines.
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Jamie Uyeyama was a way too small defensive tackle at Idaho State University and a more appropriately sized rush end at Simon Fraser University. He was a coach at the college and high school level and is the son of Ron Uyeyama, a member of the Delta Sports Hall of Fame and high school football coach for over 30 years (hence the site name, Son of a Coach).