OL commit Dan Samuelson: Michigan 'could be like Alabama, where no one can stop us because of our line'
ANN ARBOR -- Michigan inked four elite offensive linemen for its 2012 recruiting class. It has commitments from six more for 2013, each of whom earned four stars from at least one of the recruiting outlets.
That's 10 premium prospects, spanning two classes, who will jostle for time in the same unit. The job competitions could become fierce.
And that doesn't scare Dan Samuelson, who decommitted from Nebraska over the weekend to become the sixth member of the Wolverines' 2013 offensive line haul.
In fact, that depth is one reason the Plymouth, Ind., prospect was lured to the school in the first place.
"I'm not scared at all (of the competition)," the 6-foot-5, 275-pound Samuelson said by phone this week. "I knew who's there, and that they're great, but it never scared me. I never looked at it that way.
"I looked at it like two years down the road, this school could be like Alabama, where no one can stop us because of our line."
Michigan got an up-close look at the Crimson Tide's offensive line in its season opener -- and was dominated by it. Guard Chance Warmack and center Barrett Jones went on to become AP first-team All-Americans, and tackle D.J. Fluker was named to the second team.
Alabama went 13-1 and won the national title behind that line.
Michigan coach Brady Hoke hopes to rebuild the Wolverines in that model -- with punishers in the trenches -- but the offensive line remains a work in progress due largely to tenuous depth.
The line struggled this past season, outside of All-America left tackle Taylor Lewan. Michigan didn't have options, either, and went with the same five players for nearly every meaningful snap.
Depth was similarly lean in 2011.
But help appears to be on the way.
Samuelson is a three-star prospect and the No. 31 guard according to Rivals, and a four-star prospect and the No. 25 tackle according to Scout. Those are elite credentials -- and yet, he's ranked behind each of his linemates, which speaks to the breathtaking depth of the class.
-- Patrick Kugler (Wexford, Pa.) is the country's No. 1 guard according to Rivals, and a four-star guard ranked No. 6 by Rivals.
-- David Dawson (Detroit Cass Tech) is a four-star guard ranked No. 6 by Rivals and No. 7 by Scout.
-- Chris Fox (Parker, Colo.) is a four-star prospect ranked the No. 10 tackle by Rivals and No. 6 guard by Scout.
-- Logan Tuley-Tillman (Peoria, Ill.) is a four-star tackle ranked No. 22 by Rivals and No. 24 by Scout.
-- Kyle Bosch (Wheaton, Ill.) is a four-star tackle ranked No. 7 by Rivals and No. 3 by Scout.
Sameulson said he joined that group because he wants to be part of the nation's top offensive line -- or, as he calls it, "the next Alabama."
"The guys they've gotten are very good," Sameulson said. "They're highly recruited, they're highly rated. I've met all of them, and they're big guys who can move.
"Watching the national championship a few weeks ago, Notre Dame couldn't stop Alabama because their line was just huge and fast. I thought, 'That's what we can be, and that's appealing.'"
Sameulson originally committed to Pitt in April, then joined Nebraska's class in May. Michigan had begun recruiting him in February, but backed off when he made his other commitments.
Then offensive line coach Darryl Funk shot Samuelson a Facebook message around November to reconnect, and receivers coach Jeff Hecklinski followed up with an in-home visit. The recruitment was back on.
Two months later, Samuelson made the Wolverines' rich offensive line class even deeper.
He said Michigan's proximity to his Indiana home -- it's about a three-hour drive, as opposed to 11.5 to Nebraska -- was a major factor.
Sameulson made an official visit on Saturday, and felt comfortable in Ann Arbor, which he said compares to his hometown of Plymouth. He was hosted by senior receiver Drew Dileo.
"He was absolutely awesome," Samuelson said. "We're from different areas, play different positions and all that stuff, but I related to him so well. He took time out of his whole weekend to be with me, and said 'Whatever you want to do, Dan, we can do it. It's up to you.'
"He was just awesome. I would say he was a huge factor in me committing there, with how cool he was."
And, as many commits have noted since Hoke's arrival, the Michigan coach's casual recruiting style clicked with Samuelson.
"He is probably the best coach we've met in this whole process, as far as being down to earth," Sameulson said of Hoke. "He really just wanted to talk. He wasn't even trying to see where I was at -- he just wanted to chat. It was great.
"He has a very Midwestern feel. He went to Ball State, he's been around this area for a while, he grew up here. So he's a guy I can really relate to. It was just the right fit."
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