Name: Ben Braden
Location: Rockford, MI
Position: OL - probably right tackle, but could play Guard.
Ratings: ESPN – NR* (40), Scout – 3*, 247 Sports - 3*
Recruitment: Braden wasn’t a big name in the state of Michigan early on, but he has the potential to make some serious noise (if that’s possible for an O-lineman) in his senior year. At the time of his decision, he had a top four of Michigan, Wisconsin, MSU and Syracuse. He bonded well with the Michigan coaching staff, more so than with the other schools; Michigan seemed the most similar to Rockford. He selected UM on March 25th 2011, becoming the Wolverines first commitment of the class.
Offers: Michigan, Wisconsin, Michigan State and Syracuse.
Stats: Currently stands at 6’6 and 280lbs, with no forty yard dash time; although his coach talks about his speed as an asset.
ESPN Analysis: None available.
H.S Coaches’ comments: “He's just a big boy and hard worker, very unassuming, very coachable and very aggressive,” Munger said. He also coached current San Francisco 49ers offensive lineman Joe Staley.
“He's been blessed with size, strength and speed. He's the right kind of guy. He's been raised by a wonderful family and believes in the values his family taught him. For us, he's an awfully good offensive lineman and he's raw. He's coming into his own.”
Improvements: Needs to work on technique and gain more experience at the position.
Film Highlights: Player analysis + film (at bottom of page)
Final Thoughts: It took a while, but the Wolverines finally have their first commitment for the class of 2012, and it’s a pretty good one too. Michigan wants to take around five OL guys in this class, so it’s good to get off the mark on that front as well.
Braden has gone somewhat under the radar so far in his recruitment; ESPN still thinks he’s a DT! An early offer from Wisconsin (great OL school) is very encouraging to see though, as is the three star rating given to him by scout.com.
He’s only been playing OT for one year, so he’s probably quite raw technique wise, but he has the strength and punch needed to succeed at the position. Rockford produced former NFL 1st Round Pick Joe Staley, and another OL prospect that went to Cincinnati a year ago, so that’s a good omen.
Braden is more than likely heading for a redshirt, but Michigan loses a lot of lineman over the next two years, so he’ll have a chance to play early in his career.