Battle of the Big Men

Michigan Commit Erik Magnuson

Los Angeles, Calif. - The West Coast like the rest of the country is loaded with elite offensive linemen for the Class of 2012. Director of Scouting Scott Kennedy got to see three of them in action over the weekend and has the video for you here.

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It's been stated before but it's worth repeating at how deep the Class of 2012 is for offensive linemen on the West Coast and around the country especially when being compared to previous classes.

Thursday and Friday night granted me the opportunity to see three members of the Scout 300 play offensive line in California Max Tuerk (6'5/270), Erik Magnuson (6'5/280), and Kyle Murphy (6'7/285), . By comparison, there were only two players in the entire state who made the Scout 300 in the Class of 2011. One of them, Troy Niklas, is playing defensive end for Notre Dame.

USC commitment Max Tuerk (6'5/270) was in action on Thursday night playing for his Santa Margarita team. Tuerk is currently rated the third best offensive tackle prospect in California and the No. 16 nationally.

Tuerk is a relentless blocker. He fires off the line from his tackle position, at times playing right and left, latches on to a defender and chops his feet while keeping a strong base and moving his opponent almost at will. Tuerk has the agility to play tackle on the college level, but he seems to have the perfect size and mindset to be a dominating interior lineman. Depending on the depth chart at USC, Tuerk's quickest, most productive path to the field may be at guard.

Santa Margarita has two juniors on the line who will be heavily recruited as well. Riley Sorenson (6'5/280) wears No. 77 and plays tackles and Erik Bunte is listed at 6'7 and a lean 310 pounds. Bunte wears No. 73 and plays guard next to Sorenson.

The Class of 2011 didn't have three 4-Star players in the state on the offensive line. Santa Margarita could have three on one team.

#77 OT Max Tuerk 9/15 vs Trabuco Hills

Friday brought an interesting matchup of La Costa Canyon traveling to San Clemente. Michigan commitment Erik Magnuson (6'5/280) lines up at left tackle and defensive end for La Costa Canyon and 5-Star, uncommitted Kyle Murphy (6'7/285) plays full time offensive tackle and gets some reps on the defensive line.

The first series of the game gave us Murphy on the defensive line head up over Magnuson. A match up of two offensive linemen going against eachother typically will favor the one actually playing offense, and the first series nod went to Magnuson. He showed good upper body strength in being able to stand up Murphy and hold his ground against the bigger player, something he's probably not used to facing at this stage of his career.

Magnuson uses his hands well getting good placement into the chest of the man he's blocking without risking a holding call. He also has a little instigator in him. Michigan fans can get ready to read about the practice dust ups he may be in the middle of during the heat of summer two-a-days.

#77 LT/DE Erik Magnuson 9/16 vs San Clemente

Kyle Murphy is the biggest of the big three linemen that I saw over the weekend. He's listed at 6'7/275 and is visibly taller than either Tuerk or Magnuson. He has the prototype build of a left tackle with a frame that could easily hold 300+. He has great flexibility and runs like a tight end. San Clemente was comfortable using him to push at the point of attack or pull downfield after a linebacker.

#78 LT Kyle Murphy 9/16 vs La Costa Canyon

Ranking these players in a list is a tough task. Each of them likely would have been the No. 1 offensive line prospect in California in any of the last three years. That one of them has to be No. 3 now speaks to the depth of the class not just in California, but in the West and around the country.

They're currently listed in this order, Murphy, Tuerk, and Magnuson, and having seen the three of them in person and reviewed again on video over the weekend, I'm comfortable with that sequence. Murphy has the size and frame that give him an advantage at the prestigious tackle position over the other two while still a dominating force run blocking. Tuerk is a little more active with his feet and a little better drive blocker than Magnuson.

Deciding whether to offer these players a scholarship or not is a no-brainer. If I had the luxury of not having to decide which order to put them in and simply recruit them, I'd offer each of them a scholarship, hope they all committed, then put Murphy at left tackle, Magnuson at right tackle, and Tuerk at guard... and win a lot of games.

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