There can’t be many schools having a better recruiting week than Louisville is. After getting multiple defensive commitments since Wednesday, the Cards turned back to the offensive side of the ball; specifically the offensive line. Today, the Cards got a commitment from 3 Star NC OL Michael Gonzalez.
The 6’4 280 lbs prospect chose the Cards over offers from Florida, Virginia Tech, Georgia Tech, Illinois, Kentucky, Ohio State, NC State, and North Carolina, among others. Gonzalez is ranked 646th overall nationally and 35th at his position according to 247sports. Wide Receivers Coach Gunter Brewer and Offensive Coordinator and Offensive Line Coach Dwayne Ledford were the lead recruiters for UofL.
Gonzalez plays for Sun Valley High School in Monroe, NC. He primarily plays OT for his high school, but will likely play OG at Louisville. He maintains a 4.3 weighted GPA meaning he is truly a student-athlete. Many of the coaches on Louisville’s staff have ties to NC and have been making the state a priority, along with Georgia and FL.
Here is our staff breakdown of Gonzalez’s game.
Michael Gonzalez is a 6’4 280 lbs bull dozer. As with all our OL recruits recently, Gonzalez is explosive off the snap which helps him get the upper hand on his blocking assignment. He has good pop when he extends his arms and hands into defenders. He finishes his blocks with a tenacity that Louisville fans will appreciate. Gonzalez is a good pass blocker, but a GREAT run blocker. His strength is excellent and his agility and footwork are good. He’s used as a puller quite a bit while playing OT for his high school. Gonzalez is very good at maintaining leverage in his blocks which is so important.
Gonzalez is at his best run blocking. This is where his strength and power come into play. When the ball is snapped, he explodes from his stance and engages the defender. He maintains a wide, low base and keeps his pad level low. With his powerful upper body, he often times extends his arms pops a guy with his hands once sending them crashing to the turf. If that doesn’t send them to the ground, he maintains the block, drives his legs, and moves the defender yards down the field and eventually into the ground. His agility also comes into play when run blocking. His high school team likes to have him to pull from his tackle spot. Let me tell you, you do not want this tank rolling in your direction. He, in essence, becomes a lead blocker and I pity the poor soul who ends up in his path because they’re going to get destroyed.
As a pass blocker, what I liked most was his ability to stonewall defenders. Often, he can just stop defenders in their tracks and leave them trying to tip the pass. Sometimes, he simply gives them that good pop with his hands and pancakes them. His ability to keep a wide base and sink his hips really shows here as he keeps leverage on would-be smaller pass rushers. He moves well going back, but it’s not his strength. I think this is why he is projected by many as an interior lineman.
Watching Gonzalez finish blocks is what I imagine it was like watching Michelangelo paint the Sistine Chapel. I mean it’s absolutely beautiful. Defenders are routinely driven back 10-15 yards by Gonzalez and often end up flattened on the ground. Even if the defender is sent flying on his back, which happens in a few highlights, Gonzalez continues to stay on the block until the whistle blows. Effort and nastiness. Gonzalez exemplifies those words and I imagine Dwayne Ledford looks forward to working with him.
Michael Gonzalez has special talent. I can’t wait to see how he grows and improves under the best OL coach in the country. This young man will likely grow to be an absolute stalwart on the offensive line. Just watch the highlights yourself. To be honest, he stands out so much that they didn’t even really need to point him out in the highlights.
Depth on the offensive line was a major question last year. Luckily for Louisville fans, players, and coaches, injuries on the offensive line weren’t a major problem. Adding not only depth, but quality depth is a huge plus for the coaching staff. We all know that games are won and lost in the trenches with the big boys up front.
Michael Gonzalez is a perfect fit for the Louisville roster. The fleet-footed and agile interior lineman needs a little more work on run blocking, but really makes up for it with his effort. Gonzalez continually pancakes defensive linemen and accelerates to the second level of the defense looking for another fresh body. Gonzalez with his quick feet would make for a great pulling guard, but he won’t be counted on to do that much if any with Louisville’s zone blocking scheme. With Gonzalez’s quickness, agility, and flexibility, he will thrive in Louisville’s zone blocking scheme.
Whether it’s run blocking or pass blocking, Gonzalez finishes strong. Michael is a really good pass blocker for a high school player. He keeps his body balanced and uses his strong long arms to keep defenders at bay. It’s often an over used term when people say ‘head on a swivel’ but it’s a great trait for football players. Gonzalez is a player that’s always looking and alert of what’s going on around him. This, I believe, is why he’s so good in pass protection and which enables him to pick up blitzing players before they reach his quarterback.
The coaching staff was looking to add a big-time lineman with a lot of versatility, I’d say with the commitment of Gonzalez they have achieved that goal. Gonzalez played multiple positions on the line, and the results were all the same……BEASTLY!!! The quick get off, strong at the point of attack, and finishing strong and nasty. With Michael’s versatility it’ll be hard to keep him off the field. I think he’ll ultimately redshirt his freshman year, but be a multi-year starter for the Cards.
Michael Gonzalez is another OL that fits the mold we have all seen this Louisville staff look for. His effort is relentless, his power undeniable, and the results unquestioned. When Dwayne Ledford actually gets to teach him and mold him, Lord help the ACC. As we believe, he will likely play OG. Imagine seeing guys like Jalen Mitchell, Aidan Robbins, and Trevion Cooley running behind Gonzalez; talk about a dream for UofL and a night mare for everyone else. Oh, did we mention he has a 4.3 weighted GPA? Yeah, he gets it done in the classroom too. Gonzalez is going to be a fun one to watch grow throughout his time at Louisville.
With Michael Gonzalez’s commitment, Louisville now has 16 for the 2021 class. 247sports ranks the Cards class as the 18th best in the nation and 4th best in the ACC. Of course, we know the staff isn’t done yet, but my they have really killed it on the 2021 trail. Now we await the next one to join the flock.