Former coach: Texas’ Raulerson, Michigan a good fit

Angelique S. Chengelis
The Detroit News

Jake Raulerson, a center who graduated from Texas’s business school in three years, is taking an official visit to Michigan on Friday, and his high school coach sees this as a great fit for his former standout.

Bill Elliott, who coached Raulerson at Celina (Texas) High, praised his abilities and thinks playing for Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh will be an ideal fit.

Raulerson in a Twitter post Thursday indicated he was flying to Ann Arbor. His official visit was set for Friday. He will have two years of eligibility.

“That’s something he and I talked about — playing for Coach Harbaugh and playing for Michigan is an awful big thing,” Elliott said in a telephone interview Thursday. “Having a chance to play for Coach Harbaugh, what else could you want with all the great tradition there and tradition of offensive linemen?

“What I told him when we talked, ‘Man, if you want that chance (to play in the NFL), what more could you want than a guy who has been there, coached there and has been a part of things?”

Michigan has a need at center now that Graham Glasgow’s eligibility has expired, and Harbaugh, entering his second season as the Wolverines’ coach, has made clear he will go the graduate-transfer route if needed. Quarterback Jake Rudock transferred to Michigan after starting two seasons at Iowa and led the Wolverines to a 10-3 season, and starting punter Blake O’Neill (Weber State) and reserve defensive back Wayne Lyons (Stanford) also were graduate transfers.

Patrick Kugler was Glasgow’s backup, and left tackle Mason Cole practiced a center last spring. Both return this season.

“Talking to the (Michigan) line coach (Tim Drevno) he has ability to come in right now and play,” said Elliott, who played at TCU and also is Celina’s offensive coordinator and coaches offensive line and defensive tackles.

Raulerson, listed at 6-foot-4, 295 on the Texas roster, was projected to be the starting center for the Longhorns this fall. He was recruited by then-coach Mack Brown, but the Longhorns are now coached by Charlie Strong.

He was a versatile offensive lineman and played nose guard for Celina, a small town about 45 minutes north of Dallas and with a stadium that seats about 4,000. He also long-snapped. He was highly recruited as a 6-5, 250-pounder, carried a high GPA, was ranked the No. 3 center by 247Sports, participated in the 2013 U.S. Army All-American bowl and ultimately chose Texas over Stanford.

“He did a lot of things for us,” Elliott said. “He’s very athletic and can move real well. The motor never stops running with him. He had so much energy and worked so hard and played so hard. He’s a guy you’d want. He’d pester you to death to know what to do and how to do it right.

“He’s a technician. He spent so much time working on his technique and working to get better there. I spent a lot of time working there with him, working his hands and feet and line drills.”

Elliott said Raulerson is extremely personable and bright.

“He’s a wonderful communicator, he’s very outgoing, and he’s a great speaker,” Elliott said. “He’s a leader and can make all the (center) calls. He is a very, very intelligent kid. He’s the kind of kid you want your daughter to date — he’s a gentleman. And on the field he’s going to get after it.”

Elliott, who said UCLA expressed interest in Raulerson as a graduate transfer, is looking forward to seeing what Raulerson decides.

“We’ve had one player at Penn State,” Elliott said. “Would be nice to have one at Michigan.”