Michigan offensive lineman Jon Runyan Jr. talks about the battle for starting spots.
Ann Arbor — Jon Runyan Jr. sees his father pretty much every day.
Every time he walks through Schembechler Hall, there’s Jon Runyan Sr., his framed photo on the wall with Michigan’s All-Americans.
The elder Runyan was a fourth-round NFL selection in 1996, was All-Pro in 1999 and played through 2006. Now, his son is a redshirt sophomore competing for the starting job at right tackle.
Young Runyan feels the importance of maintaining his father’s legacy.
“My dad was one of the great offensive linemen to come out of the University of Michigan, so I feel that pressure walking past his face on the All-American wall every day,” Runyan Jr. said after practice Tuesday. “I can just feel it whenever I walk past it. There is some pressure, but I try not to pay attention to it too much, but there definitely is some (pressure).”
Runyan moved from guard to tackle, which his father played, and gained confidence during the spring. He said he has made big strides in footwork and his technique and finishing plays.
He has worked a bit at right guard, as well, during camp, but is challenging at right tackle for the start when the season opens Sept. 2 against Florida in Arlington, Texas.
Runyan is fully healthy after separating his shoulder in the summer of 2016 while goofing around at a local creek. It took about three months of rehab, but that was easier than making the phone call to inform coach Jim Harbaugh of the accident.
“It wasn’t one of my favorite phone calls I’ve made,” Runyan said. “I took my lumps and learned from that experience.”
He was asked if he’s been banned from hanging around creeks.
“I’ve banned myself,” he said.
Runyan has watched film of his father and is aware he was considered an aggressive linemen.
“My dad was known as one of the nastiest people,” Runyan said. “I try to emulate that watching little clips of him knocking Michael Strahan down. I don’t know if I’m there but hopefully I’ll be able to get there.”