I'm sure there will come a point in time where we are all tired of reading and hearing about Jake Long. After all, there's a lot of time between now and the first time he hits the practice field as a Miami Dolphin. So with that said, allow me to pile it on some more.
I've enlisted the help of Sean Yullie, who is the head blogger over at Pride of Detroit , SBN's Lions blog. Why Sean? Well, he's also a huge Michigan football fan and runs a Michigan blog called Michigan Sports Center. And as a big time Michigan fan, he's probably seen most, if not all, of Long's snaps throughout his 4 year career. Below are Sean's thoughts on the kind of player, and the kind of person, Jake Long is:
On the field... Jake Long is a workhorse. You've probably all heard the stats before. He allowed only two sacks (one of which was to potential top 5 draft pick Vernon Gholston) in four years of playing at and only had two penalties as well. Long is someone that you can trust to protect your quarterback, but at the same time will demolish anyone in his path when acting as a lead blocker for Ronnie Brown or anyone else running out of the backfield.
What's great about Long is that he knows the game of football so well. He has the size to be an All-Pro offensive lineman, but he also has the technique and smarts to accomplish that feat. Long openly admitted during the combine that he holds all the time. The catch, though, is that he is able to hide it well enough to prevent flags being thrown in his direction. On top of that, Long is one of the best run blockers I have ever seen. He was the lead blocker for Michigan's all-time leading rusher, Mike Hart, and played a huge role in that record being broken this past season. Hart was a great player himself, but without Long I highly doubt that any records would have been broken.
Off the field... With all of the talk now-a-days about the character of NFL players, it has to be nice to know that someone like Jake Long will never be a worry when not on the football field. He comes from a great family and is very down to earth, and I'm guessing he won't be making it rain in a strip club anytime soon. To go along with that, Long has a work ethic that is bar none. In the last few seasons the football program has taken on a soft attitude, and that happened in part because the little things like voluntary offseason workouts featured very low attendance. One person that you could always count on to be there, though, was Jake Long. He worked hard to get to where he is today, and his work ethic is one of his best attributes.
Perhaps the best thing Long brings to the table is his leadership. He was a two-year captain of the Michigan football team, which is a very rare accomplishment. On top of that, he was the player that really held the team together after the debacle that started last season. After a shocking loss to Appalachian State and a blowout loss to , Long remained strong and kept his teammates' spirits up. Although his goal of winning a national title was already out the window, Long helped get his team focused. went on to win 8 straight games after that and eventually capped off the season with a win over . Had Long not had the leadership to stay strong during the worst start to a season in football history, that team definitely would not have ended up winning as many games as they did.
A big thanks to Sean for taking the time to do this.
As always, thoughts below...