Michigan football notes: Philip Paea could switch to offensive line

ANN ARBOR, Mich. — There could be at least one position switch come fall.

Phillip Paea, the freshman defensive lineman from Berrien Springs, Mich., was asked by the Michigan coaching staff to give the other side of the football a try.

“The last couple of days of spring practice, I was just working at guard,” Paea told reporters over the weekend. “They took me in to kind of learn the plays and stuff like that, so that was really good.”

The 6-foot-4, 275-pound Paea redshirted in 2017, after arriving at Michigan as a three-star prospect and ranked as the 38th-best defensive tackle in the country by 247Sports.

It’s unclear whether this move will be permanent, Paea says, but it sure seems like it.

“I’ve been kind of working at both — left guard and right guard,” Paea said. “Just to see where I fit in.”

The move isn’t totally unfamiliar to Paea, who says he played both sides of the football in high school, including guard. Now he just has to re-acclimate himself.

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“Just changing up my stance, getting back into it,” he said. “But definitely once I got the hang of it, it felt like home.”

While a reason for the move wasn’t given, the Wolverines remain healthy and deep along the defensive line, and have a more pressing need for help on the offensive side of things. 

VILAIN CLEARED: After sitting out of all of 2017 with a knee injury, and spring practice trying to rehab it, Luiji Vilain has been cleared for contact.

The redshirt freshman defensive lineman says he got word almost two weeks ago, that he can participate in summer conditioning and play this fall.

“I had high hopes for myself,” the 6-foot-4, 242-pound Vilain, from Ottawa, Ontario, said. “My coaches had high hopes. It was definitely tough to sit back and watch the younger guys learn the defense.

“They did a really good job of keeping me involved — not letting me get down.”

Vilain played his final two prep seasons at Episcopal High School in Alexandria, Va., after moving to the United States from Toronto. He was a four-star prospect and ranked as the 101st best player nationally in the 2017 recruiting class, according to 247Sports.

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FILIGA’S BIG FEET: Did you know about Chuck Filiaga’s big feet? 

“Size 18s,” he pointed out to curious reporters over the weekend. And he has no issue with finding the right shoes.

“If you go on Eastbay, size 18s,” said Filiaga, the 6-foot-6, 345-pound offensive lineman. “Pick any style you want. That’s where I go.”

Filiaga redshirted in 2017, his freshman season, and could see some playing time this fall. But he isn’t ready to disclose where on the line he’s taking reps.

“I feel a lot more comfortable on both sides, left-right,” Filiaga said. “Any position, I feel a lot more comfortable.”

Filiaga, too, was a four-star prospect out of high school, where he played in Aledo, Texas, and ranked as the 14th-best offensive tackle in the country. 

HARBAUGH GOES TO NE: Jim Harbaugh and his coaching staff continued their satellite camp tour last week in Rhode Island (Thursday) and Massachusetts (Saturday), bookending promoted stops Friday at Wager College on Long Island, N.Y., and Howard University in Washington, D.C.

Harbaugh also stopped at Bowie State University in Maryland and Old Dominion in Virginia on Sunday. 

Michigan wraps up its schedule next Monday, June 18, in Ann Arbor, with big man and prospect camps all day at Michigan Stadium. 

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