BRIAN MAX SCHWENKE. JR.
University of California at Berkeley Golden Bears
Oceanside High School
For three seasons, Schwenke was a long range offensive guard prospect with impressive athletic ability, drawing curiosity from professional scouts during his junior season. When those talent evaluators returned to Cal’s campus in 2012, they discovered a transformation in the drive blocker. A move to center for his senior season thrust Schwenke into the elite group of offensive linemen expected to hear their names called early during the draft in April.
California has never been known as a “football pipeline” for the National Football League, but did have forty-six former players in NFL training camps prior to last season. Only seven were offensive linemen and the only one that would be regarded among the best in the pro ranks is All-Pro center Alex Mack, a top pick by the Cleveland Browns in the 2009 draft.
Much like Mack, Schwenke’s athletic ability is the first thing you notice when watching game film. He was one of the few bright spots for the team in 2012, registering 85 key blocks/knockdowns while delivering thirteen touchdown-resulting blocks for a running unit that scored just sixteen times during his senior campaign.
Similar to Mack, Schwenke shows excellent initial quickness and good hand placement. He is very light on his feet for a center and uses his timed speed to consistently get into his second level blocks. He moves well going long distances, showing balance, flexibility and lateral agility on running plays. He has impressive lower body strength, but can also rely on his quickness, short area burst and angles to block.
With his foot speed and balance, Schwenke does a nice job of shifting his weight for quick retreat moves in pass protection. He demonstrates good knee bend, he has more than enough burst to get to the second level with ease.
As a run blocker, Schwenke explodes with a flat back and fits well for the beginning of his slide, as his quick initial step allows him to get the surge needed to generate movement. He is very consistent at controlling the defender with his hands, and has the lower body power to anchor. He is conscious of playing at a low pad level and is very good at rolling his hips and taking second levels down at their legs when cut blocking in the open field.
Due to his experience in supporting other blockers on double teams and combo blocks when he lined up as an offensive guard, he has become very capable of neutralizing his assignments on traps and pulls, as his speed could make him valuable as a guard in a zone-blocking scheme at the next level.
Still, in 2012, he proved that he can be a starting caliber center in the NFL. He has the ability to snap and get out of his stance with good balance on the short pulls, striking with a forceful hand punch while doing a good job with his knee bend working in space. He is light on his feet running down the line of scrimmage in attempts to impact on the edge, turn and seal. His athleticism working in the short area is because of his fluid lateral movements that allow him to get out front on sweeps.
During his playing days at Oceanside High School, Schwenke was regarded as the state of California’s 60th-best overall prospect on the Rivals.com Cal Top 100 List, as that recruiting service also rated him the 44th-best offensive guard in the nation and placed a three-star prospect ranking on the two-way lineman. ESPN had a much higher projection for Schwenke, ranking him ninth among all the high school products.
Schwenke rewarded ESPN for that lofty rating, going on to earn first-team All-Valley League, second-team All-County and second-team All-State accolades as a 2007 junior, when his squad finished 12-1 overall and won the state title. During that campaign, he recorded fifteen touchdown-resulting blocks while paving the way for an 1,800-yard rushing season by Armani Taylor.
Schwenke earned MVP honors at the Palo Alto Nike Camp in May of 2008, as he would continue to shine throughout his senior season. He was named first-team All-State, All-Area, All-County, All-San Diego Section and All-Valley League that year. He also added All-Region accolades from both Prep Star and Super Prep.
During his final campaign, he posted 112 knockdowns to help his team finish with a 12-0-1 record and win a regular-season Valley League title, as well as a San Diego Section crown before falling in the third round of the playoffs. He also lined up on the defensive line in 2008, recording seventeen tackles.
Schwenke signed his national letter-of-intent to attend the University of California on June 24th, 2008. He reported for 2009 fall camp and would join tailback Isui Sofele and place-kicker Vincenzo D’Amato as the Bears’ only true freshman to letter. The lineman would play in twelve games with the second unit as a 260-pound first-year player, but most of his action came with the field goal and placement units.
Schwenke worked throughout the offseason to add bulk to his frame. He reported to fall camp at 285 pounds, starting all twelve contests. He lined up at left guard for the Bears first eight contests before finishing out the regular season schedule at right guard. He produced 62 knockdowns and nine touchdown-resulting blocks, but the offense failed to mount much of a challenge during a 5-7 campaign, ranking 90th in the nation with an average of 334.00 yards per game.
Continuing to improve his overall strength, Schwenke checked back at school as a 300-pound left guard in 2011. When he was sidelined by a flu-like virus vs. Washington State, it would mark the only missed assignment by any of Cal’s starting offensive linemen during the 2011 schedule. He delivered 49 knockdowns/key blocks and also recorded his first career tackle, coming after a Cal pass was intercepted in the Oregon State clash.
Schwenke thought he would anchor the Cal front wall from his customary left guard slot for his senior season, but the coaches asked him to move in one slot in August camp. Rather than complain about the late career switch, he embraced the move. Until receiver Keenan Allen was injured, missing the Bears’ final three games, both players were the lone bright spots on California’s offensive squad.
The Bears limped to a 3-9 record during Schwenke’s senior year, but the newly installed center recorded 85 knockdowns and thirteen touchdown-resulting blocks. At times, he looked like a player running the “gauntlet,” as he was the only player on the Cal front wall to not be charged with a sack or pressure. The rest of the team gave up 41 sacks to rank 115th among the 120 major college front walls.
The senior’s performance in the trenches was so impressive, the league’s coaches named him to their All-Pac 12 Conference first-team. He also received All-American second-team recognition. At the end of the season, he added a pair of team honors by capturing the Brick Muller Award as Cal’s Most Valuable Lineman and a Cort Majors Team Captain Award. He also finished second to Stanford sophomore left tackle David Yankey in the Morris Trophy voting as the conference’s top offensive lineman in 2012.
Schwenke started 36-of-48 games that he played in at California – twenty at left offensive guard, four at right guard and twelve as a center…During three seasons in the starting lineup, he recorded 196 knockdowns and thirty touchdown-resulting blocks…He also recorded a solo tackle vs. Oregon State in 2011 and caught a pass for a three-yard gain vs. Southern California in 2012.
Schwenke earned All-American second-team honors from The NFL Report, as that scouting information service regards him as the best interior lineman in the league…The conference coaches agreed with that evaluation, as they not only selected the first-year center first-team All-Pac 12 Conference, but in a voting conducted by the league’s defensive linemen, Schwenke finished second to Stanford sophomore left tackle David Yankey in the Morris Trophy voting as the conference’s top offensive lineman…The late move to center, while unexpected at the time, proved to be prophetic, as he would go on to record 85 knockdowns and deliver thirteen touchdown-resulting blocks for a running attack that found the end zone only sixteen times in 2012…His performance in the trenches was further highlighted, as he did not yield any sacks or pressures, even though the rest of the front wall saw Bears quarterbacks taken down 41 times for losses of 270 yards, as their sacks allowed average of 3.42 per game was 115th among 120 teams at the major college level…Behind Schwenke widening rush lanes and lead blocking up the middle of the field, California improved their rushing average to 42nd in the nation with an average of 183.00 yards per game (team averaged 154.85 yards the previous season)…In each of the four games that Cal rushed for at least two touchdowns, Schwenke had a hand in everyone of those scores…Some of his crowd-pleasing blocks came vs. Southern Utah, as he took down two defenders on a 6-yard scoring burst by C.J. Anderson for a team that gained 289 yards with three touchdowns rushing…Two touchdown blocks on three scoring runs that netted 224 yards vs. Ohio State featured Schwenke flattening All-Big Ten Conference defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins to spring Brendan Bigelow for a career-long 81-yard scoring scamper…Another long run for a touchdown came when Anderson followed Schwenke, who crushed defensive end Datone Jones, allowing the ball carrier to race by for a 68-yard touchdown vs. UCLA, as the Bears tallied 480 yards in total offense…
At the end of the season, Schwenke earned the Brick Muller Award as Cal’s Most Valuable Lineman and the Cort Majors Team Captain Award.
Schwenke started twelve games at left offensive guard for the Bears sitting out the Washington State contest with flu-like symptoms…That was the only missed start by the team’s five starting offensive linemen all season…Recorded 49 key blocks/knockdowns and eight touchdown blocks, as he also produced his first career tackle vs. Oregon State…The junior played a major part in the team averaging 28.31 points, 246.62 aerial yards (46th nationally) and 401.46 yards in total offense (44th in the nation) per game.
Schwenke’s versatility and knowledge of all of his line mates’ blocking assignments proved beneficial when injuries depleted that unit later in the year…After starting the first eight games at left guard, he took over right guard duties for the final four contests…The Bears’ starting tailback Shane Vereen, was “fond” of his sophomore lineman, as he produced 822 of his 1,167 rushing yards over Schwenke’s territory…The guard delivered 62 knockdowns and nine touchdown-resulting blocks, as he was charged with just one of the 23 sacks allowed by the Cal front wall.
Schwenke was one of only three true freshmen to play in 2009, along with kicker Vincenzo D’Amato and tailback Isi Sofele…Played in twelve games as a resereve offensive guard (all but the Minnesota clash), playing primarily with the field goal and placement units.
2011 Season…Schwenke was the only one of Cal’s starting offensive linemen to miss a game in 2011, sitting out vs. Washington State due to flu-like symptoms.
4.99 in the 40-yard dash…1.71 10-yard dash…2.81 20-yard dash…4.74 20-yard shuttle…
7.31 three-cone drill…26 ½-inch vertical jump…9’0” broad jump…Bench pressed 225 pounds 31 times…32-inch arm length…10 ¼-inch hands…76 ¾-inch wingspan.
Schwenke attended Oceanside (Cal.) High School, where he was regarded as the state of California’s 60th-best overall prospect on the Rivals.com Cal Top 100 List…That recruiting service also rated him the 44th-best offensive guard in the nation and placed a three-star prospect ranking on the two-way lineman…ESPN rated the lineman ninth among all the high school products…Earned first-team All-Valley League, second-team All-County and second-team All-State accolades as a 2007 junior, when his squad finished 12-1 overall and won the state title…During that campaign, he recorded fifteen touchdown-resulting blocks while paving the way for an 1,800-yard rushing season by Armani Taylor…Also earned MVP honors at the Palo Alto Nike Camp in May of 2008, as he would continue to shine throughout his senior season…Named first-team All-State, All-Area, All-County, All-San Diego Section and All-Valley League that year…Added All-Region accolades from both Prep Star and Super Prep…During his final campaign, he posted 112 knockdowns to help his team finish with a 12-0-1 record and win a regular-season Valley League title, as well as a San Diego Section crown before falling in the third round of the playoffs…Also lined up on the defensive line in 2008, recording seventeen tackles.
Political Science major…Parents are Brian and Amy Schwenke, and Robert and Darlene Scozzari…Born Brian Max Schwenke Jr., on 3/22/91…Resides in Oceanside, California.
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