Sandra Dukes-US PRESSWIRE
With national signing day coming up quickly, I decided to ask our three recruiting writers a few questions about Michigan's class and how things will finish up for the 2013 haul.
First, let's talk about Derrick Green. Do you think he ends up at Michigan, and if he doesn't what will have happened/where will he go?
DGDestroys - Like everyone else, I'm pretty confident that Green ends up a Wolverine. The kid has been so slow and methodical with his recruitment that I doubt much changes between now and the 26th, his scheduled announcement date. If he does go anywhere else, it seems like that place might be Auburn. Through a terrible season and new coaching staff, Green has repeatedly tried to give Auburn a chance. If he takes a visit, which he has said he still wants to do, it might be a threat. Right now, however, chances are pretty good that Michigan lands the number 1 RB in the country.
Sarah Hughes - I do think Derrick Green ends up at Michigan. Not only is he leading on that Michigan and its coaching staff are his favorites, but what better match is there for him? If he's watched any Michigan games this season, then it's obvious his talents can and probably will be used right away. He'll get early playing time and he'll eventually be running behind a stellar offensive line with these lineman Hoke is recruiting. Then there's the fact that Coach Hoke's philosophy is all about smash-mouth football where the run game is incredibly important. I can't see a better option for Green. I can't see him choosing any other school barring some crazy circumstances, at which point my guess would be Tennessee is his #2.
Anthony Mammel - He'll end up blue barring any major changes. I'm extremely confident for two reasons: he's close friends with a handful of Michigan commitments, and there doesn't seem to be any other school capable of overtaking Michigan at this point. Auburn has fallen apart and will run an offense ill-suited for his abilities, Tennessee hasn't done anything worth noting in recent memory and everyone else is just too far behind. Michigan's combination of academics, a pro-style offense and familiar recruits is too much to turn down for Green.
The other marquee recruit that Michigan fans were waiting on for the longest time was Laquon Treadwell. Now that we know Treadwell won't be a Wolverine, do you think this miss is going to have a big impact, or are you confident that Michigan's receiver recruiting this year was adequate? Any hope for a last commit at the position this year, and how many receivers do you see Michigan going for next year?
DGDestroys - Treadwell is a big miss. I've said before that Da'Mario Jones could end up pretty solid, but I'm not so high on York or Dukes. Missing out on Treadwell was missing out on a a game-changer in a position that sorely needs an injection of talent. I like Darboh and Chesson, but the 2013 class hasn't been quite up to par, nor do I think it will be come Signing Day. Michigan expressed a passing interest at CA WR Sebastian LaRue, but it doesn't seem as though anything will come of that. Unless there's a late surprise flip, WR recruiting seems to be done.
Although Michigan will see 3 receivers lose their eligibility following next season (Gallon, Dileo, Jackson), the numbers brought in this year will ensure that the emphasis can be quality over quantity. A couple of names to watch out for are (offered prospects) FL WR Artavis Scott, FL WR Corey Holmes, (unoffered prospects) IN WR Dominique Booth and IN WR Austin Roberts. All 4 have expressed strong early interest in joining the Maize and Blue.
Sarah - I definitely think missing out on Treadwell will have a big impact on Michigan. This trend of Michigan missing on marquee skill players is only continuing, and the reason I think it may catch up with Michigan is mainly because of the corners that Ohio State is recruiting. Not only did Urban Meyer poach Gareon Conley from Michigan, but he just had 2014 corner Damon Webb (out of Cass Tech!) commit to him yesterday. The fact that Webb chose Ohio State over Michigan is something that will need to be discussed at length at a later time, but the point is, Michigan needs to be recruiting top receivers in order to match the top corners that Ohio State is piling up. In addition to Conley and Webb, OSU's 2013 commits include Cam Burrows and Eli Apple; they're also waiting on 5-star stud Vonn Bell to decide. Those are corners with very high ceilings and Michigan needs to match that.
The 2013 class has 3 receivers committed (so far) in Jaron Dukes, Csont'e York, and Da'Mario Jones, but let's be serious -- those are no Laquon Treadwell; at least not in terms of hype. The good news is that previous Michigan wide receiver greats weren't exactly the most highly-touted recruits either, so a lot of Michigan's current receivers' success will come from the coaching staff. I do have a lot of faith in guys like Amara Darboh, Jehu Chesson, and of course, TE Devin Funchess. Another bright side is that it's pretty obvious Michigan wants to focus pretty heavily on the running game in the coming years. With guys like Deveon Smith and hopefully Derrick Green on board, in addition to the (hopefully) stellar offensive line, picture Michigan's future offense looking a lot like Alabama's. Heavy focus on the run game, while using the play-action to catch the defense off-guard. This can be more than accomplished with a quarterback like Shane Morris at the helm and with the wide receivers Michigan already has on board.
Anthony - The loss of Treadwell hurts, and it will hurt for some time to come. Michigan doesn't have a truly elite talent at receiver on its roster, and no one in the 2013 class seems capable of becoming one. I like Darboh, Chesson, Dukes and others, but none of them have Treadwell's combination of athleticism and ball skills. This makes the current haul of receivers slightly inadequate. I think Michigan takes one big-bodied receiver in 2014 before focusing on a handful of more skilled receivers that are capable of being the next #1 (or at least this is what I'm hoping for).
Outside of Green, who do you think is the most important commit for Michigan to land over these last few weeks? Is there one position that you think Michigan under-recruited this year?
DGDestroys - I sorta harp on this a lot, but I wish Michigan would grab another QB. The problem is, I have no idea who that would be. With the top (according to Scout) 34 QBs in the country committed already, it would either have to be a late flip or a diamond in the rough. Two names I mention below are UNC Commit Mitch Trubisky and IN QB Danny Etling, although both are pure speculation.
Outside of that, it's all gravy. A late push for Sebastian LaRue would be neat, but that's the only glaring position of need left un-filled by this class. Hopefully, Michigan can find a couple late diamonds like Willie Henry and Frank Clark. That would be ideal.
Sarah - Outside of Green, I don't think Michigan needs anyone else to commit. I know the coaches are probably looking for another defensive back or possibly another lineman, but I don't think there's anyone who is a "must-get" other than Derrick Green. I do not think Michigan "under-recruited" a position this year, because the coaching staff knows who they want and at what position when they start recruiting. Did they miss on some guys? Yeah, maybe. Obviously Treadwell comes to mind, but I'm sure the fans would have also liked to see someone like Leon McQuay III in maize and blue. I know it's easier to be disappointed than excited about every recruiting class, and I know that Michigan fans are impossible to please, but if you step back and really look at some of the talent that these coaches have recruited in 2013 alone, it's something to be very excited about. Safety Dymonte Thomas is going to be an absolute stud, and the fact that he's an early enrollee is even better. I've talked endlessly about how excited I am about the incoming offensive line recruits, but don't forget about guys like TE Jake Butt, who is going to be lethal alongside Devin Funchess (think Patriots offense), who is also an early enrollee and will probably start sooner rather than later. Along with Dymonte Thomas, I'm very excited about the rest of the defensive backs like Ross Douglass and Jourdan Lewis. Last, but not least, I do believe Michigan will have one of the best linebacking cores in the country in years to come. It's clear Jake Ryan is going to be a stud (if he's not already), and him along with guys like Joe Bolden, Ben Gedeon and Mike McCray is going to be a scary combination.
Anthony - It's hard to say. I don't think Michigan has too strong of a chance, but I hope they go hard after California receiver Sebastian LaRue, as he would add a dimension of speed and running ability that Dukes, York and others don't bring to the table.
I think they under-recruited defensive line, especially considering how thin Michigan has been there in recent years. Poggi and Hurst are talented but only taking two interior defensive lineman could come back to haunt the Wolverines.
Do you think Michigan takes a seventh offensive line commit? Given last year's haul and the needs elsewhere, do you think this is a good decision?
DGDestroys - At this point, I think Michigan will take whoever is willing to drop first. If Cameron Hunt calls up the staff tomorrow and tells them he wants to commit, it seems as though Michigan would gladly accept.
It might seem a bit excessive, but with a position as unpredictable as...well...any of the slots on the offensive line, quantity is the surest guarantee of success.
Sarah - I don't know if Michigan will take a 7th offensive lineman. I think if they do, they may be worried about a defection. I honestly think a 7th might scare away current commits. All these high school kids are interested in early playing time, for the most part. Personally, I would be excited about a 7th commit if it's someone like Cameron Hunt, especially because our current depth on the o-line is not very good. The coaching staff will do whatever's right for the team, I just hope if they do accept a 7th, it won't turn someone who's already committed away. Regardless of the 2012 class, if they coaching staff decides to take a 7th offensive lineman commit, I do think it would be a good decision. Obviously it's great news that Taylor Lewan decided to stay at Michigan, but offensive line is one position that needs a lot of depth if Michigan wants to compete for national championships.
Anthony - If the number rises to seven I think it will fall right back to six, with someone flipping to a school that isn't so packed on the offensive line. I'm a firm believer that a team builds from the inside out, and it's hard to predict an offensive lineman's success so I'm not opposed to loading up in consecutive classes. We've seen what bad fronts look like and we don't need to go through it again.
Take your best guess on which recruit will be the biggest surprise addition to the class this year. Is there another Dennis Norfleet out there waiting to flip?
DGDestroys - There's no easy answer out there, with several of the top prospects in Michigan and Ohio locked into their commitments. Steve Elmer is already enrolled at ND, recent overtures to MSU commits Dennis Finley and Jon Reschke have been rebuffed, and many of the top players in Ohio (not verbals to UM) seem locked into their OSU commitments.
A couple names to throw out in a bit of a crap-shoot; OH DB Godwin Igwebuike (Northwestern Commit, teammate of Jake Butt, has visited Michigan), OH QB Mitch Trubisky (UNC Commit, former teammate of Tom Strobel), IN QB Danny Etling (Purdue Commit, included because we will never stop poaching Purdue do you hear me never), MI DT Kenton Gibbs (Cass Tech kid, has seemed close to an offer a couple of teams, will almost certainly commit if he does get it), and OH DB Marcus McWilson (Nebraska commit, former teammate of former Wolverine Ray Vinopal, had some UM interest early).
Sarah - With the guys Michigan is currently waiting on (Derrick Green, Cameron Hunt, Reon Dawson, etc.), I don't know if there will be any room left for a surprise addition! If there is one, I hope he's a wide receiver.
Anthony - I have no idea. Powers like Michigan, Southern California and Ohio State can offer mid-level recruits at any time and expect to contend for that recruit's services, so there are numerous Dennis Norfleets out there every year. If there is someone out there I hope it's a defensive lineman.