One of the true blessings of being a member of the Michigan blog-o-sphere is the honest sense of community you feel with other writers. Although we all come from different (sometimes competing) sites, I've rarely had any trouble reaching out and relying on other writers to help me out. It's with such a collaborative effort that I bring to you Maize N Brew's June Recruiting Roundtable, featuring some of the brightest minds in the Michigan recruiting-sphere. I'm truly thankful to each and every contributor that took time to help us out here.
1. We'll start with a straight-forward question. Assuming Michigan has three more slots in the 2013 class, who fills them?
Magnus (Touch the Banner) - This is a tough one because I think Michigan's going to have to send out some more offers to fill the class. LaQuon Treadwell seems pretty likely to come to Michigan. Other than that, I think the coaches are going to have to offer a sleeper cornerback and maybe offer Kenton Gibbs from Cass Tech or another guy who can play nose tackle.
MGoBlueGr (Tremendous) - I do not like Michigan's chances with Derrick Green because his recruitment seems to be all over the place and he never seems to talk about Michigan unless he is talking to a Michigan recruiting site. With Jordan Wilkins, it seems like it's just a matter of time before he drops for Auburn. This leaves Michigan with a high chance of not taking a running back. So with the last three spots, I believe they take a corner back and two wide receivers. I believe that those last three spots will be filled by Leon McQuay III, LaQuon Treadwell, and Paul Harris. Leon McQuay's top three of USC, Vanderbilt, and Michigan favors Michigan because it's more of a top two seeing as USC is focused on landing other DBs right now. Although Vanderbilt is presumably the leader, it's still Vanderbilt and Michigan should be able to take the lead after his next visit to Michigan. We all know the story about LaQuon Treadwell, I was always worried about USC sweeping in and wowing him, but they should fill up at wide receiver very soon, so I believe Treadwell will commit on his official visit to Michigan. Paul Harris is a name not many of you are probably to familiar with, he is a two star wide receiver on Scout.com and a four star on Rivals, so people disagree about his talents. He has been invited to The Opening and lists offers from Michigan, Ohio State, and USC (his current leader), so it's very likely that Rivals is more accurate about his rankings. As I mentioned earlier, his presumed leader is USC but they are probably going to fill up very soon, leaving Michigan as presumably the team to beat. He is visiting Michigan early next week and if Michigan makes a great impression on him, they should be able to land him.
Sarah (Maize n Brew) - I actually answered this question in my first post on Maize 'n Brew. If I had to guess today, I would say our class finishes with Laquon Treadwell, Leon McQuay III, and Alvin Bailey. I have high hopes, I know.
Jeff (Maize Pages)- Backing up real quickly: how awesomely ridiculous is it that this question exists in June? Still so much time and so many moving pieces to even remotely project, but I have a good feeling about Treadwell, more than I did about a Pocic or an Isaac. Unfortunately, I do think the last 2 will be guys off our current radar, so no Green, Wilkins, Fuller or McQuay. Based on the offers, I wouldn't be surprised if the coaches took a 4th WR in addition to Treadwell and then press for an elite SDE/DB.
Anthony (Maize n Brew) - We all know the staff is still searching for at least one more receiver, namely Laquon Treadwell. Assuming he goes blue, that leaves two vacant spaces. From there we're probably looking at a first come, first serve situation for the best players available. I'll go out on a limb and say they snag Treadwell, Bailey and McQuay, although I'd be naive if I didn't think the possibility of a defensive end jumping on board was a real one.
DGDestroys (Maize n Brew) - At the moment, my gut is telling me that the class will end with Treadwell, Bailey, and McQuay, but I simply can't imagine everything being all wrapped up in a month. IMO, we'll land Treadwell and then grab a couple of guys that are totally off the radar at the moment. Could be a late riser from their senior year, a strong camper, or just someone the staff may have overlooked.
2. The coaches have really been able to jump-start their efforts in the 2014 class because of their success with upcoming seniors. If you had to guess, who would be the first guy to commit among the 2014 guys?
Magnus - It seems like just a matter of time until Malik McDowell commits to Michigan. If he had his druthers, he would already be committed, I think.
MGoBlueGr - I believe the first 2014 commit will be Damon Webb. I've talked to Damon a lot during his recruitment and have always gotten the impression that Michigan is in excellent shape with him. Damon will be attending part of Michigan's camp next week and by all accounts was very impressive at the Sound Mind Sound Body Showcase, where the Michigan coaches had an eye on him. If Damon is offered soon, he should be Michigan's first commit (NOTE: MGoBlueGr sent in his responses before Damon was offered).
Sarah - Good question. I'm not as well-versed on the 2014 recruits as some other guys may be, but if I had to guess, I would say defensive lineman Malik McDowell out of Detroit Loyola is the first to pull the trigger.
Anthony - Malik McDowell. Michigan presumably leads, and he has admitted that he would have committed to his top school had it not been for his parents asking him to hold off. Don't count Parrker Westphal out either.
Jeff - Practically and wishfully speaking, DE Malik McDowell. Practical in the sense that he's a Michigan lean, childhood fan, early offer (although he also sports offers from 'Bama, LSU, OSU and ND) and said he wants to commit during his Junior year. Wishful in the sense that he's a 4/5-star elite guy who will kick the 2014 class off right like Shane did. He'll at least listen to SEC schools though, and probably take visits, so not sure how much longer that extends his timeline.
DGDestroys - Based on the interviews I've read (including several from Tremendous), it doesn't even seem as though Damon Webb is looking into other possibilities. I think it's only a matter of time before he drops for the Maize and Blue. I think other guys like Malik McDowell and Parrker Westphal may be leaning towards UM, but will let the process play out a bit more.
3. Going along with the previous question, how many 2014 guys will be in the fold by the Alabama game?
Magnus - I'll say four. I don't know who they will be, but the pace of 2013 recruiting suggests that this summer will be pretty active.
MGoBlueGr - Depending on the offers that go out, I think Michigan will have at least two commits before the Alabama game. I've had multiple 2014 recruits who are talented enough to play for Michigan tell me that they would seriously committing on the spot once they are offered.
Sarah - I love this question. Let's see, Michigan's unprecedented start for the 2013 class only had two commits last September (Shane Morris and Dymonte Thomas). I'll go with 3 this time around.
Anthony - I'll say Michigan has three commitments come September. Yet at the rate that this coaching staff works, who knows? With the '13 class all but finished the number could be higher than many imagine.
Jeff - Probably none actually, maybe one. Based on the offers, and the many more that will come out this summer, the numbers suggest we may pick up a kid who gets blown away from their unofficial. More important is getting an ambassador to the program--somebody who will go to camps, network with players and talk up Michigan throughout their Junior year.
DGDestroys - As of yet, I don't think we've seen significant evidence to suggest that simply because the staff is moving forward the timetable for evaluation, prospects will also move forward the timing of their commitments. I'd say 1-2 are likely, from life-long UM fans that aren't interested in the recruiting process.
4. Now back to the recently signed 2012 class. If I were to tell you that 2 of the incoming freshmen were going to have to start against Alabama, which would you be most comfortable with? In other words, which of the 2012 guys are the most college ready, and which positions are the easiest for freshmen to play?
Magnus - Maybe this is cheating, but I'll say Kyle Kalis and Dennis Norfleet. Kalis would struggle against Alabama, but so would any of the freshmen against the national champs. But Kalis is the most college ready of the position guys. Norfleet, as a kickoff and punt returner, might be able to step in immediately and do some things. Cornerback, running back, and wide receiver are all fairly easy to adjust to from high school to college, but the freshmen at those positions would be severely overmatched on September 1.
MGoBlueGr - If this were to happen, it would only be due to an injury or two and since I would rather not speculate about injuries, I'll give the players who I think are most college ready at Michigan's thinnest positions. Those two are obviously Ondre Pipkins and Kyle Kalis. With the loss of Mike Martin, Michigan is looking for a replacement at nose tackle, with Ondre coming in early and getting on a diet it's not crazy to think he will be in shape to play from day one. At guard, Michigan is in terrible shape, which was shown when they started a walk on at the spring game. Kyle was always raved about as the most college ready offensive lineman in the 2012 class, so he has a chance to come in and win the job.
Sarah - I would definitely have to go with LB Joe Bolden and DT Ondre Pipkins. Bolden was an early enrollee and will be much better prepared to start than Pipkins, but Pipkins will probably start out of need. Both are excellent. Kalis is also another option, I've heard he's the most college-ready out of anyone. Honestly, I'm not sure which positions are easiest for freshman to play, but I would guess skill positions would be easier than technical positions such as linebacker and tackle.
Anthony - When it comes to college readiness two players stick out: Kyle Kalis and Joe Bolden. It's extremely difficult to move up a level and compete instantly at any position, but these two have the physical tools and the most important mark of a college ready freshman: a high football IQ. Many will want to hear Pipkins' name called, but Mattison and Hoke put immense stress on technique and he's going to need work.
Jeff - The combination of having to start and feeling most comfortable, probably Pipkins and Bolden. Pee Wee based on his position as NT--you, take up space--and the semi-lack of depth depending if BWC shows up to camp the way we hope. Bolden based mostly on raw talent, enrolling early and already legitimately pushing for significant minutes at LB. Cornerback is a relatively "easier" position for freshmen to step in early--go out and cover your man--but Richardson won't be pressed to play early with Floyd and Countess out there. Hopefully we can redshirt guys like him and Wilson, but we'll see.
DGDestroys - I'll go with two answers that are bound to be popular (Edit-Maybe not on Darboh)- LB Joe Bolden and WR Amara Darboh. I don't think any of the kids are prepared to face a team the caliber of 'Bama's caliber yet, but those two stick out as the most ready. After coming in early and hitting the weight room, Bolden already passed several players on the depth chart to back up Kenny Demens. Bolden's a high IQ player with a great work ethic that will undoubtedly lead him to great heights during his career with Michigan. Darboh is a physical player at a thin position. I think he could step in and be the most complete WR on Michigan's roster from day 1.
Look for Part 2 coming later this week.