Chat with Tom VanHaaren
Welcome to WolverineNation! On Monday, recruiting writer Tom VanHaaren stops by to chat about the state of Michigan football personnel.
VanHaaren has covered Michigan recruiting since 2008. Follow his latest news on Twitter: @TomVH.
Send your questions now and join VanHaaren Monday at noon ET!
Tom VanHaaren (11:59 AM)
Thanks for joining us today. Last time there were a few repeat questions, it's just me moderating so I will try to keep that to a minimum.
Tom,With these being a bye week, do you see Hoke and Co. playing catch up with recruits?
Tom VanHaaren (12:02 PM)
I don't know if you want to call it catching up, but yes the coaches are doing some traveling. I know prospects like 2013 OL Chris Fox, Josh Garnett, Zach Banner, some of the Illinois prospects are kids that the coaches would like to see and get some face time with.
Do You think penn state has a good chance to win the big ten or are they running on luck right now?
Tom VanHaaren (12:03 PM)
Their wins have come against Indiana State, Temple, EMU, Indiana, Iowa, and Purdue. They close with Northwestern, Illinois, Nebraska, at Ohio State and at Wisconsin. That will be a tough ending to their schedule.
bouje (Ames, IA)
What have recruits said following the loss to Michigan State? Particularly Washington and Dunn?
Tom VanHaaren (12:05 PM)
I posted this article yesterday, http://es.pn/qMy3SN, which has quotes from current commits and targets. Overall the loss didn't seem to bother anyone. The recruits were pretty in tune with the fact that this is another transition year. Something that has gotten lost in the 6-0 start.
Jon (Ann Arbor)
Arik Armstead just decommitted from USC, and holds a M offer. Are we moving on that front at all?
Tom VanHaaren (12:07 PM)
Yes, ESPN's West Recruiting Coordinator Greg Biggins posted a blog that quoted Armstead saying he is interested in Michigan. Armstead is a big time prospect, so yes there will be more with him. He isn't sure yet if he will visit Michigan, but there's a chance for now. I would say hold off on getting excited until he schedules a visit.
Can Michigan realistically take both Jordan Payton and Amara Darboh?
Tom VanHaaren (12:08 PM)
It will be interesting to see how everything plays out. The coaches have been in contact with a few tight ends, including Arizona commit Taylor McNamara. They may want to take another pass catching tight end in this class as well. We'll have to see who wants to commit when. The numbers are going to decide a lot of how everything plays out.
Are we still after Jordan Diamond or has things cooled down?
Tom VanHaaren (12:09 PM)
The Michigan coaches are still very much interested in Jordan Diamond. In fact, he could be getting a visit soon from the coaches. I will have an update on him, including video this week, but Michigan is still in the picture.
Brad (Detroit, Michigan)
Does Michigan still have a chance at Zach Banner?
Tom VanHaaren (12:10 PM)
Yes. Banner is going to take all of his visits, including his next one to Notre Dame. He will most likely make his decision in a month or two, and announce it publicly at the All American game he's attending. Michigan still has a chance though.
Tyler (Grand Rapids)
Of all the 2012 recruits, which will make the greatest impact as a Freshmen.
Tom VanHaaren (12:12 PM)
That's tough to answer because I think there are so many options. There could be scenarios, like on the offensive line, if there are injuries a frosh could be thrown into the mix. In that case Kyle Kalis could be a candidate. I really like Jarrod Wilson and think he brings a different dynamic to the safety spot. A few of the defensive line recruits could see early playing time, it will all depend on them and what shape they're in.
Tom, how much do you think Michigan's W-L record from last weekend on out will impact 2012 and 2013 recruiting? Do coaches' personalities matter more?
Tom VanHaaren (12:14 PM)
The 6-0 start I think showed recruits that the coaches know what they're doing. It wasn't all talk. However, they need to show that it isn't just going to fall apart at the end of the season. The record won't make much of a difference for the 2012 kids, since the class is almost full. The 2013 kids it might sway their decision, but the recruiting pitch is to get kids on board to help bring Michigan back. That's probably more powerful than the record. To help be a part of Michigan history.
Michael Y. (Farmington Hills)
Tom, I know you're asked this on a weekly (daily?) basis, but what's the latest from Bri'onte Dunn? While he doesn't appear to be 100% tOSU, he does appear to be a longshot for Michigan. What is the backup plan at RB if Dunn doesn't head North?
Tom VanHaaren (12:17 PM)
The plan for now is that Dunn is trying to enroll early. His dad says he has one more class to finish and he should be good to go on that front. That makes things interesting, because if you're a conspiracy theorist you might think it would give him an easier exit if he were to switch to Michigan. I don't think he's a longshot for Michigan at this point. His dad said, "what a mess," when I asked him about their visit to OSU for the Michigan State game. It looks like Fickell won't be retained as head coach. If Dunn enrolls early he probably won't know who the new head coach is, which is presumably to Michigan's advantage.
Andy (Ann Arbor)
With the talk about TEs being back on the table, is Ron Thompson still an option, or has that ship sailed?
Tom VanHaaren (12:18 PM)
Never say never, but I think the coaches have a few targets ahead of him, if they were to bring in another tight end. I wouldn't count on Thompson being in this class.
what is your impression of the impact UM has had in peaking the interest of elite '13 kids outside of our current commits?
Tom VanHaaren (12:20 PM)
I think the coaching staff has done a great job with getting 2013 kids interested. The fact that they have two elite kids, Shane Morris and Dymonte Thomas, already committed is a really big deal. Morris is a good recruiter himself, and should be a big help on that front. The coaches have sold the fact that the top level kids can come in and help get Michigan back to the top. It isn't about the coaches doing it, but the prospects. I think that's a good strategy.
Alex (Ann Arbor, MI)
Tom, noticed on my flight to SFO that coach Ferrigno was on my flight. Are other coaches traveling this week?
Tom VanHaaren (12:22 PM)
Yes, I mentioned earlier that the coaches will be traveling this week. A lot of ground will be covered in a short period of time. West coast kids like Taylor McNamara, Josh Garnett, Zach Banner. Colorado lineman Chris Fox, Illinois prospects like Jordan Diamond.
Colin Bishop (Lima, Ohio)
Tom, do you think Michigan will go after an elite running back in the 2013 class? It seems that it has been quite a long time since Michigan has landed a 5 star, high caliber guy at the RB position
Tom VanHaaren (12:23 PM)
They have already offered both Ty Isaac (Joliet, Ill./Joliet Catholic) and Wyatt Shallman (Novi, Mich./Detroit Catholic Central). They will likely send out more offers to running backs, but those two are really good. I saw Isaac in person and he had 4 TD's on 6 carries. It was ridiculous.
What kind of QB's does Michigan recruit under coach Hoke? Do we go back to the pocket passer days or more of a hybrid
Tom VanHaaren (12:24 PM)
They have made it clear that they want a pro-style offense, and that was backed up by getting 2013 QB Shane Morris to commit. He's a prototypical QB for what they want the offense to be in the future.
Tom, my math says Michigan has 25 open scholarships for the 2012 class, with an easy path to 27. With 22 commits now, that would leave 5 open spots if the class has 2 or more early enrollees. If you were Brady Hoke, what is missing from this class that you would target?
Tom VanHaaren (12:26 PM)
Wide receiver is obviously the glaring need, since they have none committed. They are targeting some top receivers, and have set themselves up nicely to land a few. I agree that one more offensive lineman is needed, and he needs to be a top prospect. I'd like to see an athlete taken as well, someone like Oklahoma State's Kendall Sanders. He could play corner or receiver, and I think he's going to be really good.
hows the yuri wright recruiting coming along? is his visit for the OSU game still on?
Tom VanHaaren (12:27 PM)
For now, yes. I've said this all along but I wouldn't get too excited until he actually steps foot on campus. He's being targeted by a lot of schools right now and hasn't really gone through the process. Until he visits, I'm not sure if he knows how interested he really is.
Some sites have Armstead as a Defensive lineman. Would Michigan pursue him as yet another OT in this class or switch him over to the more needed DT position?
Tom VanHaaren (12:28 PM)
I think offensive lineman first. They need one more OL anyway, and he fits the bill. If he gets on campus and ends up being better at DL, then fine. Just get him on board and worry about it later.
chances MSU's gholston gets suspended for his antics on saturday?
Tom VanHaaren (12:29 PM)
Probably pretty high. Midweek is when I would assume something would be known.
Any thoughts on Aaron Burbridge, i know he commited to MSU but is UM still keeping contact in the event all things clear up off the field?
Tom VanHaaren (12:31 PM)
If his grades are in place then why wouldn't they go after him. His teammates are already committed, so it only makes sense. The grades were the hurdle and as long as he has what is needed, and Michigan has room then I don't see why not.
Do you think Michigan will have trouble getting talent at WR due to their lack of a passing game with Denard?
Tom VanHaaren (12:34 PM)
It's interesting because I spoke with 2013 WR Ahmad Fulwood from Florida about this the other day. He had tweeted that Michigan wouldn't win with Denard at QB, so I asked him if that would affect his recruitment to Michigan. He responded with a maybe, and that he thinks they need a different QB. The kids that are closer to Michigan, the ones that have been in close contact with the coaches and Shane Morris, the receivers that know who Devin Gardner is, probably don't think that way. But some of the out of state kids, top kids, like Fulwood have noticed it, yes. Doesn't mean it's right or wrong, or that it will hinder Michigan, just that it's been noticed.
Colin Bishop (Lima, Ohio)
With that being said about Ty Isaac and Wyatt Shallman...how do you believe those two will be ranked in the ESPNU 150? And realistically whats the chances Michigan lands one if not both of them?
Tom VanHaaren (12:36 PM)
Both Isaac and Shallman are on the ESPNU 150 watchlist, which is a good start. Like I said I've seen both of them live and they're both the real deal. Shallman is so young that he could potentially grow into a defensive end, which I don't necessarily think is a bad thing. Isaac has the body to add on a good 20 pounds and keep his athleticism. They both have size, some speed, they both love football. I think both should be highly rated. At this point Michigan has a good chance with Shallman, and Isaac hasn't been out yet for a game to see them in person. It's still early with him.
I know Hoke and CO. focus is to get instate kids committed. Currently we have over 70pct of our '12 commits from the MI and OH. Do you see this trend continuing for the '13 class or will we see a lower percentage due to the overall level of talent?
Tom VanHaaren (12:38 PM)
That's a good question. They are going to always be focused on the top kids in Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois. I think there are already a good amount of kids from those areas that Michigan is interested in. Wyatt Shallman, Cam Burrows, Deniro Laster, Taco Charlton, Ross Douglas, Tim Kimbrough, Ethan Pocic, Kyle Bosch, Dymonte Thomas, Shane Morris, etc. So I think there's a good chance that a lot of the commits are from the Midwest again, yes.
Any additional elite players currently on UM radar for the '12 class that we may not be aware of? Agholor perhaps (wishful)
Tom VanHaaren (12:39 PM)
I've mentioned ATH Kendall Sanders, who is committed to Oklahoma State. He says he's 100% with Ok State, but Michigan would be interested if he would entertain them. The OL JJ Denman commitment to Wisconsin was surprising because he told the Michigan coaches that he would visit for the Ohio State game last week. He would be one they're interested in if he would listen, but he says he's 100% with Wisconsin now.
I'm assuming the 11/26 game is going to have a lot of high-end recruits to go along with commits already in the class. Do you think Michigan has a chance to turn any of those recruits into commits?
Tom VanHaaren (12:41 PM)
It's going to depend on a lot of different factors. How many spots are left, who's deciding when, and if there are any 2013 kids that are ready to pull the trigger. Just going off of timeframes for kids that have been outlined so far it doesn't seem like it. If they change their time frame then yes, but we'll just have to wait. Games and visits tend to change things sometimes, especially one like the Ohio State game.
Josh (Austin, TX)
Which recruits are playing a different position in high school than what they can expect to play at Michigan?
Tom VanHaaren (12:43 PM)
Both Allen Gant and Terry Richardson play some receiver for their schools. They'll be on defense at Michigan. Some of the offensive linemen are going to have to move inside to the interior of the line. AJ Williams is basically only playing offensive tackle for his team now. There's a chance that he ends up on the offensive line at Michigan, or at tight end.
Do you have a preliminary top 5 '13 kids for UM based on talent and need?
Tom VanHaaren (12:45 PM)
Talent-wise they have a few really good offers out there. DT Henry Poggi, LB Michael Hutchings, Shane Morris was a huge get for them, DT Jay Ellison, LB Peter Kalambayi, OL Jake Raulerson. That's more than five, but I think there are some really good prospects that they're already in on.
Colin Bishop (Lima, Ohio)
I see that ESPN has Terry Richardson has our top commit...Out of all the high caliber guys we have committed, do you believe that Richardson is the most elite guy? Because it seems i haven't heard his name much this year
Tom VanHaaren (12:48 PM)
I think Terry is very good, and has the right attitude to be a good corner. Based off of needs I think it's a huge deal that they got Kyle Kalis. I know that's been talked about more than enough, but I think he might be the best in this class. I ranked out the top ten most important commits about a month ago and I had Kalis is number one followed by Royce Jenkins-Stone and Jarrod Wilson, if that answers your question.
Josh (Austin, TX)
Rich Rodriguez favored recruiting Florida. Outside of Michigan, is there another state Hoke particularly favors recruiting kids?
Tom VanHaaren (12:49 PM)
The Midwest is where it's at for them, but the usual states from the old days. California and Texas. They want the top kids, so wherever they are, they want them.
You've spoken with a lot of the kids who have committed to Michigan. Have any of these kids impressed you in how they've handled themselves to make you think they could be a future leader of the team?
Tom VanHaaren (12:50 PM)
Joe Bolden is an outstanding person. I wrote an article about him and if you get the chance to, I would read it. He is typically at meetings before the coaches, he coaches his brothers' football teams. Just an all around great guy, and a leader. He's going to be a great teammate, and someone that you always want on your team.
Tom VanHaaren (12:51 PM)
We have time for just a few more questions then we'll call it a day.
What are your thoughts on the D-line for next year? Do you think Pipkins will be able to come in and play right away?
Tom VanHaaren (12:53 PM)
He might have to. Losing Mike Martin and Ryan VanBergen is obviously a big deal. Will Campbell has shown a lot in the past few games, compared to what we had been hearing, or not seeing from him. Outside of Campbell you have Quinton Washington and Richard Ash, so Pipkins hopefully comes to camp ready.
Josh (Austin, TX)
Which verbal commitments are most vocal about recruiting other recruits to come to Michigan?
Tom VanHaaren (12:54 PM)
Shane Morris has done a great job recruiting other kids, even for the 2012 class. It's strange how he isn't going to be there for two years, but he's already becoming a leader and taking on responsibility. A lot of the 2012 commits say they're just letting people make their own decisions. Erik Magnuson is doing a great job recruiting the West Coast kids like Jordan Payton, Josh Garnett, and Zach Banner.
who has impressed you the most on the field in person, either commited or noncommitted?
Tom VanHaaren (12:57 PM)
Good question, this will be the last one. I saw 2013 RB Ty Isaac in person and like I said he had 4 rushing TD's on 6 carries, that was pretty impressive. OL Jordan Diamond showed some really good footwork when I watched him, 2013 WR Laquon Treadwell and Anthony Standifer went one on one in practice and both showed a lot. Treadwell is going to be good, really good. I know Chantel Jennings was really impressed when she saw Chris Wormley, as well. Most impressive I would have to say might have been Mario Ojemudia when they played against Cass Tech earlier in the year. He was just killing it, they couldn't stop him. I might have been more surprised than anything, so that might be why I say that.
Tom VanHaaren (12:59 PM)
Thanks for joining me, and make sure to checkout @WolverineNation on Twitter. If you haven't signed up for WolverineNation yet you can do so at any time, and there is also a free 30 day trial going on right now.