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 (12:00 PM)
Hi everyone, thanks for joining me again. As always, try to be patient since I'm the one moderating and answering the questions I'll try to get to as many as I can.
Miles (East Lansing)
How are Michigans chances with 2014 QB Deshone Kizer?
Tom VanHaaren (12:01 PM)
I had a blog on Deshone recently where he told me his family are actually Michigan fans. It's way too early for him, though. He will be one of the top prospects in the Midwest, so it's too early to say anything as far as where he'll go or who has the best shot. Michigan is a school that he wants an offer from, and wants to learn more about.
Neel (St Charles, IL)
What do you think the chances are with Joe Mathis- will he be a tough pull given all of his offers? And will his interest in Michigan help or have no effect with Cravens?
Tom VanHaaren (12:03 PM)
It's definitely not going to be easy. I confirmed with Mathis this morning, though, that he will be in Michigan this weekend for a camp and is going to try to swing by Ann Arbor as well. That's a big deal, so we'll see after this visit.
Doc (TC, MI)
Watching Mathis at the LA Nike camp with Taco Charlton he looks like he has a really good burst, him a Charlton coming off the edge together would give OCs fits. With him visiting this weekend, where do we stand with him? And his cousin (Cravens)?
Tom VanHaaren (12:05 PM)
They're different kind of defensive ends, I think. Mathis seems more like a strong side DE to me. But like I said, we'll see after this weekend how he feels about things. It's too early to tell.
Would you rather take DeVeon Smith, or Eziekiel Elliot (the guy that just committed to OSU)?
Tom VanHaaren (12:06 PM)
What kind of offense am I running? What team am I the coach of? I think both are very good for what they'll be asked to do. Deveon Smith hasn't gotten a lot of attention for some reason, but he's a throwback to Michigan runners. I think Smith is going to be very good in Michigan's offense, and it's important to know that he was very wanted by Michigan.
When do you feel like Isaac will make a decision? I'm hearing some conflicting reports.
Tom VanHaaren (12:08 PM)
I think Ty wants to still figure some things out. He told me that there's a chance his mom could take a few visits with him. I think he really wants to make sure he is 100 percent positive about this decision. He told me it could come in the next three days or the next three months, so we'll see.
John Kelley (Alabama)
Who are Michigans top 2013 DT propects?
Tom VanHaaren (12:10 PM)
The guys with offers to focus on right now are DT Henry Poggi, Greg Webb, Christian Lacouture, Joe Mathis, Eddie Vanderdoes, Wyatt Teller, Tashawn Bower, Joey Bosa. Guys without offers potentially guys like Tracy Sprinkles, Josh Augusta, Scott Pagano, Chikew Obasih, Kenton Gibbs.
Derrin (Plano, TX)
Coach Hoke has kept it rolling with two more big commitments last month from the state of Ohio. However, the hole at WR has yet to be filled by the Wolverine staff. Do you see any targets pulling the trigger soon and committing to Michigan?
Tom VanHaaren (12:12 PM)
That's a tough question because most of the wide receiver targets left know that there are only two spots remaining in this class. So if one decided to jump in, it could cause another to pull the trigger as well. As of right now, guys like Laquon Treadwell aren't planning on deciding soon. Someone like Eldridge Massington or Kevin Gladney might make a decision sooner rather than later, but this could be somewhat of a musical chairs game.
Josh (New Haven, CT)
Hey Tom, thanks for all the great information. I actually have a question about 2015 prospects. I know 2015 QB Jayru Campbell (Cass Tech) was on campus a few weekends ago, but he doesn't haven an offer yet. Has the coaching staff drawn a line about when is too young to receive offers? When do you imagine the first 2015 offers could go out?
Tom VanHaaren (12:14 PM)
I will tell you that some 2015 kids are being evaluated already. However, as far as offers, there's not really a point in offering this early, at least in my opinion. You mentioned Jay'ru Campbell, a kid that's almost 6-foot-3 right now, he could end up being 6-foot-6 by the time he's a senior. There's no reason to really offer a freshman right now unless he's a no brainer, can't miss guy.
Any info if Drake Harris is planning on being a 2-sport athlete in college or just focusing on 1?
Tom VanHaaren (12:16 PM)
Chantel just posted an article with Drake this past week. I think a lot is still up in the air with him. I also think it's really difficult to be a two sport athlete if you're a starter. It's something that's talked about a lot, but people talk about how hard it is to participate in one sport in college. Two sports is a lot for one kid, so we'll see what he does.
I've seen conflicting reports on whether or not Ty Isaac will be in AA for the spring game, can you clarify?
Tom VanHaaren (12:17 PM)
This might change as it gets closer, but he told me that as of last week he probably wasn't going to be there. I plan on double checking with him as it gets closer, because that could change. So we'll see.
DR (Tampa, FL)
Who do you think are the top 5 recruits in Michigan to watch for 2014?
Tom VanHaaren (12:20 PM)
There will be a good amount of 2014 kids in Michigan. DE Malik McDowell already has an offer, QB Chance Stewart will be one of the top QB's, WR Damon Webb, LB Gary Hosey, William White and Deon Drake all from Cass Tech, RB Lorenzo Collins, DE Dylan Roney, OL Jake Khoury, TE Jordan Van Dort I'm drawing a blank right now on some other names. I'll get back to you.
With Shane committed for such a long time now, are you surprised there aren't more WR's jumping at the chance to play with an elite QB that looks like he has a great chance to be a 3 year starter.
Tom VanHaaren (12:21 PM)
Not that surprised. I think the wide receiver position typically has a lot of guys that wait to make their decision. Especially top prospects, I think that's a norm. They'll be fine.
Joe (Nashville, TN)
With a couple of players moving on...Will UM still only take about 24 players in this class??
Tom VanHaaren (12:22 PM)
They're not up to 24 yet, so I still think you'll see anywhere from 22-24 in this class. A lot of factors go into that.
Dan (Highlands Ranch, CO)
When do you feel Eddie Vanderdoes will make a visit to Ann Arbor?
Tom VanHaaren (12:23 PM)
He told me last week that he plans on visiting the local schools first, because it's easier to plan those out and pay for those. He will likely use an official visit for Michigan, if he decides to visit.
If UM misses out on Treadwell, who are some other WR targets that can stretch the field? And how many WR's do you expect the staff to take this year?
Tom VanHaaren (12:25 PM)
As far as stretching the field, Devon Allen is a track star that Michigan is very high on from Arizona. Allen broke a 20 year old state record in the 110m hurdles, and was (I think) .03 seconds from breaking the 300m hurdles as well. I mentioned this on our message board, though, that Jehu Chesson from the 2012 class is a track star as well. Chesson will be able to provide that aspect to Michigan's offense.
Tom, what's the latest on E.J. Levenberry? Haven't heard much lately.
Tom VanHaaren (12:26 PM)
Visiting for the spring game on April 14. We'll see how it goes.
Keel (Fort Worth, TX)
What is Michigans chances of landing a commitment from Ty Issac? Also, do you see any top cornerbacks interested in Michigan?
Tom VanHaaren (12:29 PM)
Let me answer the cornerback question first. And I'll go on the record to say that I think Gareon Conley is the real deal. No one is talking about this guy, and he's 6-foot-1, 170 pounds with tons of athleticism, speed and ball skills. I've heard "no brainer" when his name was brought up. On top of that, Jourdan Lewis is no slouch. I saw him play plenty of times this past season and he was always making plays. So outside of those top two cornerbacks, Michigan is still in it with Cameron Walker, who is another under the radar guy, Kendall Fuller still plans to visit Michigan for the spring game, and Tim Harris is still talking about Michigan. Your first question, Ty is still going through a few things, but Michigan is right there.
I know Su'a Cravens is interested in Michigan but how interested is Michigan in Su'a Cravens and what position would they most likely use him if they land him?
Tom VanHaaren (12:31 PM)
That's a good question. I think it depends on where the class is at, what needs still need to be filled, etc. He's the kind of guy that you just recruit no matter what. He can play safety, linebacker, running back and probably a few more spots. I think Michigan first sees him as a safety, but you could just get him on the practice field and see where he fits best.
Urban M. (Columbus)
Tom, Do you think I am getting the elite type of talent that many seem to think I should be getting?
Tom VanHaaren (12:35 PM)
Well, Urban, thanks for joining us. I think you closed off the 2012 class with the kind of guys you like, elite defensive linemen. I think Urban Meyer is getting caught up and evaluating prospects, so it's safe to say he's still landing top kids, while he might be playing catch up. The 2014 class, to me, will be when he really needs to get that top class. It's a lot more difficult to get Florida kids to Ohio than it is to get Ohio kids to Florida, so that's a change. Also, no one really talks about this, but Meyer was used to having top kids, like to defensive linemen, right in his backyard to go get. He doesn't have that any more, so it's an adjustment. I think there's room for error with what they do, but I ultimately think they'll be fine.
How would another RB commitment effect Shallman's future as a Wolverine?
Tom VanHaaren (12:36 PM)
It wouldn't be a surprise to him, he knows that Michigan is recruiting Ty Isaac so I can't imagine it would.
What's your take on the linebacker situation. There are reports of the staff turning away certain prospects. Are they done recruiting a particular type of LB? or LB's all together?
Tom VanHaaren (12:37 PM)
I think your targets at LB are EJ Levenberry and Ben Gedeon. I've said before with the 2012 LB haul it's almost a luxury or a bonus at this point. You have Mike McCray committed, which is a great get and if you can add Levenberry and/or Gedeon then you've gotten a bonus rather than a necessity.
Another Matt (Chicago)
Do you know who, if anybody, from the class of 2013 is planning on enrolling early?
Tom VanHaaren (12:38 PM)
I posted this on our message board, but guys like Logan Tuley-Tillman and Taco Charlton are trying to enroll early.
Tony (Richmond, CA)
Michigan has had success in the past recruiting De La Salle star prospects such as Amani Toomer and Matt Gutierrez. Are the Wolverines in the hunt for Michael Hutchings, the Spartans stud 2013 outside LB?
Tom VanHaaren (12:39 PM)
I don't think he'll be in this class, unless something strange happened. I'd bet he'll stay on the West Coast.
Does Michigan have a realistic shot at landing Marcell Ateman?
Tom VanHaaren (12:40 PM)
He's the kind of guy that needs to visit. Shane Morris did talk to him in Dallas at the NFTC, but I'd need to see him actually visit first. He likes Michigan and what they have to offer, but it's too hard to say without a visit.
Joshua Milgrom References (New York)
So with no more offers to uncommitted prospects, is the goal of taking 3 TE in this class done? Will Hoke settle for Butt and Hill and use the spot on another position?
Tom VanHaaren (12:42 PM)
That will depend on what prospects remain at tight end. If there aren't any prospects that they're interested in then I think they'd just move on. They won't take someone just to take him, so it depends on if any new guys emerge. I know someone like Keith Towbridge from Catholic Central (OH) has been in contact with Michigan.
Joe (New York)
Can you believe that the Rock beat John Cena last night?
Tom VanHaaren (12:43 PM)
I'm going to need you to sit down before I tell you this.......wrestling is fake. I'll leave you alone for a bit to digest that.
With talk of Gardner playing some wide receiver and finding ways to get him on the field this season, is there any chance that would permanent and Shane could end up starting his first year?
Tom VanHaaren (12:45 PM)
Doesn't seem like it. Devin is doing fine, I just think this might be a way to get him on the field, keep him happy, find new ways for him to make an impact rather than not utilizing a 6-foot-5 monster athlete.
Caesar (Harlem, NYC)
Though the commitment of Butler is highly unlikely, do you think the coaches would prefer the commitment of a kid like walker, especially considering the CA connections that could result?
Tom VanHaaren (12:46 PM)
I think they would take both, at some point you're splitting hairs on guys being ranked higher than others.
Caesar (Harlem, NYC)
How likely is a gladney commitment?
Tom VanHaaren (12:47 PM)
I'm not sure I can answer how likely yet, because he's still gaining offers. He maintains that Michigan is still his leader, though.
Dan (Highlands Ranch, CO)
With so many 2013 prospects interested in Michigan why wouldn't the Michigan try and make room for additional prospects?
Tom VanHaaren (12:49 PM)
How does one 'make room' on a roster? It's not that easy, and as I've said before at some point you're splitting hairs over certain guys. Fans get emotional about certain recruits because of what they say in articles and videos, but there is a master plan to filling out a roster. Listen, I'm guilty of recruiting eight 5 and 4-star receivers on NCAA Football '12 because it's awesome, but you can't do that in real life.
Do you think Taco Charlton is underrated and can be a real force on defense once he adds some more muscle mass? Do you think Urban missed out big time on him?
Tom VanHaaren (12:50 PM)
Underrated as far as what? Star rankings? I don't know where anyone else has him ranked. I know that Michigan has been targeting him for quite some time now, and he was one of their main targets at that spot. He absolutely has the frame to add size, he has speed and athleticism, which is exactly what the coaches want. He plans on enrolling early, which will only help with his progression.
could you name top 3 wr prospects that michigan has a good shot at? other than tredwell?
Tom VanHaaren (12:53 PM)
This is outside of Treadwell in case anyone missed that. Instead of a top three how about a list of guys I think there's a good chance with. Kevin Gladney, Eldridge Massington, Devon Allen, Marcell Ateman, maybe Sebastian Larue, maybe Zach Bradshaw.
What are you thoughts around the coaching staffs level of interest in Solomon Warfield out of St. Eds?
Tom VanHaaren (12:54 PM)
Just in contact, he'll likely need to camp I would think. I've been in contact with Solomon for awhile now, so we'll see. He is teammates with 2012 commit Kyle Kalis, and who you guys should really focus on from St. Ed's is 2014 OL Jackson Kirby. He's 6-foot-3, 300 pounds, and will be very good.
Do you think fans get a little too caught up in the 4 or 5 star rankings? Look at Mathieu from LSU as a great example of a lower ranked player who turned out to be a beast on the field.
Tom VanHaaren (12:56 PM)
The rankings are there for a reason, and it really depends on who's doing the rankings. Fans tend to, and I don't mean this as a negative, believe the highest ranking for a specific player. Rankings for the top guys are usually somewhat accurate, but it gets muddled once you get into the four and three star guys because it's not an exact science, it's a projection of how a 17 year old kid is going to pan out in college. For the most part rankings do a good job of serving their purpose, but because of the nature of what they're ranking there will always be misses and mistakes.
Caleb (Wyoming, MI)
For a case like Blake Countess and Kendal Fuller, how big of a deal/draw is it for a recruit to have close friends or high school teammates playing on the same college teams they're looking at.
Tom VanHaaren (12:59 PM)
That's a good question, and it's tough to answer. It gets you in the conversation, that's for sure. It also helps, specifically in this case, because Kendall Fuller saw that Michigan isn't afraid to play a freshman if he's ready. Fuller has spoken to Countess about what he likes or doesn't like, and how things are going. So it almost gives them a better, honest look at what to expect, which could be a positive for sure. However, if it will impact his decision, I don't think it's a huge deal for him to have a friend on the team.
Tom VanHaaren (12:59 PM)
Alright, I have time for one more then I'll get going.
Caesar (Harlem, NYC)
has any current commits or targets mention the bama game as a game of high interest?
Tom VanHaaren (1:02 PM)
As far as what? Neither team is allowed to have official visitors, meaning the programs can't pay for travel or hotel for prospects to visit. The home team can leave tickets for unofficial visitors, though. Obviously that game will be highly promoted and talked about, so it will be a big deal. However, I think in the grand scheme of things, I don't think a win or loss will really impact Michigan. Let me rephrase that, I think a win would be more impactful than a loss would in the recruiting world, if that makes sense.
Tom VanHaaren (1:02 PM)
Thanks for joining me, and as always you can follow me on Twitter @TomVH. If you haven't signed up with WolverineNation yet, I would encourage you to do so. Have a good one.