Chat with Chantel Jennings
Welcome to WolverineNation! On Thursday, reporter Chantel Jennings stops by to chat about the state of Michigan football.
Jennings joined ESPN.com in 2011 after covering University of Michigan athletics for three years at The Michigan Daily. Jennings graduated from the University of Michigan with degrees in English and Spanish and lives in Ann Arbor.
Send your questions now and join Jennings Thursday at noon ET!
Chantel (11:57 AM)
Hey everyone! We're just a few minutes from the start of the chat, so thanks for joining and we'll get going here shortly.
Tom (The Woodlands, TX.)
Like Norfleet last year do you see an off the radar player joiningthis current class? Go Blue!
Chantel (12:00 PM)
First off Tom, I love the Woodlands. Lovely place. Anyway, could Michigan add another player? Yes, but there really isn't a lot of chatter right now. They're not going to fill a spot for the sake of filling a spot. They've already put themselves in a good position with so many top 2014 guys, so if it's between "saving" a space for 2014 or taking a guy who they like, but don't love, I'd image we'll see the 2014 spot take precedence.
Mike (Virginia Beach, VA)
Do you think that Michigan will redshirt Shane Morris?
Chantel (12:03 PM)
I'd assume as long as Gardner can stay healthy, they'd keep that extra year of eligibility while giving Shane some more time to learn the playbook and work his way into the offense.
Frank in Rockford, Il. [via mobile]
Who will carry the offense next season?
Chantel (12:05 PM)
I don't think you can pick out one person. I'd imagine Devin Gardner, Devin Funchess, Drew Dileo and Jeremy Gallon will all foot some of the bill. I think you could also see guys like Amara Darboh or Jehu Chesson step up as WR's. As far as the run game, it could likely be Derrick Green. * Cue a slew of Derrick Green questions*
Seeing we lost out on Treadwell. I am a bit worried about our depth at WR. Or am I over thinking things?
Chantel (12:08 PM)
Between Darboh and Chesson, the 2012 class had good receivers. And in this 2013 class, Hoke brought in guys that will help the offense -- no they're not the big names or five-stars, but they're good. Damario Jones has had Michigan State, Georgia and other schools in his high school this week trying to get him to swap. Jaron Dukes and Csont'e York will fill holes in the offense eventually. On top of that, Michigan already has some good interest in 2014 guys -- Corey Holmes and Artavis Scott, to name two.
Nathan (West Bloomfield)
Chantel, i saw in you said it will be tough for the wolverines to win in bloomington this saturday, but u didnt exactly make a pick! so whats your prediction?! for the recordi think M takes it but barely, 63-60
Chantel (12:09 PM)
Haha, I'm going to go with this answer everyone will hate me for -- IU by less than 5.
Have they said if Fitz will be ready for the start of next season?
Chantel (12:09 PM)
We haven't had an injury reports (and don't expect any). All we know is that he was walking without canes, but with a boot at the bowl game. That's a good sign. Outside of that, no one has much.
I'm intrigued by the Cass Tech sophomore QB Campbell. Do you expect him to be a bigtime recruit? Does M have a good shot with him?
Chantel (12:11 PM)
Jayru is very good and has a lot of upside. His dad is super tall and was an athlete too, so Jayru could add a few inches and has a frame that can add weight. A lot of people have asked me why Michigan hasn't pulled the trigger with him yet though... well, they haven't offered a QB in the 2014 class. Don't expect them to offer a '15 without a '14 offer out. Would Michigan have a good shot with him? I think so but he's good friends with Damon Webb so I'd imagine that Damon has already been recruiting him to OSU.
Marc (Ludington, MI)
Of the next four b-ball games (@IU, OSU, @UW, @MSU), which is the most important to win?
Chantel (12:13 PM)
OK, I'm going to say that rather than a "must win" game or anything, I think it's most important for Michigan to go 2-1 on the road during this stretch. Road wins are going to decide conference champions and playing in Bloomington, Madison and East Lansing, it's not completely out of the question for a team to go 0-3. The Wolverines -- in order to stay a top the B1G -- need to go at least 2-1.
Nathan (West Bloomfield)
i would like to know who, as a person, is the most impressive recruit you have ever dealt with? and if not a M guy, which M guy would top that list?
Chantel (12:14 PM)
Haha, I love questions like this... I'll divide it up a bit.a) Cam Dillard - He's great because he'll randomly quote George Patton or Abraham in regular conversation. I wish I could've interviewed him more just because he would say things like "in the spirit of transparency."
Chantel (12:15 PM)
I'm not going to pick a Michigan commit because, well, if for some reason one of them reads this and I don't pick them, my phone will have a few angry (s/) text messages.
Chantel (12:17 PM)
b) I really do like the Cass Tech kids. Because they're so close to Ann Arbor, I'm out at the school a fair amount and I can walk in and it's not awkward because they all say hi and talk to me. Gary Hosey is funny -- at some point we're going to have a sports competition of sorts. I told him I could beat him in LB drills (oh boy). Also Jayru and I have deep conversations about his fro. His coaches always try to get me to tell him he needs to braid it, but I'm on his side. Long hair, don't care.
pete (batesburg s.c.)
how will the o-line and d-line look this year?
Chantel (12:18 PM)
It'll be a lot of large humans in maize and blue.
Chantel (12:19 PM)
In all seriousness, the O-line is a bit of a mystery right now. It'll be a lot of young guys, but it'll be young guys who spent a year playing together on the scout team/2 deep last year. Chemistry is such a vital part of the line and they actually should have a pretty good grasp on that. Defensively, I think you'll also see a lot of young players. But, you've got some guys coming back who will hopefully be able to get big bodies inside and a better four-man rush than we saw last year.
As much as Hoke as stressed the importance of "Senior Leadership" it seemed like that was an issue last year, not that the seniors didn't try to take on that roll, but that none of them really fit the bill (i.e. Mike Martin) maybe it's a personality thing, but do you see someone stepping up and filling this role?
Chantel (12:21 PM)
I'm going to disagree with you. No, Michigan didn't have a senior that went out and made video documentaries of their senior year, but you had guys like Denard Robinson, Jordan Kovacs, Elliott Mealer, Craig Roh -- guys who have every range of personality that gave a lot for the team. I think there was a great deal of senior leadership last year. Just because people didn't see it on youtube, doesn't mean it wasn't there.
Graham (Naples, FL)
Any word on the health of Blake Countess, and fill me in on the DB's coming in '13.. please... ;-)
Chantel (12:22 PM)
Someone told me recently that he ran for the first time on Sunday and felt great. They'll ease him back into it, not sure if you can expect him to go full force for spring ball. But if he's running now he's ahead of schedule (Not AP style, but still).
Jerome (Cleveland, OH)
Of the 2014 prospects, is there one who you personally feel would be the biggest get? (i.e. Hand, McDowell, or someone else)
Chantel (12:24 PM)
There are a lot of big targets out there who would be great. McDowell or Doles would be huge in-state gets for Michigan. But I'm going to go with 2014 O-lineman Mason Cole. If you get Cole, you have a better chance with his teammates -- 2014 WR Artavis Scott and 2015 WR George Campbell Jr., plus you start a pipeline in Florida...not a bad deal.
Is there a spot on the team you would say is a weak spot? I know it was OL but I see it as inexperienced but talented now.
Chantel (12:25 PM)
The O-line and D-line will be filling their depth with a lot of youth. The secondary too. "Inexperienced, but talented" might be the best way to describe all those position groups. That's not great, though.
Matt (Ann Arbor)
You say Michigan is in good position for some top 2014 guys. Which guys are they in the best shape with and do these guys play a position that Michigan will need to recruit most for the 2014 class?
Chantel (12:29 PM)
Parrker Westphal's DB coach is a Michigan grad and there's definitely mutual interest there. As I said, Doles and McDowell are both in-state guys, so there's that. Da'Shawn Hand has said really good things about Michigan and their coaching staff. Alex Bars is a Michigan legacy. WR Corey Holmes grew up a die-hard Michigan fan. Tyler Luatua has had in-school visits from Michigan coaches twice in the past three weeks.
Nathan (West Bloomfield)
anything cool or exciting planned for ur readers on signing day?
Chantel (12:30 PM)
"Uh duh." -Chantel and TomVH
Tom Luginbuhl recently said on ESPN that for M or Ohio to compete for National Championships, they probably need to get DL from the South. Is that really true? Are there not any/not enough good DL in the midwest?
Chantel (12:31 PM)
Well, just look at the offers that have gone out at DE and DT for both schools in the 2014 classes. I see a lot of Florida, South Carolina, Georgia, Virginia ...
Are you ghost writing the weekly update for TomVH yet?
Chantel (12:33 PM)
You don't want me writing it. I have some insight but Tom is our expert.
Mike (West Quad)
West Quad, Best Quad?
Chantel (12:36 PM)
Lived there for a year.... I think North quad might have it now, though.
Will the Woverines win their first full NC since 1947 next year? Thanks
Chantel (12:37 PM)
And we've got a Nebraska fan in our chat today! My gut says no.
If the Starting 5 on the Michigan Basketball team were animals, what kind would they be?
Chantel (12:37 PM)
I hear a lot about Funchess and Butt, all well deserving. But is Khalid Hill like the Hernandez for the taller Gronkowskies'? And is Shallman going to fill the same roll?
Chantel (12:40 PM)
Wow, you just put a lot of names in that question... Shallman is going to be a multiple utility guy for Michigan. Mainly, he's excited to hit people, so who knows what we'll see. He could play some TE, but I think well see him as more of a back. As far as Hill, I'm not exactly sure how they'll use him -- more of an A.J. Williams.
Do schools pull back offers they have made over the year by this point in time? Meaning, they are at #s capacity so they can't take more guys, or if 5 stars commit do they drop guys previously comitted? Gracias
Chantel (12:42 PM)
At any time of the year, the offer might not mean a ton. There are guys who have 50 offers but they can call up a coach and say, "I'm in!" but that doesn't mean they will be. Like at this point if Dennis Finley -- OL from Cass Tech -- called the coaches and said, "Hey, I want to commit because I have that offer," Michigan would say no -- They already have six commits.
Who do you see leaving after the season besides Trey Burke? Hardaway? GRIII? Also - if either Hardaway or Burke leave, will M add another recruit? Thanks.
Chantel (12:44 PM)
Hardaway Jr. is having a great season and could probably leave after this year if he wants, not sure if he will. Burke, I would imagine to. I'm not sure about GRIII -- I couldn't really see that but I suppose it would depend what the draft advisory would tell him. And Michigan could always add a late signee. If you remember, they picked up Caris LeVert and Spike Albrecht late in the game and both of those guys have panned out.
Urban (Under my desk)
Is Derrick Green going to start from day 1?
Chantel (12:45 PM)
There are so many factors. Does he have the potential? Yes.
What's the recruiting atmosphere like in the Midwest with the new guy coaching that team in Ohio?
Chantel (12:45 PM)
It's intense. With Gareon Conley switching that heated things up, and I think it got even more intense when Damon Webb committed to OSU. Cass Tech had definitely been a Michigan pipeline so that was interesting.
kirt (dothan al)
now that the 13 class is practically over what position do you think is the biggest need for the 14 class i feel like its DT
Chantel (12:48 PM)
I think the D-line will definitely be a point of intense recruiting in the 2014 class. I think they'll also try to land another big QB -- it's why they're taking so much time and care with their offer right now.
Would you of rather had Treadwell or Green?
Chantel (12:49 PM)
Michigan had good WR and RB commits before Green committed. As I said earlier, no they're not the big names, but they're talented guys that fit the system. But if there were a place that really really needed a big name, I would say RB. So Green.
Its pretty obvious Hoke only wants kids with the character needed to be a Michigan Man. Does that hurt us in recruiting?
Chantel (12:52 PM)
I think it tells you about Hoke's character. He doesn't believe in winning at all costs. He held out Toussaint for Alabama, he didn't allow JT Floyd to play in his final Michigan game. He's a no-nonsense guy. Is it too bad that he doesn't lower his standards? I suppose that's a question for each fan to answer personally.
How many phone calls, emails, etc. do you make on average to get quotes and information for those long pieces you have done on the likes of Roh, the twitter story, etc?
Chantel (12:53 PM)
Depends on the story. For a lot of stories, you'll do interviews that might not even appear in the story, just because they give you background or color. For stories, interviews can range from one or two to 12, I'd say.
I feel what Michigan has been lacking from a defensive standpoint the last several years is a guy who can come off the edge with consistent pressure. Is there anyone on the roster now or coming in this year's class that you think might be able to be that next great D-end? Maybe that's just the Hoke in me coming out.
Chantel (12:54 PM)
I think Taco Charlton is a guy who'll be able to do that for Michigan. He's early enrolling so I think he'll be able to work his way into the system and this extra semester with Mattison and the opportunity to play spring ball will only benefit him.
Has there been any news on Devin Gardners medical red-shirt?
Chantel (12:55 PM)
Not yet. We haven't been able to talk to Hoke though since shortly after the bowl game.
Ben (Southwest Virginia)
If Michigan wins at Assembly Hall and Trey Burke has a fantastic game, how huge does that play into his POY candidacy?
Chantel (12:55 PM)
That would be a huge statement on both the team's and Trey's parts.
Zack Morris (Not being saved by the bell)
Who's the most exciting 2014 recruit on Michigans radar
Chantel (12:57 PM)
I'm not sure what you mean by exciting. But I'd say Corey Holmes is a name that jumps out. He's an exciting player, and definitely one that has a lot of interest in Michigan.
Do you think the "5 star" receives that everyone wants will start to come once they get a look at a full year of the pro style offense?
Chantel (12:58 PM)
I think it'll definitely help offensive recruiting for Borges and Hoke to say, "See, this is what we want to do," and for players to actually see it happening on the field rather than just hearing about it. If I were a top recruit, I think I'd have some trepidation about committing to a program after only hearing what they want to do.
Chantel (1:00 PM)
Alright everyone, thanks for stopping by today! If I didn't get to your recruiting questions, feel free to stop by Twitter tonight as Tom and I are having a Twitter chat from 6-7 EST. Just tweet to @WolverineNation with the hashtag #WolverineNchat and we'll answer questions for an hour. Also, feel free to email questions (jenningsESPN@gmail.com) or tweet them to Mike (@mikerothstein) for next week's mailbag!