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 (12:04 PM)
Hey everyone! Welcome to the chat today, sorry we're getting started a minute or two late, but let's get to it. Big day for football today.
Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)
Who will be the First Michigan Wolverine that will be selected in the 2013 NFL Draft?
Chantel (12:05 PM)
Barring anything really ridiculous, Denard Robinson. No, he didn't have as stellar a senior season as some might expect and who knows how he'll be used, but I think teams definitely want him.
Miles Crookston (Kalamazoo, MI)
What are the chances that both Peppers and Hand commit to Michigan? And when and if have they indicated they will make their announcements?
Chantel (12:06 PM)
Michigan is in good places with both of them. Peppers told ESPN.com on Tuesday that he should have a pretty good idea of where he's going by the middle of the summer. That doesn't necessarily he'll commit then, though. Hand might wait a bit longer. But Michigan is in his top five. Even if the Wolverines can pick up one, that'll be a top five defensive player -- huge get for Michigan and Brady Hoke.
Justin Hadley Mi [via mobile]
Should Michigan red shirt Shane Morris?
Chantel (12:08 PM)
Well, if the Wolverines don't get a transfer QB, I don't think they'll have that option. I've said for a while that having a true freshman play isn't the best thing in the world, but I think Morris might be a better option than Cleary.
JR (OC, CA)
You think Irvin can start over Stauskas next year specially with the way Nick can stroke the 3 like in the video recently released?
Chantel (12:12 PM)
I think the key will be who's hitting shots in game. The big thing Stauskas needs to work on is hitting 46 shots in a row during games (that's only slightly joking). He has hit big shots in practice but in the season he got very, very streaky. If Irvin can come in and actually hit shots, and doesn't play like a freshman, then why not?
Ben (Albuquerque )
Why hasn't Moe Ways committed yet?
Ben (Albuquerque )
Why hasn't Moe Ways committed yet? This was the offer he was working for and he got it so what exactly is he waiting for?
Chantel (12:13 PM)
That's a good question. I'm not really sure what he's waiting on. He's visiting today, so that's something to keep your eyes on.
Ben (Southwest Virginia)
It was interesting to see the two Tight End commits to Tenn. and ND immediately after Ian Bunting committed. Do you think we lead with all three tight ends? And in your opinion, did we get the best of the three?
Chantel (12:16 PM)
Yeah, you see those kind of things happen from time to time with players in the same position. I think Ian is a really good pass-catching tight end. Obviously, he's very tall (6-6) but he needs to put a lot of weight on. He's a Devin Funchess type guy who is more receiver than hitter. I think Nic Weishar was a guy who could've done both, but he's shorter than Bunting. In the perfect world, Borges wants guys that can do both but with Bunting it's easier to add tons of weight than it is to make them grow another three inches.
Chantel I'm assuming you saw the latest Stauskas video. Do you think when he meets up with Steph Curry that Curry can teach Nick how to create his own shot? I think that's the biggest area of improvement for Stauskas over the summer.
Chantel (12:18 PM)
I think Stauskas showed flashes of creating his own shots, but not consistently. So yes, he does need to do that better and more often. As a talented outside shooter, that is going to open things up for not only him to drive but also other guys to hit open shots. I think a few times he settled for outside shots when he should've driven -- this comes with maturity.
Ian Sharp (Edwardsburg, MI)
Have you noticed improvement in Devin Gardner's decision making? Seemed like that was his biggest issue at the end of last season. Also, do you think that the young O Line will be able to protect Gardner and create holes for whoever the starting back will be?
Chantel (12:20 PM)
a) yes, I think Gardner (in the limited time we got to see him in the spring game) showed progress with knowing Borges' play book and making the right reads. b) That will be a huge question mark leading into this season. Obviously, it doesn't matter how well Gardner is reading things if the O-line lets guys get through every down. But, I was more impressed with them after the spring game than I thought I'd be. Having Taylor Lewan back is obviously huge.
JR (OC, CA)
Don't you think, with Speight coming in right behind him, that Morris should NOT use a red-shirt? Speight, then should use the red-shirt his freshman year. Thoughts?
Chantel (12:22 PM)
It really could go either way. Sure, getting Morris a few plays as a true freshman could be great, or it could be a handful of downs and a burned redshirt that he can't get back. Speight is early enrolling so he'll be in Ann Arbor for spring ball next year so the two will be going through their first spring practice together and battling. If I were a coach and could get a transfer, I think I'd take it and let Morris and Speight duke it out behind Gardner for his final season.
Justin (Michigan) [via mobile]
Which true freshman do you see starting this coming football season for Hoke?
Chantel (12:24 PM)
I'm not sure about starting... I think Jake Butt could, possibly. He'll be battling Devin Funchess at tight end and if Funchess continues to disappear during games and not block men, then Butt could likely have his number called. As far as kids that didn't early enroll, possibly Mike McCray depending on how Brennen Beyer/Cam Gordon does with filling Jake Ryan's spot.
Dan Smith ((BYU))
If Moe Ways commits, will Michigan definitely look to fill what I think is one more WR spot with a slot guy like Scott? Would they turn down another outside WR type like Williams if one wanted to commit?
Chantel (12:26 PM)
They could take three if they want. But if they take three, the third spot would have to be a top top guy.
Richard Lapeer Mi [via mobile]
Who do you see winning the starting job at running back?
Chantel (12:31 PM)
The longer I hear about Fitz Toussaint not having contact, the better it looks for Green. Green will have to adjust to the speed of the game and his eyes will need to improve, but I think he has a really good shot.
Will Michigan be able to get pressure this year just rushing four?
Chantel (12:36 PM)
I think so. I think Frank Clark -- from everything I've heard -- is going to be a really, really good player for Michigan this year. If the Wolverines can have a pass rusher like him, then someone like Taco Charlton to give Clark a few downs off, then they have a chance to really create some pressure up front. And having that pressure will be key since we might see less blitzing depending on how U-M decides to fill Ryan's spot -- you just lose so much with him not on the field.
How is the B1G gonna be next year in basketball?
Chantel (12:39 PM)
It'll be a really, really tough league again. Obviously, IU lost a few key components but Crean has recruited well. Michigan will be good. MSU will be good. Ohio State returns Craft so, you know how that goes.
Is anyone who is currently committed planning on enrolling early?
Chantel (12:43 PM)
So far three commits plan to early enroll: Wilton Speight, Drake Harris and Michael Ferns.
JR (OC, CA)
Feels like Craft has been going to school for 6 years now!
Chantel (12:43 PM)
Robbie Hummel 2.0 (except, not really)
Chris (Ann Arbor)
What is the largest size we can anticipate this class swelling to? I know we are at 16 right now, 20 too large?
Chantel (12:45 PM)
It all depends on attrition/early enrollees. But as of now, 16 is a fair guess. I could get to 17 or 18 maybe, 20 seems a bit much as of now.
John (Ann Arbor)
Sure, NCAA basketball teams can recruit and work harder... but what can desserts do to improve their tournament performance next year?
Chantel (12:48 PM)
Ever since brownies won the WolverineNation dessert bracket, I've been recovering. It's the biggest upset of my life.
John (Long Beach, CA)
Can the Wolverines make a Rose Bowl run this Fall?
Chantel (12:50 PM)
I think it might be another year or two off. Crazier things have happened. At this point, with both the offensive and defensive lines in question, it's wayyyy to early to say.
DO you see staff taking 4 WRS is Scott spot saved?
Chantel (12:51 PM)
Four is a stretch. Three is a good estimate.
C.J. (Ann Arbor)
What are your thoughts on the new general admission policy for students at football games?
Chantel (12:53 PM)
I think it's interesting. I have yet to talk to a student that likes the idea. I don't know if it will enthuse masses of students to get there faster or not because the tailgating around the stadium is generally paid-for and used by alums. So will upperclassman students get to the stadium two hours early without anything to do for that time other than watch warm ups? Ehhhh...
Tien (Rhode Island)
Love the work you guys do on the site & in the forums. Do you think if Juwann Bushell Beatty's potential commitment will have an impact on Jabril Pepper's plans? It seems to me like they wouldn't mind playing college ball together at all. The same can be said for Mason Cole
Chantel (12:55 PM)
I really don't think package deals are that great of an idea for the players or schools. That being said does one good friend being at a school help? Sometimes yes. But I don't think it's one of the top 5 or 8 aspects in Peppers recruitment. As far as Mason Cole's influence in East Lake? I'd say he has a bigger role in George Campbell's recruitment than he does Artavis Scott.
What recruits from the 2014 class do you see Michigan having the best shot at?
Chantel (12:56 PM)
Tommy Doles, Moe Ways -- two instate guys that the Wolverines are in a really, really good place with.
Eric ((Ann Arbor))
With the lack of consistent pass rush last year the UM DBs were put under a lot of pressure (plus, injuries didn't help). This year, the DBs look like they are going to be one of the deepest squads. How do you think the DBs will do and who seems to be ready to raise their game to the next level?
Chantel (12:58 PM)
The DBs also lost a lot of leadership which I don't think people should overlook (Kovacs). However, they have a lot of depth and options in the secondary. As far as young guys who have the opportunity to raise their games to the next level -- keep your eyes out for Dymonte Thomas. Mattison said he's mostly playing nickel but I think he could be very, very, very good. Safety Jarrod Wilson is another name that sticks out to me.
Aaron (Grand Rapids, MI)
Is Tommy Doles being recruited by Northwestern and Notre Dame still?
Chantel (12:59 PM)
Yes, and West Point.
Which recruit would you say is most important for UM to land: Hand, Peppers, or McDowell?
Chantel (1:00 PM)
They're all important for different reasons. I have a hard time saying one player is more crucial than another. Obviously Hand or McDowell could be huge for the d-line and Peppers, for the secondary. Peppers could theoretically contribute faster than linemen. McDowell is important to make a statement with in state recruiting. Hand and Peppers are both top five guys.
Do you start Steve Nash er I mean Spike Albrecht or go with Derrick Walton at PG next year?
Chantel (1:02 PM)
First game out of the blocks? Albrecht for experience factor. After that? A dog fight.
With a lot of top talent in the defensive back department looking to visit Michigan, how many d-backs can we expect to take in this class?
Chantel (1:02 PM)
Two-four should be reasonable. Again, depending on different factors and who commits when.
Chantel (1:03 PM)
OK guys, great chat! Thanks for stopping by! If I didn't get to your question feel free to tweet it to me @chanteljennings or drop me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org). See ya!