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 (12:00 PM)
Hey everyone! Thanks for stopping by the chat! We'll get started shortly, but feel free to drop questions in now so we can get rolling.
Jake (Ann Arbor)
We hear about the potential breakout year for Darboh as a WR threat. I was curious to know about Jehu Chesson and his development. Will he see the field this year?
Chantel (12:02 PM)
Coaches seemed to like his progress through the spring but I just get the sense that he's behind Darboh as far as number of snaps goes. And physically, I think Darboh is more ready to play (even though he went through shoulder surgery his senior year of high school) -- he's one inch shorter than Chesson, but 20 pounds heavier. I just see him being the more physical, quick, hard hitting receiver they want.
Blue fan in Ohio (Clyde, Oh)
Hello Chantel. First time chat writer. Long time chat reader . Whats your feeling on where we stand with some of our targets in BB for the class 2014 committing to Michigan ?
Chantel (12:07 PM)
I saw small forwards Kameron Chatman and Devin Booker at Michigan's camp two weeks ago and it looked like they were really comfortable around the coaching staff, which is a good sign. (Chatman actually picked his offer up right after that camp). Chatman seems really high on Michigan and some people were saying that he might've even been a commit-on-spot type kid (which obviously, ended up not happening). Vincent Edwards is another kid who has a lot of interest in Michigan, but I don't know if I see him eventually committing here.
Any update on whether or not Fitz will be healthy enough to play the opener?
Chantel (12:09 PM)
We don't get any official medical updates but I saw him walking around a few weeks ago near campus and he didn't even have a limp (which after seeing that injury...that's pretty remarkable). Now, I know walking and hitting the hole/cutting are two very different things. Do I think he'll play in the opener, though? Yeah. I think he will. He might even start. But I think by season's end, we'll see Derrick Green as the Wolverines' go-to RB.
In your opinion did the changing of Hands top 3 benefit Michigan?
Chantel (12:12 PM)
I try not to read into things like that too much except to say, very generally and obviously, it's a good thing for your school if it's in a kid's top-5, top-10, top-whatever. Hand has his own reasons for each school being where it is, and he has been impressed with Michigan, both academically and athletically.
How is Terry Richardson coming along, he was our top rated recruit a year ago and I haven't heard anything about him?
Chantel (12:15 PM)
Terry's name wasn't brought up a ton over spring ball and honestly, I just feel like eventually his size might be what sidelines him. He has the speed and quickness, but he's 5-9, 162. If you look at the CBs that Michigan is going after now, they're not that small.
Do you think Hoke has finally transformed the Roster from the Spread team he inherited to the pro-power team he prefers?
Chantel (12:17 PM)
Well, start with the offensive line. I mean, dear heavens, his offensive line hauls have been nasty. That wasn't true when Rich Rodriguez was coaching at Michigan. The Wolverines have also gone after big, physical receivers -- quite different if you look at who's left from the Rodriguez era (Gallon and Dileo, who even Al Borges makes short jokes about).
In your opinion, who is most likely to be the next commit for the wolverines?
Chantel (12:20 PM)
Hard to say -- you could have a situation like last year with Channing Stribling when he camped at Michigan, picked up an offer and turned it into a commitment really fast. There are a few 2014 kids camping with U-M next week and I wouldn't rule out something like that. Other than that, there are a few other guys that have said they'd like to make decisions before their senior seasons -- Parrker Westphal is one of those whom I think Michigan has a great shot with.
Ian (Ann Arbor, MI)
Chantel, what is your best guess at the remaining opened spots for the 2014 class?
Chantel (12:23 PM)
They'll take a RB and another WR. They have room on each line for 1-2 more guys. And they could take 1-3 more DBs. Depends on how everything breaks down with names and numbers, but that's a rough estimate.
Who is camping with Michigan next week that you mentioned?
Chantel (12:25 PM)
As far as 2014 guys that I mentioned: LB Kyle Rachwal, DB Jalen Embry, WR Asantay Brown and LB Jamal Davis.
Any predictions for the upcoming football season? Record and bowl?
Chantel (12:28 PM)
First off, I hope you're a Dexter Dreadnaught grad, if so, go dreads! Second, predictions... If I were Brady Hoke I'd say, "Football will be played, plays will be made, I'll wear short sleeves." As far as a record, I think they have a chance to have a pretty successful year. I don't think they'll beat Ohio State and Michigan State is basically a push.
Kalen Ballage seems to be a freak athlete according to his measurable's, are you surprised the coaches are recruiting him at running back instead of a linebacker?
Chantel (12:30 PM)
Michigan has more depth at linebacker than they do at RB so I think it makes sense to go after him there.
is michigan waiting for artavious scott for the last receiver spot or are they looking for someone else?
Chantel (12:32 PM)
WR Corey Holmes is stil in the picture and KJ Williams is a name to know. As I said before, they do have a 2014 WR camping next week and he'll have a chance to really impress in person.
Chris Johnson (Detroit)
Will Funchess become the number 2 receiver? Or will he remain a tight end?
Chantel (12:33 PM)
It sounds like they'll keep him at TE. He spent the winter and spring working on his blocking skills (he called himself a pretty boy or something earlier, saying he didn't want to get hit). But now that he does want to hit and catch, I think he could be a prototypical TE that Borges would want to use in his offense. If he can do that, no reason to move him.
Do you think Jamarco Jones is a lock for Ohio now that hes not taking anymore visits?
Chantel (12:33 PM)
I've thought for a while that OSU leads, but he's a pretty quiet kid and I'm just not sure.
Brad (Kalamazoo, MI)
Any news or timetable for a Jake Ryan return?
Chantel (12:37 PM)
Last I heard was that mid-October was the most optimistic timetable. That would be a pretty remarkable recovery but stranger things have happened. He's a freak athlete so maybe he's a freak recover-er as well.
Kevin (New Jersey)
Do you have any clue if Jamarco Jones plans to announce soon or is he going to wait on it?
Chantel (12:39 PM)
He cancelled the rest of his visits but still plans to announce his decision on June 27.
if you could pick one corner to end up at michigan who would it be, westphal from ill or jackson from cali?
Chantel (12:42 PM)
Well, I don't pick things like this since I'm not a recruiter. Both a great athletes and players. They're both good kids, too. I've met Parrker in person, but I've never met Jackson. However, I think Westphal is more practical to get excited about if you're putting your eggs into a basket.
Where does Michigan stand with Deshawn Hand
Chantel (12:44 PM)
They're in a good place. His final three of Alabama, Michigan and Florida are obviously all good options and each have their pro's and con's. He loves Michigan's coaching staff and U-M's academics are also a huge draw.
Brandon K (Bloomfield)
With the open spots on the O-Line, which of the underclassmen/freshman do you feel has the best chance of starting?
Chantel (12:49 PM)
RS Freshmen Ben Braden and Kyle Kalis and RS So Jack Miller.
Where does the team stand in regards to the future of ILB/OLB wheather here and now or in the future 2014/15 recruiting?
Chantel (12:51 PM)
In 2014 they have Michael Ferns and Chase Winovich and I think they're pretty much good there. Winovich, as a rising senior, is already bigger than Jake Ryan is now, so that's a good thing. In the 2015 class they've already offered four linebackers -- ILB Anthony Wheeler and OLBs Malik Jefferson, Osa Masina and Cameron Townsend.
Leon (Burlington, Ontario)
If you were going to play a recreational sport, say soccer, would you choose to play with a group of your very best friends or with a group of strangers of questionable integrity? Thank you
Chantel (12:54 PM)
I'm not very good at soccer and many of my friends are. So I'd play with my friends and eat oranges while sitting on the bench.
Andrew (Dexter) [via mobile]
Football skills aside, who is the coolest recruit (Michigan commit or not) that you have met this year?
Chantel (12:56 PM)
Most of the players are really great kids. Michigan tends to go after guys that are well-rounded kids and so generally chatting with them is nice. I don't know if I could pin point who the coolest kid is though.
Does Blake Countess look to be fully recovered from his ACL surgery? Michigan's secondary definitely took a hit last year when he was out for the season.
Chantel (12:59 PM)
I think he'll be ready to go this fall and the Michigan secondary better hope he is. He's an integral part of the DB group and as long as he's 100 percent he should be able to be a big playmaker for them.
Brandon K (Bloomfield)
With Roundtree gone who do you expect to step up as the #1 target this upcoming year at WR?
Chantel (1:00 PM)
Gallon and Dileo have both proven themselves as sure players for Michigan and they both have a lot of chemistry with Gardner already. As far as a guy who will step into Roundtree's position (not saying he'll always be the No. 1 target though) would be Amara Darboh.
Chantel (1:01 PM)
Well, that is all the time we have for today. Thanks so much for stopping by. If I didn't get to your question shoot me an email at jenningsESPN@gmail.com and I'll make sure to respond there. Have a great Thursday!
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