Chat with Michael Rothstein
Welcome to WolverineNation! On Thursday, reporter Michael Rothstein stops by to chat about the state of Michigan football.
Rothstein joined ESPN.com in 2011 after covering the University of Michigan for AnnArbor.com, Notre Dame for the Fort Wayne (Ind.) Journal Gazette and a host of colleges for the Daily News-Record (Harrisonburg, Va.). A Syracuse graduate and an East Meadow, N.Y. native, he lives in Ann Arbor, Mich.
Send your questions now and join Rothstein Thursday at noon ET!
Michael Rothstein (12:48 PM)
Hello, sorry for being so late. I was unavoidably detained with a personal issue. I'm here now and will get to as many questions as I possibly can. Many, many apologies.
Rob T (Grand Rapids)
Do you think Michigan will end up with 4 WRs in the 2014 class? The Canteen offer is a bit surprising.
Michael Rothstein (12:49 PM)
It's possible, I guess, but I still think some of that will be due to attrition if it happens. Coaches have to offer multiple prospects because if they wait on one guy and he chooses a different school late in the cycle, then the school could be looking around late with not many options out there. It is something to watch, but I think it will depend how the rest of the class plays out. Definitely think they will take at least one more (getting up to three).
John K (San Diego)
Michael,We know Devin Funchess and Jeremy Gallon are ready to step up as top receivers but who are that next couple guys that we will be hearing about this season?
Michael Rothstein (12:50 PM)
Jake Butt could be a surprise at tight end. He's a freshman but should have many opportunities to play. The other guy I'd look at is Amara Darboh. The sophomore didn't play much other than special teams last season, but he could end up being the starter opposite Gallon. If teams focus on Gallon and Funchess, he could see a lot of 1-on-1 opportunities.
Tony (Richmond, CA)
What's the latest on Devin Booker and the Wolverines recruitment of the sharpshooter?
Michael Rothstein (12:51 PM)
They are still recruiting him along with many other teams.
with all these future rankings and future outlooks on the site this week, im left wondering who will most likely fill the voids left at OT after this season? and how far away are we from seeing a truly dominant offensive line?
Michael Rothstein (12:52 PM)
This is a good question, Chris. I'd be surprised if you'd see anyone other than Ben Braden shift over to replace Taylor Lewan next season. He should get some experience at guard this year and then be able to make the move. On the right side, I think it'll be open. I'd look at Erik Magnuson as a guy who will make a serious run at the spot, but it is still a ways off to predict that.As far as a dominant offensive line, I think you could see it in 2014.
MARI IL [via mobile]
What are the potential trap games in your opinion
Michael Rothstein (12:55 PM)
Northwestern is an obvious concern being on the road and in a tough November stretch. I've predicted Michigan to lose that game for a while now. The other game that catches my eye is Iowa. Michigan has struggled there in the past and it comes right after the road game at Northwestern -- and directly before the regular season finale against Ohio State. It is a classic overlook game.
How many NC did Bo Schembechler win? Thanks
Michael Rothstein (12:55 PM)
Obviously we'll see Derrick Green playing as a freshman this year. How much do you think Deveon Smith plays?
Michael Rothstein (12:56 PM)
I think that depends on Toussaint and Rawls, Greg. If one or both of those guys is ready and able to beat out Smith, it wouldn't shock me if both Smith and Wyatt Shallman redshirted this year. But if Toussaint isn't 100 percent or Smith is just flat better than Rawls (which is possible) you could see him getting some spot carries and a bunch of special teams work.
Drew (Philadelphia, PA)
With the loss of Trey Burke and Tim Hardaway Jr, how good are the Wolverines looking next year? Will Zak Irvin come in and be an impact player right away?
Michael Rothstein (12:58 PM)
They should still be quite good Drew. While they lose their backcourt, they return their frontcourt of Glenn Robinson III, Mitch McGary and Jordan Morgan. They also have Nik Stauskas who can slide down to the two and either Derrick Walton Jr. or Spike Albrecht at the point. That's still a good starting five with two potential lottery picks and maybe 3-4 NBA guys. Irvin, of course, is immensely talented and should at the very least be in the rotation as well, depending how Michigan plays. There is a lot of talent on this team.
Adoree Jackson said that track is very important in his recruitment. Does Michigan have a great program or a good long jumping coach?
Michael Rothstein (1:00 PM)
Michigan's program is not on the level of some of the top programs in the country and its coach, Fred LaPlante, just retired. Jade Ellis is a volunteer coach working with Michigan's jumpers, so it might depend on who the Wolverines hire to replace LaPlante. Something to keep an eye on.
Kyle (Naples, FL)
Who do you see as the starter this year at SDE? Is Wormley projected to play more of SDE or DT?
Michael Rothstein (1:02 PM)
That's a good question. Still think it is pretty wide open and could be a good competition throughout fall camp. Keith Heitzman has the most experience of the group and if the season started today, I'd put him as one rotation guy. I'd look at Wormley and Tom Strobel as well. I think both of them will really push Heitzman to start and certainly rotate, as Greg Mattison likes to do.
How would does it work if a recruit that is offered such as Canteen who just recently got his offer wants to commit but the staff is wanting to wait on an elite prospect like artavis scott. What would they do in that situation?
Michael Rothstein (1:03 PM)
I'm not sure, Zach. I'd be lying if I said I knew what the coaches would do in that situation. My understanding is Michigan doesn't offer noncommittable offers, though, so it is an interesting situation, potentially.
Kyle (Naples, FL)
If Stauskas' defense doesn't improve this year do you think he'll find himself with less minutes with GR3 moving to 3 spot and Levert being a defensive specialist and Irvin coming in?
Michael Rothstein (1:06 PM)
I think it is possible, although it is tough to imagine a Beilein team without a shooter with the ability of Stauskas getting major minutes. As long as he is making the 3-pointer as a good clip, he will play a lot of minutes. But I think he'll have less margin for error this season unless his defense improves by a decent-to-good margin. What Beilein likes about this team -- and what helps -- is the versatility. Everyone on the roster, for the most part, can play multiple spots on the floor. For instance, Stauskas can play the 1-3.
bbrown (Las Vegas)
Do you see any major surprises coming up in the next few weeks relative to commitments / visits / offers?
Michael Rothstein (1:07 PM)
Nothing huge on my radar right now.
Miles (Fayetteville, Arkansas)
Hey Mike, diehard wolverines fan who just recently moved down to Fayetteville, Arkansas. My question is regarding recruits on both the gridiron and the hardwood. First, we know that Hand is essentially coming down to Alabama and Michigan even though he has listed Florida in his top three as well. Have you heard any news recently on Malik Mcdowell's recruitment? And what other players that you know Jabril Peppers is helping Michigan recruit? In regards to the basketball program I know that Chatman has Michigan high on his list but what other players have an high level of interest in Michigan in the 2014 class? Finally, do you where Michigan stands with Zimmerman and Briscoe in the 2015 class?
Michael Rothstein (1:09 PM)
Frankly, the football questions are better for Tom as far as those specific ones. As far as basketball, you're looking at a group of Devin Booker (Moss Point, Miss./Moss Point), Chatman, Trevon Bluiett (Indianapolis, Ind./Park Tudor) and Vince Edwards (Middletown, Ohio/Middletown). Those are the players (all wings and guards) with offers right now and all appear interested. Every one, though, has other offers. With the 2015 class, neither Zimmerman nor Briscoe have offers. Until they visit campus, it is tough to say it is a serious deal because of Beilein's insistence on a campus visit before an offer. Michigan is really interested in Zimmerman, though.
Don (Chicago, IL)
1) Who is the next possible commit?2) Your odds on a Hand commitment? 40%?
Michael Rothstein (1:10 PM)
Sorry, Don, I don't like to get into predicting the whims of 16 and 17 year olds.
Michael Rothstein (1:11 PM)
Thanks, everyone, for the questions today. Apologies again for being late to the party. Had an unavoidable personal situation which came up unexpectedly. Thanks again for the questions and hope everyone has a great weekend.