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November 14, 12:00 PM ET
Chat with Tom VanHaaren

Tom VanHaaren
  (11:59 AM)

Hi everyone, thanks for joining us again for this week's Chat.

Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)

What Michigan College Football Players are ready for the NFL in 2012?

Tom VanHaaren
  (12:01 PM)

Mike Martin is probably the most obvious, and I for some reason just feel like Dave Molk will succeed anywhere he goes despite his size. Junior Hemingway seems like he should get some NFL attention as well. Is that what you meant? Or did you mean after next season?

Michael (Lincoln Park)

Ok. Let's say hypothetically that Michigan beats Nebraska, OSU and goes 10-2. They probably won't make the B1G championship game, which I think will be MSU and Wisc. Now if MSU loses, is there a chance that Michigan could get a BCS bowl instead of MSU?

Tom VanHaaren
  (12:03 PM)

It's my understanding, and someone can correct me if I'm wrong, that to get an at large bid you need to be in the top 14 BCS rankings. In your scenario, if Wisconsin goes on to the Rose Bowl and Michigan wins out, then it seems like they would be in the top 14. Whether or not there's enough AQ teams to fill the spots, I'm not sure. In your scenario though it seems likely since MSU would have 3 losses and Michigan 2. Whether that will happen I don't know.

Brett Tank (Virginia)

Of the 2012 recruiting class, which players have a chance to play major roles in 2012? With Brandon Moore and Ricardo Miller being the only returning scholarship tight ends, do are Funchess and Williams being counted on to contribute next year or is that too much to expect out of true freshmen tight ends?

Tom VanHaaren
  (12:05 PM)

I don't think it's too much to ask of them. Williams will likely be more of a blocking tight end, so he'll need to make sure his strength is there and he understands his role. Funchess is more of a pass catching tight end, so as long as he understands the offense and can add some good weight, I think he'll have a chance to see the field. It seems like any of the three SDE's committed (Godin, Wormley, and Strobel) would have a good shot at playing, too.

Nathan (West Bloomfield)

I am sure you get this quesiton hourly, but Payton has been quiet lately. is M still #1 for him? is there a legit chance we get 0 wr's this year? thanks

Tom VanHaaren
  (12:07 PM)

Jordan Payton told me earlier today that Michigan and Notre Dame are still his leaders for now. Whether that changes or not, we'll see. He said he's still not sure when that decision will come as of this morning. To answer the second part of your question, Michigan has a very good chance at landing two wide receivers in this class, in fact they might lead for one already.

Tyler (Grand Rapids)

You guessed it. My question is about Stefon Diggs!Really though, what are Michigan's chances if we can get an official?

Tom VanHaaren
  (12:09 PM)

If you didn't see my article on WR Stefon Diggs yesterday, it's right here: http://es.pn/uJxQXx Diggs talks about where Michigan stands, when his new top 7 will be revealed, and how he'll announce his decision. If Michigan gets an official visit then I think they have a very good chance. His mother will be on that visit with him, which is very important to his recruitment. They both have some questions that need to be answered.

JIM (North Island, California)

Tom, How do you see Michigan's defense in 2012??

Tom VanHaaren
  (12:13 PM)

You lose Mike Martin and Ryan VanBergen from the defensive line, and you'll need someone to fill in at SDE as well. Linebackers should be solid, and the secondary should be solid (which is something that hasn't been said in a few years). So the real question mark is how you replace Mike Martin and who steps up at the other open D-line spots. Overall, that's pretty encouraging in the big picture, if you ask me.

Phil (Columbus)

Have you heard anything on whats going on with Taco Charlton, he seems big on Michigan and Notre Dame with i think Michigan as maybe a bigger lead?

Tom VanHaaren
  (12:15 PM)

His team is still in the playoffs, so he's not visiting this weekend. If his team wins this weekend, then he probably won't be at the Ohio State game either. He's going to look at everything recruiting once his season is done, and figure out how it will play out. Michigan has done themselves a lot of favors, and they're in good position. I don't think he's ready to name an outright leader yet.

Nick (Sylvania, OH)

Out of the uncommitted 2011 wide receiver prospects Michigan has left, who do you think they have the best chance of landing at this point?

Tom VanHaaren
  (12:17 PM)

I'm assuming you meant 2012 wide receivers and they have a good shot with Amara Darboh, Jordan Payton, Stefon Diggs, Jehu Chesson, Darius Powe, and Monty Madaris. These next few weeks, specifically the Ohio State game, will be big for how interested those guys are. Darboh and Chesson will both be in attendance for the OSU game, and there's a chance that Powe will be as well.

Tony (Richmond, CA)

The Michigan seniors will end thier careers without a victory over Michigan State. Will they suffer the same fate with Ohio State? Or does Mike Martin & Co end their careers in style?

Tom VanHaaren
  (12:19 PM)

I don't want to jinx anything by making a prediction (hint), but it's pretty crazy to think how the season has played out for both teams. Michigan's defense showing so much of an improvement, and Ohio State with four losses.

Nick (Foxboro)

Does Michigan have the best recruiting class in the Big 10 for next season?

Tom VanHaaren
  (12:21 PM)

If you mean the 2012 class for next season, then yes. ESPNU has Michigan's class ranked #6 overall in the country behind Clemson, Florida, Alabama, FSU, and Texas. If Michigan can close strong, which it really seems like they will, they'll have a chance to move up a little in the rankings one would think.

Greg Grattan (Charlotte,NC)

How much are we in in with Stefon Diggs, and how much does Shane Morris as a future QB affect his decision?

Tom VanHaaren
  (12:23 PM)

I'm going to try not to do too many repeat questions, but there have been quite a few on Stefon Diggs. Again, if you haven't read my article on him, I would encourage you to do so. http://es.pn/uJxQXx Shane Morris could be a factor, especially because of the amount of recruiting he's doing with other prospects. However, in this case, Blake Countess might be a bigger factor, as I mention in my article.

nathan (west bloomfield)

its hard and selfish to be so greedy with 24 "commits" thus far, but the wr position seems to be harder to land this year. any cause for concern or will we get 1-2 this year?

Tom VanHaaren
  (12:24 PM)

I don't think there's cause for concern at all right now. They have a great opportunity to land who they want, and have already set themselves up for 2013 receivers as well with guys like Laquon Treadwell (Crete, Ill./Crete-Monee).

Ted (Pittsburgh, PA)

Tom, Do you think Michigan will a get a big time late recruit on signing day? and If so who would be your guess?

Tom VanHaaren
  (12:26 PM)

With limited spots left it's hard to tell what will actually play out. Quite a few of the prospects that Michigan is still recruiting want to wait until signing day to make their decision, so it's a definite possibility that Michigan lands one of them. Guys like Jordan Diamond and Josh Garnett are going to wait, Amara Darboh says he wants to wait, but isn't opposed to make an earlier decision if he feels comfortable.

Mat (Grand Rapids)

If we take two backs this year (johnson and maybe dunn) do we still want a back like shallman or the other guy in 2013.

Tom VanHaaren
  (12:28 PM)

Absolutely. The coaching staff wants to make this team bigger and stronger, and they also want as many Bri'onte Dunn's, Wyatt Shallmans, or Ty Isaac's they can get. Think about it this way, if Drake Johnson, who is 6-foot-1, 210 pounds, is returning kicks he instantly makes you bigger and faster at that position.

Vinnie (Windsor)

With Michigan picking up Drake Johnson is the RB slot filled now? Should Michigan let Bri'onte stay with OSU, and go after a Ty Isaac in the 2013 class?

Tom VanHaaren
  (12:30 PM)

No, they are still going after Bri'onte Dunn in this class. They should definitely keep pursuing him, and pursue Shallman and Isaac for the next class.

Mike (New York City)

Any updates on Yuri Wright? Has he booked his official visit?

Tom VanHaaren
  (12:32 PM)

He has been saying he will visit Michigan for the Ohio State game. Until he takes that visit I don't think even he knows how interested he is in Michigan. Once that visit happens then he'll know more about where Michigan stands with him.

Josh (Austin, TX)

Will the Wolverines sign a 5-star recruit this year? Or will we have to wait until Shane Morris?

Tom VanHaaren
  (12:33 PM)

WR Stefon Diggs is their most realistic shot, and while he's a four-star right now he probably has a chance to move up in the rankings. Other than that they will have to wait until 2013. That isn't to take anything away from this class, though. It's very very good.

RealDavidB (Charlotte NC)

How likely is it that Pharoah Brown plays TE? How much did his rating improve because his name is "Pharoah Brown." Last, is it too late to change my one-year-old son's name to "Pharoah"?

Tom VanHaaren
  (12:36 PM)

Pharaoh says that he prefers tight end now after talking to the Michigan coaches. They told him they'd like him to try both tight end and defensive end, but he likely has the faster route to the field as a tight end since depth is slim there. He didn't need any help with his name in the ratings, and no I believe you can still change your son's name as long as he still isn't able to talk. #BadParenting (Disclaimer: Don't do that)

Aaron (Chicago)

Tom, do you think UM gets its 25th commitment at one of the next two official visit weekends or do you think that their remaining targets will all hold off until closer to signing day?

Tom VanHaaren
  (12:37 PM)

Good question, and I will say that there is a possibility that the visits result in a commitment. I can't say 100% because it depends on how comfortable they are, if things go right, etc. So we'll have to wait, but there is a chance.

nathan (west bloomfield)

i know uve spent a lot of time covering shane morris, so the question is do you really view him as the solution and or great qb of the future?

Tom VanHaaren
  (12:39 PM)

Shane is a really grounded kid, a focused kid that spends a lot of time on getting better. He has had a spotlight on him because of how much success he's had so early. I think he has the right mental aspects to be successful at the next level, and he brings a lot to the table with his physical ability. I don't like to say 100% on things like this, because there are so many factors, but I believe that Shane Morris will have an excellent career at Michigan based on what I've seen from him so far.

Nick (Ann Arbor)

Is Michigan out of it for Zach Banner?

Tom VanHaaren
  (12:40 PM)

I posted in detail in the Weekly Update last Thursday as to what happened on his Oklahoma visit, but it seems that Michigan has fallen down his list for now. That doesn't mean they can't get back in it, but for now it seems that they are not at the top for Banner.

Nick (AA)

Tom,How much of a negative impact do you think there would be if Michigan were to lose out? I am not wanting it to happen or believing it will, but I am wondering how strong most of these verbal commitments are in the mind of the recruits. Do you see a large number of recruits opening the field back up to other schools?

Tom VanHaaren
  (12:43 PM)

That's another good question, and it's hard to predict feelings and emotions, especially with 17 year old kids. However, I think Brady Hoke and his staff was very smart in how they've recruited some of these kids. The sales pitch was to come help bring Michigan back to greatness, come help rebuild Michigan, so rather than pumping up Michigan to the prospects, they said we need you to help get us better. They already prepared them somewhat for some mistakes and bumps in the road. They almost fought that battle before it even happened.

Nick (Ann Arbor)

Is Dymonte Thomas recruited as a safety or does he have the possibility to move to RB in 2013?

Tom VanHaaren
  (12:45 PM)

For now he's being recruited as a safety. The coaching staff is focused on safeties and defensive backs in general for the 2013 class. You will see them go after a few other prospects in his class as well.

ThWard (Chicago)

TomVH - I know, I know... offering Drake Johnson doesn't mean UM isn't still pursuing Brionte Dunn... but sure seems like they may not be as confident about reeling in the Buckeye state RB, doesn't it?

Tom VanHaaren
  (12:47 PM)

Nope. That has nothing to do with it. In fact, if OSU gets hit with a bowl ban Michigan's chances will increase with Dunn. Adding Drake Johnson, even if he doesn't end up starting at running back, makes them a bigger faster team. If he helps on special teams or in a different capacity he helps the coaches accomplish towards transforming this team. I don't know if Johnson will end up as a start or not, but it has nothing to do with how they feel about Dunn, or their chances of landing him.

chris (new york)

we have a good 2012 class i was wondering will the 2013 class be as good and what are the numbers needs

Tom VanHaaren
  (12:53 PM)

It's off to a good start with Shane Morris and Dymonte Thomas, that's for sure. Those are two prospects in the ESPNU 150 watch list already committed. Morris has been recruiting hard as well, which will only help. Michigan has positioned themselves very well with guys like Laquon Treadwell, Wyatt Shallman, Ty Isaac, and a few others. The numbers are going to change depending on how many Michigan signs in the 2012 class. There are 17 current juniors that will be leaving after next season, so that's your starting point. Probably safe to say it will be around a 20 scholarship class if there is normal attrition. We won't know until everything plays out though.

Tom VanHaaren
  (12:53 PM)

We have time for one more question then we'll wrap it up.

Lorein (Clarkston)

Tom...What are the chances of UM landing another DE if Brown moves to TE and Williams moves to OT?

Tom VanHaaren
  (12:56 PM)

Moving positions won't open up more scholarships, so numbers are still a crunch. I don't believe that will change any of their plans as far as the rest of the class. With 4 spots left they want another OL, 2 WR's, Bri'onte Dunn, or Yuri Wright. How they get there remains to be seen.

Tom VanHaaren
  (12:57 PM)

That's it for me, thanks for stopping by. We'll have a recruiting mailbag next week so you can send those questions to TomVHESPN@Gmail.com. You can always follow me on Twitter @TomVH and ask questions there, too.