Print and Go Back ESPN: SportsNation

December 26, 1:00 PM ET
Chat with Tom VanHaaren

Tom VanHaaren
  (1:00 PM)

I hope everyone had a great holiday, and thank you for joining us today. A little self promotion before we begin. I wrote an article on OL commit Kyle Kalis, and how he's training with former NFL offensive lineman LeCharles Bentley, so check that out if you'd like. http://es.pn/vO68Zt (Just copy and paste that) /self promotion

Scott (Belleville)

Which recruits were able to enroll early?

Tom VanHaaren
  (1:02 PM)

The recruits that are planning on enrolling early are LB Joe Bolden, DB Jarrod Wilson, and LB Kaleb Ringer. Bolden is playing in the Under Armour All America game on January 5, and they don't get up there until sometime next week or the week after anyway.

Owen T (Michigan)

If you had to geuss who will u of m finish the 2012 class with. Names please

Tom VanHaaren
  (1:04 PM)

Most of you know I don't do the best guess lists because things change too much, so they're typically pointless. However, I will tell you the guys that I think Michigan is in good shape for with the remaining spots left. OL Josh Garnett, OL Jordan Diamond, OL Alex Kozan, DB Yuri Wright, DB Armani Reeves, TE Sam Grant are the names that have been discussed most recently. That list could expand as others make decisions, so we'll see what happens in the near future.

JP (carmel, CA)

who will be the biggest recruiting battles in 2013 class among Ohio HS recruits for Brady vs. Urban Meyer?

Tom VanHaaren
  (1:07 PM)

It will definitely be interesting in 2013 for kids in Ohio. I know Ohio State recently offered Michigan commit Dymonte Thomas, and they're going to keep after him. I would consider that a battle if he continues to let them recruit him. DE Taco Charlton, DT Billy Price, DB Cam Burrows are just a few. The battles will heat up once more offers go out.

Zack H. (Livonia, Mi.)

When do you think Michigan will be a legitimate championship contender?1 year? 2 years? 3 years?

Tom VanHaaren
  (1:10 PM)

It depends. Are you talking B1G Champions, or National Champion contenders? The schedule next season is rough. Alabama, Notre Dame, MSU, Nebraska, and OSU are all going to be big games. You're at Notre Dame, at Nebraska, and at OSU, too, which could make it more difficult. The 2013 schedule looks a little easier as Michigan opens with CMU instead of Alabama, has ND, Nebraska, and OSU back at home. I think next year will be a big year, but it's going to be really difficult. If Devin Gardner can step up and take over in 2013 then that should be a good year.

Josh C (Columbus, OH)

Hey Tommy, big fan. You know what I mean? I'm not a magician, and you're not a psychic. But if you had to predict the recruiting future, would you say that the coaches spend as much ime in Ohio as they did this past year, or are we going to put that time and effort elsewhere and concede some of the top Ohio recruits to Urban and Co.? Ps, heads up for the Aquafina.

Tom VanHaaren
  (1:13 PM)

Welp, there is going to be a good amount of talent in Ohio again for 2013, but it might not be as much as the 2012 class. They are definitely not going to concede anyone to OSU, because that's not their style. They won't waste their time though either, ya know what I mean? The goal is to exhaust all options in the Midwest with the top talents and fill the rest of the class with top prospects nationally. That will always be the goal for Hoke and his staff.

bradhill98 (Houston)

I am going to the army all american game Jan7th, any chance Michigan gets a commit during that game?

Tom VanHaaren
  (1:14 PM)

As of right now it doesn't seem likely, but if you remember last year LB Kris Frost decided at the game that he was going to switch his decision from Michigan to Auburn, so weirder things have happened. The guys that Michigan have left on their board aren't likely to make their decision at the game, though, so I don't think so. But like I said, that can change I suppose.

Yanai (Royal Oak)

Which 2012 recruits do you see playing significant minutes next season?

Tom VanHaaren
  (1:16 PM)

If there are any injuries along the offensive line some of the offensive line commits like Kyle Kalis might need to step in and help out. The defensive line commits are going to be needed, and if Chris Wormley can come in physically where he needs to be, then he could see some time. I really think LB Joe Bolden enrolling early is a big decision for him. He is so smart, hard working, everything the coaches want in a football player. If he can get in the weight room, and pick up the playbook he might have a chance to come in and help out on defense where needed.

Ben E (Toledo Ohio)

Tom your the man! Well michigan only have a few spots left and i know we want another o-line. But we are on the trail for Reeves, and Wright. Would michigan take both, and if we only take 1 which one is it?

Tom VanHaaren
  (1:17 PM)

If they could get both Yuri Wright and Armani Reeves I believe they would want both. Remember when Anthony Standifer was still part of the class the coaches were still going after one more defensive back. Those two are top level prospects, too, so if they were both to pick Michigan and there was room for them, then they would probably be accepted. Whether they both decide to choose Michigan is another question though. I'm not sure how likely that is at this point.

Daniel (Connecticut)

I've looked at tullman's twitter in the past few days and noticed hes a big michigan fan, could we be looking at a commit soon?

Tom VanHaaren
  (1:20 PM)

I posted this on our message board, but things have definitely picked up with 2013 OL Logan Tuley-Tillman and Michigan. He took two visits during the season, the Michigan offer was big for him and his family, he has family near Ann Arbor, etc. However, in the past few weeks he has been reaching out more and more to the Michigan coaches and has been making the effort to contact them on a regular basis. I wouldn't be surprised if he took a visit again in the near future. He says he won't change his timeline, but we'll see how everything goes in the future.

Bob (Mount Clemens MI)

what do u think the odd are on Yuri Wright. Who is he favoring. When might he committe

Tom VanHaaren
  (1:21 PM)

He's scheduled to visit Michigan so that needs to happen before he knows how interested he is. I know he really enjoyed his Notre Dame trip, but I think he's the kind of kid that visits will really sway him in the short term, immediately following a trip. Once he takes his trip to Ann Arbor then we'll know more.

Zack (Ann Arbor)

Would Michigan be smart to hold off on allowing some of the three star recruits to commit until they give yuri wright, jordan diamond, josh garnett, or other four star players to commit so as not to run out of schollies?

Tom VanHaaren
  (1:24 PM)

No. A cupcake in the hand is worth more than two in the oven. (Cake reference!!) But seriously, if you're referring to a guy like TE Sam Grant, no they shouldn't tell someone like him to not commit just in case. They offered him for a reason, and are recruiting him for a reason. If they tell someone that wants to come to Michigan in hopes to land someone else that might want to come to Michigan, they could be setting themselves up to get none of those guys in the end. I don't agree with that approach unless they are full at that position, or really don't want that prospect. That's not the case with Grant, though.

Nick Messer (Kalamazoo)

Two part question Tom. First, any new info on Armani and Yuri? Second, the three recruits I hear about all the time are Reeves, Wright and Garnett which a bunch of other names thrown in. Are there any other serious options or are those just guys we really don't have a shot at?

Tom VanHaaren
  (1:26 PM)

I just mentioned him in the last question, but TE Sam Grant is seriously considering Michigan. He was recently offered by Oklahoma, and right now is deciding whether or not he'll visit the Sooners. He maintains that he wants to make a decision sooner rather than later. I think had he not gotten the Oklahoma offer he might have already made his decision. He loved his official visit to Michigan, so they have a great shot there. Reeves is still trying to schedule a visit, and Wright is visiting in January. We have a 'visits' tab at the top of our page that you can check out for visits.

Kai (Grand Rapids)

How big will the class be at the beginning of NSD? Do we pull in 3 before and 1 on the day, etc...

Tom VanHaaren
  (1:29 PM)

That's a good question. Let's do this first. OL Jordan Diamond is deciding on signing day, OL Josh Garnett towards the end of January, TE Sam Grant should be sometime soon, DB Armani Reeves is waiting for PSU to hire a coach and schedule a viist, DB Yuri Wright probably at the end of January maybe signing day, OL Alex Kozan could be at the All American game. So judging by that, Diamond is really the only one deciding on signing day. If other guys jump in the mix then that could change, but it looks like he's the lone guy on signing day. Since you follow this, though, you know things always change, so that's not definite.

Jake Kuipers (Grand Rapids )

realistically what are our chances with Garnett, and Wright

Tom VanHaaren
  (1:31 PM)

I mentioned how I feel on Yuri Wright, that I think he needs to visit first. However, with OL Josh Garnett, I think there's a very good chance. I have maintained that stance for a long time now, and still think that Michigan has a very good chance with him. There are a lot of positives in Michigan's corner, and again I mentioned this on our message board (If you're not checking our message board, or an insider then I don't know what's wrong with you), but don't be surprised if Brady Hoke makes an in-home visit with Garnett in early January.

AJ (Slippery Rock, PA)

Is Armani Reeves still committed to PSU or did he officially decommit?

Tom VanHaaren
  (1:33 PM)

He is still committed, he's waiting to see what Penn State does and who they hire as the head coach. He is looking to schedule a visit with Michigan, but it hasn't been scheduled yet.

Karl D (Atlanta)

How is Michigan viewed/perceived in the minds of H.S. recruits and parents outside the Midwest now? I'm in the Southeast and it seems the Wolverines are starting to get more attention these days.

Tom VanHaaren
  (1:35 PM)

Definitely positively. If you remember when Hoke and his staff was first hired, the main positive was at their last few stops (SDSU, Ball State) they had built outstanding relationships with high school coaches and parents. That is a big deal that isn't talked about very much anymore. Now, you throw in DL coach Jerry Montgomery, who I think has done an outstanding job on the recruiting trail and the 10-2 season, the Sugar Bowl, etc. and there is a definite positive buzz. Montgomery seems like he's been everywhere, he's young, upbeat, and the recruits have really responded to him. He was a great hire, in my mind.

Bobbyhill (Denver)

Tom, how much of a factor to you think DT Billy Price's Twitter comments will play in the coaches decision to go hard after him?

Tom VanHaaren
  (1:37 PM)

That's a good question, and for people that don't know, Price was tweeting some things while visiting Michigan for the Ohio State game. I saw some (not sure if all) of them, and while I thought he shouldn't have said it, I knew he was an Ohio State fan so it wasn't surprising. He has since apologized, and seems genuinely remorseful for that. If the coaches didn't have thick skin they wouldn't be in this business, and if they never recruited Ohio State fans they wouldn't have Tom Strobel committed right now. It could affect his recruitment, but we'll see what type of communication they have going forward.

Dan C (philadelphia pa)

Do you see Logan Tuley-Tillman as an elite (read 5 star/high 4 star) prospect? His recruiting seems to have blown up over the past two weeks.

Tom VanHaaren
  (1:39 PM)

He has size at 6-foot-7, 300 pounds, he has potential, ability, and maybe even more importantly, he's a great kid. He wants to get better, he's eager to learn, and that's exactly what coaches want to see. Whether he gets really huge national offers will probably depend on what camps and combines he makes it out to, but he is already one of the top guys in the Midwest. So yes, whoever lands him is getting a top-level offensive lineman.

Christopher (New Baltimore, MI)

Who has the highest upside out of Bars, Braden, and Stacey? I wish we'd hear more about Bars, but I'm assuming we don't because he's out of state.

Tom VanHaaren
  (1:42 PM)

That's tough to answer because I think they're all really different. As I've mentioned before, Stacey has been working out at center and that could be his position at Michigan. He's definitely an interior lineman. Bars could be a tackle or guard, and Braden I think would make a really good right tackle. I spoke to one of Ben Braden's opposing high school coaches and that coach told me Braden was the best high school offensive lineman he's ever coached against. That's a pretty bold statement, but Braden has a lot going for him. Size, speed, athleticism, so he has a lot of upside.

Kostya (MGoBlog)

The commitment of Drake Johnson still has me a bit confused. Do all teams, even when they're recruiting as well as Michigan is (and have limited spots available), take fliers on guys like him? Nothing against him, but every scouting report says he's a bit of a middling football talent, just has track speed. Were you surprised to see him offered?

Tom VanHaaren
  (1:45 PM)

I don't think the coaches look at Johnson as a flier. They wouldn't have taken him had they not really wanted him, and they certainly aren't going to take someone just to take someone. Johnson has elite speed and he's also 6-foot-1, 210 pounds. If you just start him out returning kicks, he's already made your team bigger and faster at that position. The coaching staff wants a bigger, stronger, faster team and he helps you get there. I was surprised at the timing, but not as much about the actual offer.

kenny (clinton twp,MI)

what kind of season do you see fitz toussaint having next year after being the full time starter this year and having a year under his belt. he has always had high praise and its good to see him living up to expectations

Tom VanHaaren
  (1:46 PM)

The biggest thing for Fitz was that he stayed healthy. If he can stay healthy again then there's no reason why he shouldn't have a really good year next season as the number one back. Especially because there was no true number one back to start this season. He emerged later on and took over, so if it's his from the start then I expect big things out of him.

Kostya (MGoBlog)

What is the situation with Pharaoh Brown? Is that door closed for good do you think?

Tom VanHaaren
  (1:47 PM)

I have heard nothing that would suggest he's still an option. Especially once Michigan offered Sam Grant, that probably should have told you where he was at.

Mike (Michigan)

Tom, is Elmer a solid Golden Domer..would Hoke n staff continue to make inquires before Feb 2, 2013?

Tom VanHaaren
  (1:48 PM)

As of about a month ago I spoke with Elmer's dad, and he said there was a small amount of communication, and then no communication with Michigan. They told the Michigan coaches that they are solid to Notre Dame, according to his father.

kenny (Clinton TWP, MI)

whats the chances with 2013 RB Ty Issac, or what are some other names we should look out for that Michigan will make a big push for?

Tom VanHaaren
  (1:51 PM)

As of right now there is a good chance. The coaches have offered Isaac, Wyatt Shallman, and Deveon Smith so far. If they could get Isaac and Shallman that would be it for running backs, and quite frankly it would be a pretty ridiculous haul. Shallman would be used like Mike Alstott at Purdue, and Isaac, who's around 6-foot-3, 215 pounds, could probably put on another 15 pounds and get up to 230. You would have running backs that are 6-foot-3, and 250 and 230 pounds. Both providing different abilities. That's crazy.

Ryan (Chicago)

Who is the steal of the class? Meaning, who doesn't have the 4 or 5 star rating but has the best chance to have an excellent career?

Tom VanHaaren
  (1:54 PM)

I like this question, and I told someone on our message board that I look at more than stars because I talk to these kids and get to know their character and work ethic, etc. So outside of the four-star guys, Ben Braden is obvious because he's a monster. Both Amara Darboh and Jehu Chesson are high character guys that I really really like. I think Michigan got themselves two receivers that you most likely won't have problems with, team guys, that are going to be coachable and have solid careers. The other guy that comes to mind is safety Jeremy Clark. The reason I mention him is because the Michigan coaches saw him in person and liked what they saw, and his senior season was very good.

Tom VanHaaren
  (1:54 PM)

We have time for just a couple more questions, then we'll call it a day.

RJ (Providence, RI)

What are your thoughts on terry richardson and his chances of playing early

Tom VanHaaren
  (1:56 PM)

It's up to him. If you're referring to what he tweeted about not wanting to redshirt, I think that's just Terry being a competitor. His mindset is that he's not committing to a school to sit on the bench. He probably didn't vocalize that the right way, but I didn't take it as him not wanting to compete, or put in the work, but that he's confident in himself, and he wants to play.

Keith (Michigan)

I told one of my sparty buddies that shane morris will be in the top 20-25 overall in 2013. Am i right??

Tom VanHaaren
  (1:59 PM)

Shane has been out to every camp and combine and event there is, so he has the benefit of being in front of all the scouting services and media. That helps his stock because they know what he can do. He will be one of the top QB's in the country, which should put him in the top level. Whether it's 20-25, I can't answer that because I don't make the rankings. I would say top 100 for sure just to be safe, because being in the top 100 prospects in the country is a ridiculous achievement. I know that gets looked at as almost a negative now, but the top 100 prospects out of the thousands out there is a really really big deal.

Tom VanHaaren
  (2:00 PM)

Thank you again to everyone for joining me. That's it for today. Have a GREAT day. #LesMiles'd