Print and Go Back ESPN: SportsNation

January 23, 12:00 PM ET
Chat with Tom VanHaaren

Tom VanHaaren
  (11:59 AM)

Hi everyone, thanks for joining me. You know the rules, no one says anything bad about chocolate cake or you're out!

Anthony (Fl) [via mobile]

If michigan was to get Reeves do you think he could end up as a starter by end of season like Countess? This will allow us to have two good young corners for future. Also, would you agree that Michigan's Dl class is pretty good and just below Ohio's? We have by far the better Ol class!

Tom VanHaaren
  (12:00 PM)

Probably not. Unless something happens with JT Floyd, he will probably hold on to his spot.

Scott (Dallas)

Jordan Diamond supposedly had a great OV to Arkansas over the weekend. Do you still think he is leaning towards Michigan?

Tom VanHaaren
  (12:01 PM)

Most kids have great official visits. They're at college, usually spending time without their parents, that will always be fun. I just posted when Michigan will be in-home with Diamond this week, so we'll see what happens. He still plans on visiting Wisconsin as well, and then announcing at his school on February 3.

Aaron (Birmingham)

It looks like this class will be below the maximum of 28, would a class below this number be considered a poor closing especially with all the early momentum in the class? Obviously I would rather have a class of 28 then 26.

Tom VanHaaren
  (12:03 PM)

I don't think so. If they miss on some of the targets that are left, then maybe but I think they have a good chance with a lot of them. I don't think you'd necessarily want 28 rather than 26, it depends on the quality of prospect. The coaches aren't going to just take some lower rated guys to fill the class. That doesn't accomplish much.

Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)

What Wolverines will be selected in the 2012 NFL Draft?

Tom VanHaaren
  (12:04 PM)

Mike Martin obvs, Molk, Junior Hemingway has a good shot, and I guess Kevin Koger has been performing well at the event he's attending. It would be good to see him land somewhere.

Jeremy (Ontario)

If Michigan landed Garnett and Diamond, who do you project being guards, centre, tackle from the O-line class?

Tom VanHaaren
  (12:06 PM)

Tackle: Magnuson, Braden, Bars, DiamondGuard: Garnett, Kalis,Combo (could play both): Bars, Diamond, Garnett, KalisI think that's the versatility of this class that a lot of these guys could move inside or still play tackle.

Taylor (Florida)

With Stacey no longer part of the class what are the chances that Michigan now gets both Josh Garnett and Jordan Diamond?

Tom VanHaaren
  (12:07 PM)

The coaches are going after Garnett, Diamond, and Kozan so they are trying to get all three at this point. Garnett, Diamond, Kozan, Armani Reeves, and Sam Grant are left on the board. Decisions will be made soon.

Jon (Charlotte)

Do you think we will take 3 offensive linemen with this newest decommitment? And what about another skill posisition with Stonum booted?

Tom VanHaaren
  (12:08 PM)

If all three wanted to commit (Garnett, Diamond, Kozan) then I don't think they would be turned down. However, I don't know if that's likely to happen.

Mark (Ann Arbor)

Hey Tom, with five spots left, do you think we end up with all 28, or will we bank a schollie for next year? Seems like with our remaining targets we'll probably be good at 27 or so.

Tom VanHaaren
  (12:09 PM)

If they don't get to 28 I think they'll just call it a day unless a top prospect comes back available at a position of need.

Mike (dearborn mi)

What's the latest with Sam Grant? Does he plan to visit Ann Arbor?

Tom VanHaaren
  (12:10 PM)

He is getting an in-home visit from Hoke and Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops this week. He says a decision will come soon, which I would now expect to be very soon since he officially decommitted from Boston College.

Jason (Scraon PA)

Tom with Stonum now off of the team how do you see the receiving core breaking down for 2012?

Tom VanHaaren
  (12:13 PM)

Someone has to step up. I think Jeremy Gallon played really well, but will now be in a bigger role, Roundtree should have better numbers next year, Dileo is going to need to play a bigger role. It would really help if Jeremy Jackson or Jerald Robinson show improvement in the off-season. Or if one of the incoming receivers can grasp the offense because now that Stonum is gone, you're missing that bigger receiver on the outside. It's tough to tell, but will be interesting to watch the battles.

Mark (Commerce)

Tom: Where do you see Armani Reeves and Jordan ending up? Thanks in advance

Tom VanHaaren
  (12:14 PM)

They keep everything pretty close to the vest. Armani Reeves told Chantel last night that he officially decommitted from Penn State and is down to Michigan and Ohio State. His teammate, Camren Williams, is committed to Ohio State, so there is a level of comfort there. At the same time I know he's comfortable with Michigan as well. I think he really does have a tough decision ahead of him.

Spencer (NY)

Do you think there is any shot that Dan Gibbs gets offered if we lose out of 2 of the Diamond/Kozan/Garnett group?

Tom VanHaaren
  (12:15 PM)

Maybe. I know the coaches like him, and have offered him a preferred walk-on spot. There's a chance that could happen if there's room.

John (Ann Arbor)

What time is Garnett announcing on Thursday?

Tom VanHaaren
  (12:16 PM)

It'll be around 3:00 PST time at his school.

John (Ann Arbor)

How did Hoke's in home visits with Garnett and Reeves go?

Tom VanHaaren
  (12:17 PM)

Both are posted on the message board and blog in detail. Both went well.

Michael (Chicago)

What is you best guess on how the recruiting class rounds out?

Tom VanHaaren
  (12:19 PM)

I don't really like to do this kind of stuff because things change so much. I think Michigan has a really good chance with everyone left. Garnett is down to Michigan and Stanford, and I think Michigan has a great shot. Sam Grant is most likely deciding between Michigan and Oklahoma, and I think distance might factor in giving Michigan an advantage. Alex Kozan is down to Iowa, Michigan, and Auburn, I think Iowa probably has a good chance but I know he does really like Michigan. The other two are pretty tight lipped, so it could go either way.

Emmitt (ATL)

Any upcoming Parent/Player interviews we can look forward to?

Tom VanHaaren
  (12:20 PM)

Yeah, there are two good ones coming this week that will be accompanied by features from Chantel as well. We also have a separate video and article coming on Wednesday that I think everyone is going to really like.

Kostya (New York City)

Do any of Michigan's current offensive line recruits profile like they could move to center? Or at least backup at center? They all seem a bit large for that I would think.

Tom VanHaaren
  (12:22 PM)

That's a good question. Caleb Stacey was probably going to be in that role, but now that he's gone I'm not sure who would be able to move in to center. If they were to get Alex Kozan, at 6-foot-4, 295 he might be able to. I know he's a guard all the way, but even then I don't know if they'd want him at center or not. I think that spot might need to be filled in the next class.

Aaron (Michigan)

Hey Tom. Speaking of chocolate cake, what player do you think is the chocolate cake of Michigan's recruiting class? Which guy that is currently committed or is considering Michigan is the "can't miss" player of the class?

Tom VanHaaren
  (12:24 PM)

It seems like Kalis has to be that guy. I did an article on him with former NFL lineman LeCharles Bentley, who is training Kalis right now. The things Bentley said about Kalis were ridiculous. He said he thinks Kalis is physically on pace with a collegiate sophomore. As an offensive lineman that's huge.

Brent (MI)

If Reeves picks OSU, will Hoke and Co. go after any other DB in the 2012 class?

Tom VanHaaren
  (12:25 PM)

I don't think so, and if they did it would have to be a very specific type of defensive back, someone they know well, or know is very interested, a very highly rated guy, etc. So it seems unlikely at this point, but never say never.

Michael (New York)

Any chance Michigan takes all 3 OL targets? (Diamond, Garnett, Kozan)

Tom VanHaaren
  (12:25 PM)


dtown (detroit)

why did they stop recruiting Jordan Payton?

Tom VanHaaren
  (12:26 PM)

They're not going to take any more receivers in this class at this point.

Geoff (HB)

How do you feel about the influx of recruiting "analysts" that cover Michigan in the Blogospere?

Tom VanHaaren
  (12:26 PM)

If they're doing it the right way, then that's great. If not, then it's not great.

Craig (Cincinnati)

What impact does Camren Williams commitment switch to OSU have on Armani Reeves?

Tom VanHaaren
  (12:27 PM)

I think it impacts Reeves, even though he says it doesn't. It gives a level of comfort there for him knowing his best friend will be there. That doesn't mean that it will be the deciding factor, but I think it is in his mind a little.

Jordan (Nashville)

Of the incoming freshman, who do you see having the biggest impact next year?

Tom VanHaaren
  (12:29 PM)

Since the coaching staff is defensive focused, and mainly defensive line, I think the d-line prospects have a chance to compete for playing time early. If those guys put in the work it could really help Michigan in the trenches. Like I said before, now that Stonum is out, the receivers might need to be ready as well.

Mr. Yost (Florida)

Tom, what are your thoughts on Michigan landing OL Alex Kozan? Do they lead? When is he deciding?

Tom VanHaaren
  (12:30 PM)

I don't think Michigan leads right now, but I do believe he is really considering Michigan. His decision should come very soon.

Bob Spatta (Emerald Hills)

If they don't give out all 28 scholarships this year does that increase the available scholarships next year?

Tom VanHaaren
  (12:31 PM)

Essentially, yes.

Darren (London)

Who are some 2013 recruits that are high on Michigan but haven't received an offer yet?

Tom VanHaaren
  (12:33 PM)

DB Jourdan Lewis, DL Darius Latham, DB Shaq Wiggins, DB Ross Douglas, DE Austin Bown, DE Jordan Sherit, DE Luke Maclean, LB Ben Boulware, OL Colin Goebel, OL David Dawson, OL Sean Welsh, LB Courtney Love, OL Colin McGovern, OL Hunter Bivin, plenty more but those are a few.

Brian (Cleveland)

What are the biggest position targets for Michigan in 2013? And who are the staff looking at to fill those spots?

Tom VanHaaren
  (12:35 PM)

OL, Safety, DT, WR, RB. You've seen some of the offers that have gone out like RB Ty Isaac and Wyatt Shallman, a lot of the top OL's like Kyle Bosch, Ethan Pocic, Chris Fox, Logan Tuley-Tillman, DT at Henry Poggi, Su'a Cravens at safety, etc. You'll start to see more and more offers go out soon as well.

Vinnie (Windsor)

With Tight End seeming to be a need in 2013 class, offering early for Jake Butt and Adam Breneman can only help Michigan's chances. In your opinion are these the only two options for UM? Are they deciding before their season starts?

Tom VanHaaren
  (12:36 PM)

No, those won't be the only two options. They're just early options that have been evaluated by the staff already. Guys like Jordan Leggett, and Mitchell Parsons have heard from Michigan as well so there will be plenty more options.

Darren (Ontario)

Do you think Armani Reeves is truly spit 50/50 between Michigan and Ohio State, or does one school have a slight lead?

Tom VanHaaren
  (12:37 PM)

I'm sure he has somewhat of an idea, but I really do think he's deciding still. He's a unique scenario that wasn't supposed to happen like this, so I think he probably has an idea but is going through all the positives and negatives.

Mr. Yost (Florida)

Tom, ESPN Chat Research: Are our questions more or less likely to be answered if we copy and paste the question and send it over and over?

Tom VanHaaren
  (12:39 PM)

ha, I miss some of the questions but the people that copy and paste it 20 times is a bit much. I don't mind posting them twice, I try to answer as many as I can.

Todd (A2)

Thoughts on Sam Grant? I think AJ Williams could play right away due to his size, if SG commits, is he more of a redshirt prospect, in spite of bad TE numbers?

Tom VanHaaren
  (12:40 PM)

They're different prospects. I've said this before, but you'd have three different types of tight ends all committed, which would be great. Funchess is an athletic pass catching tight end, Grant is basically right in between Williams and Funchess in that he's not as fast as Funchess but can still go out and catch passes, but is probably more of a polished blocker than Funchess as well. If that makes sense.

Mike (Jacksonville, FL)

Will this be a top 5 class?

Tom VanHaaren
  (12:43 PM)

The guys remaining on the board are Garnett (4 star and number 44 overall, Diamond (4 star and number 94 overall), Reeves (4 star), Alex Kozan (4 star), and Sam Grant (3 star). So if they can grab two or three 4 stars and one 3 star then I think they have a chance of moving up from the number seven class right now. That depends on how the other programs ahead of them do at signing day as well, though.

Dustin (Ann Arbor)

What are the chances of picking up another DT in this class?

Tom VanHaaren
  (12:44 PM)

Not likely.

Mike (Muncie, IN)

Coaching ?Do you see Mike Hart joining Michigan within 5 years?

Tom VanHaaren
  (12:45 PM)

That would mean that Fred Jackson would have to retire first. But I think Mike seems to be on the fast track at Eastern, so there's a possibility if that's available down the road.

John (Mi)

Are there any other possible decommits you see in this class? For some reason Bars scare me especially if we get Garnett and Diamond. How come we never hear much about Bars?

Tom VanHaaren
  (12:46 PM)

Nothing to worry about with Bars, he's just quiet with the media. I spoke with him and his parents last week and they're as excited as ever for Michigan. His mom is an MSU grad and said she can't wait to cheer for Blake at the Big House.

Alex (New York, NY)

Tom, we hear about Hoke's and esp. Mattison's recruiting rep- are you seeing this when speaking with recruits? Is it apparent to you the advantage our coaches give us? Or is it Michigan which sells itself

Tom VanHaaren
  (12:48 PM)

You hear about Hoke and Mattison mainly, but I think the whole staff is doing an awesome job. They're all on the same page as far as the message and the outcome they want out of the recruiting process. If you've read our interviews with the commits parents you can really see the theme in their recruiting and how they've made an impression. I've also said this before, but I think Jerry Montgomery's name comes up a lot in a positive way, and he's underrated as far as a recruiter for Michigan.

Joe (Cakesville)

Could Pipkins break into the 1st string with big will, or at least 2 deep?

Tom VanHaaren
  (12:49 PM)

He might have to be in the two deep depending on who else plays their way into it. It seems likely that he'd at least be in the two deep though.

Brian (Ostrander, Ohio)

Tom - the last few years there have been at least one surprise that wasn't really considered until signing. Is there a shocker out there for us this year outside the final 5 on the board? Burbridge, Diggs or somebody else?

Tom VanHaaren
  (12:50 PM)

It doesn't seem likely as of right now, but they wouldn't be surprises if we knew about them. We'll see, you never know.

Mike (Traverse City, Mi)

Tom, long time follower, first time poster. Id like to start by saying thanks for what you do. My question is this, have you talked to any recruits that have mentioned Dantonios explosion the other day at the recruiting forum? If so, what was their reaction?

Tom VanHaaren
  (12:51 PM)

Thank you, and no I haven't. I don't think most of the recruits follow this stuff as much as everyone else. Even if they did I don't think it's a big deal to the recruits themselves. Whether it was for the coaches in attendance or not, I can't answer that. I wasn't there.

BrianMGoBlog (Ann Arbor, MI)

Tom, what's the best cake you and the wife have enjoyed lately?Congrats again on the little one.

Tom VanHaaren
  (12:52 PM)

Thank you, Bumpy Cake is really hard to beat with me.

Bryan (Springdale, AR)

Will Michigan losing in basketball to the Hogs have any effect on where Jordan Diamond goes?

Tom VanHaaren
  (12:52 PM)

No, not unless he wants to play center for Beilein.

Tony (Columbus)

Tom, any cool plans for NSD coverage on WolverineNation next week?

Tom VanHaaren
  (12:53 PM)

We have some cool things for this week, yes.

TomVH (Mi)

The recruiting class is looking weak for the state of Michigan next year. Do you see Hoke and co. expanding pipelines throughout the nation?

Tom VanHaaren
  (12:53 PM)

They will exhaust their efforts in Michigan and the Midwest and then branch out nationally.

Ben (St. Louis)

What do you think the chances are Dan Gibbs comes in as a walk on? Would he pick walking on at UM over a scholarship at a MAC school?

Tom VanHaaren
  (12:54 PM)

Pretty good, but he's still exploring his options.

Jeremiah ((Chicago))

Can you give us a rundown of what you think next years class should look like? We're pretty set up for this upcoming one, what do you see as positions of need in 2013?

Tom VanHaaren
  (12:55 PM)

Michigan loses four offensive linemen after next season, so that will be a major need again. You've already seen a lot of OL offers go out for the 2013 class, and Michigan is doing very well in that regard. They could be the leader for more than two of those prospects right now.

ThWard (Chicago)

Any idea if the staff tried to dissuade Stacey from decommitting (i.e., was this a known thing for awhile that the staff worked on reversing, or did CS just drop it on twitter?). Also, disappointed that Stoops is making his in-home with Grant (given that McNamara committed to OU). Any feeling on Grant's OU interest?

Tom VanHaaren
  (12:56 PM)

He told the coaches then twitter. Grant is interested in Michigan, Oklahoma has one TE committed that has some injury issues so they're looking to add one more.

Tom VanHaaren
  (12:57 PM)

I have time for one more question then we'll call it a day.

Tim (Louisville, Ky)

Obviously this is a really good class, but largely with lots of 4 star depth. Do you see Michigan having any chances at nabbing some of the elite prospects next year if they keep winning?

Tom VanHaaren
  (12:59 PM)

Yes. There are already some big names that Michigan has done a great job with. OL Logan Tuley-Tillman, Kyle Bosch, Chris Fox, Ethan Pocic, RB Ty Isaac, Wyatt Shallman, etc. So, yes, if they continue winning they will be in great position for some top prospects. And don't forget Shane Morris is already committed and recruits everyone, and Dymonte Thomas will also be a top prospect. They will be just fine next year.

Tom VanHaaren
  (12:59 PM)

Yes. There are already some big names that Michigan has done a great job with. OL Logan Tuley-Tillman, Kyle Bosch, Chris Fox, Ethan Pocic, RB Ty Isaac, Wyatt Shallman, etc. So, yes, if they continue winning they will be in great position for some top prospects. And don't forget Shane Morris is already committed and recruits everyone, and Dymonte Thomas will also be a top prospect. They will be just fine next year.

Tom VanHaaren
  (12:59 PM)

Alright, that's it for me. Thanks again for joining me, have a good day.