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February 20, 12:00 PM ET
Chat with Tom VanHaaren

Tom VanHaaren
  (12:00 PM)

Hi everyone, to start just want to remind you if you have football or basketball questions for this week's mailbag, email them to MichaelRothstein@gmail

Tony (Columbus)

Wow. I'm still in a state of shock from this weekend's success.

Tom VanHaaren
  (12:01 PM)

You and me both. Yesterday was my first day alone with the baby, too. Wife went back to work, there might have been some crying in the corner, I can't confirm.

Evan (Indianapolis)

With 4 OL now committed to the 2013 class, how do you see this position playing out for the rest of the recruiting cycle. I know there are still some big names on the board: Tunsil and Pocic. Are the coaches looking for more OL in this class, or are they content with what they already have?

Tom VanHaaren
  (12:03 PM)

Looks like they are probably looking for more. There are currently four OL that will be leaving after this season, and that number could go up if Lewan leaves for the NFL. Attrition happens, etc. so I think they'll look to add more, but only the elite level guys at this point.

Mike (Toledo, oh)

I am excited to see Michigan use the tight end position more, I think it is a lost art! However, I think a big threat is needed at WR, are we going after anyone in particular and are we done recruiting TE's for this class?

Tom VanHaaren
  (12:04 PM)

Offers to WR's have been extended to Laquon Treadwell, Jaron Dukes, Kevin Gladney, James Onwualu, Devon Allen, Marcell Ateman, Robert Foster, there's been a lot. You can find all the offers here: http://espn.go.com/colleges/michigan/football/recruiting/offers/_/class/2013/order/true/michigan-wolverines#WR

Dave (Fredericton)

Hi Tom, with UM bringing in a top QB in Shane Morris I would think we would be high on the list of many WRs. Besides Treadwell, what other top WRs do we have a good shot at?

Tom VanHaaren
  (12:06 PM)

I'll answer this one because it piggy backs off the last one. Michigan is in good shape with Laquon Treadwell (who I have an article and video up with today), Jaron Dukes, Kevin Gladney, Devon Allen, and James Onwualu for now. They realistically have a good shot with most of the receivers they've offered, though. Those are just a few names.

Lance (Battle Creek)

How many scholarships does Michigan have to give out in 2013 with 11 already taken.

Tom VanHaaren
  (12:07 PM)

It depends. I believe there are around 17 seniors (that could be off) that will for sure be leaving after the season. You add in attrition and you're probably in the 20-23 range.

Brice Fuller (Fostoria, Ohio )

Tom since Michigan has gotten off to such a great start with offensive lineman so far for 2013. Do you think now they can focus more on DL prosects, and more playmaking prospects on offense such as wide reciever, and running back?

Tom VanHaaren
  (12:07 PM)

Definitely. It also helps that most of the commitments have said they are going to recruit for Michigan. Kyle Bosch said he's good friends with DT Henry Poggi, and will be recruiting him to Michigan. That's a bonus.

Josh (Milwaukee)

Since Shane Morris is left-handed. Which OL prospect/commit has the most experience at RT to protect his blind side in 2014?

Tom VanHaaren
  (12:09 PM)

The good thing about a lot of the linemen Michigan has recruited recently is that a lot of them are versatile enough to move to different spots. I think the plan is to try guys out and see where they fit best.

Bob Z (Ann Arbor)

How do we look for Treadwell and Isaac. Are we leading and when might they decide

Tom VanHaaren
  (12:10 PM)

Michigan has done very well with both prospects. Both have said that the flurry of commitments won't speed up their process, which makes sense. I do think the excitement and momentum might eventually impact them, but we'll see. Michigan has done a lot of good with both.

Neel (Geneva, IL)

With all of the commits from the past weekend, what would be your top 5 positions of need going forward? Am I wrong in guessing WR, WR, RB, DT, CB?

Tom VanHaaren
  (12:12 PM)

No, I wouldn't say you're wrong there. Throw in LB at the end, too and another OL or two. Another DE as well.

aaron (ann arbor)

how big of an effect did the Ohio basketball game have on the commits that went blue this weekend? It was rocking in there!

Tom VanHaaren
  (12:13 PM)

It's hard to measure that really, I think that factored in to the excitement of the atmosphere, adding to the fact that other prospects were committing and it was just a good blend for everything to happen.

Michael (New York)

Whats your take on Pocic's recruitment after 4 OL commit this weekend (potentially only one of which is a Tackle). Does it slow down what could have been an accelerated timetable?

Tom VanHaaren
  (12:14 PM)

Pocic told me he'll be discussing his recruitment with his dad, and he's not sure if it changes anything for him. If anything it would speed things up for him, if he decided that's what he wanted. He was planning on taking things slow, so it just depends on what he thinks is best.

Tom VanHaaren
  (12:14 PM)

Here's a little bonus for you. LB Alex Anzalone was just offered by Michigan, he told me that he's going to try to visit in March when he takes a trip to Notre Dame.

Aaron (Fairfax)

Best guess, will Michigan take a fifth offensive lineman? And will it be someone that projects to center/guard or can they still afford to take a top tackle like Pocic, Tunsil, or Montelus?

Tom VanHaaren
  (12:16 PM)

Yes, I think they would take another and I think they'd take the best available. Whoever is first at this point and then re-evaluate the needs and where they're at.

Mark (Lansing)

WHY DO YOU HATE BREAD PUDDING?

Tom VanHaaren
  (12:17 PM)

Have you seen that stuff!? It looks disgusting!

Aaron (Fairfax)

For the last cornerback spot do you think they go small (Blake Countess' position) or stay big (JT Floyd's position)?

Tom VanHaaren
  (12:19 PM)

That's a good question. I think ideally they would like size, but it depends on the prospect. They have an offer out to a guy like Gareon Conley from Ohio who has a little more size, but also to Kendall Fuller, Countess' teammate, who is around 5-foot-10 but is one of the top corners in the class.

Ryan (Nashville, TN)

What is the likelihood that one of the 3 players visiting Michigan today will commit?

Tom VanHaaren
  (12:19 PM)

They need to be offered first, we'll see if an offer comes through then worry about a decision. If an offer comes then it might be something to watch.

Andy (Michigan)

Any chance that O' Daniel and Fuller deter from their timeline of announcing at the Army All American game if they really enjoy their Michigan visit during the spring game?

Tom VanHaaren
  (12:20 PM)

I don't think one visit would make them jump the gun. They're national prospects with offers from all over, I would expect them to wait. They might not wait all the way to the All American game, but as of right now I wouldn't expect anything as early as the spring game.

Bob (Grand Rapids, MI)

So, any word on how UM did with the Junior Day recruits? Sign anyone worthy of mention?

Tom VanHaaren
  (12:21 PM)

Nope, go back to sleep.

Michael (New York)

There are some real questions about Dawson's height. ESPN has him as 6'3." I assume if that were true, he wouldn't have the offers that he had. Isn't he closer to 6'5"?

Tom VanHaaren
  (12:21 PM)

Chantel Jennings and I were with him the other day. Judging by how tall he was next to Chantel and me I would say he's around 6-foot-4, or 6-foot-5. He's plenty big.

Ditric (Roseville)

Tom, just wondering if you know anything about sergei fedorov signing with the lakers?

Tom VanHaaren
  (12:22 PM)

Confirmed, done deal.

Carl (A2)

Do you think Michigan has a shot at being the number one team recruiting wise in 2013?

Tom VanHaaren
  (12:23 PM)

At this point I wouldn't say no. They have seven of their 11 prospects committed in the ESPNU 150 watchlist, and some of those guys aren't on the list because they haven't been evaluated yet. Those are crazy numbers.

Phil (Columbus)

Do you have a list of names of uncommitted recruits coming to the spring game besides Kendall Fuller and Dorian O'Daniel????

Tom VanHaaren
  (12:24 PM)

I will once it gets closer, it's not until April 14th.

Chris (Ann Arbor)

The coaching staff seems to focus on position groups during recruiting, whats the next group we go after? WR, DL, LB?

Tom VanHaaren
  (12:25 PM)

There is a definite process to the evaluating and offering. You can kind of keep track by the offers that have gone out. Like today for example there have been a few LB offers, which is most likely because that position group just got evaluated.

Ken (Houston Tx)

Do we have a realistic shot at Keith Ford at RB??

Tom VanHaaren
  (12:26 PM)

Probably not. He says Michigan is outside his top five as of right now. That could change I suppose, but we'll see.

Jae (Tallahassee, FL)

What elite level skill positions are giving Michigan a hard look now? WR in particular. Wolverines need a Braylon Edwards type of dominant receiver.

Tom VanHaaren
  (12:27 PM)

Robert Foster is a big-time receiver, Uriah Lemay as well. I know Michigan fans are used to hearing Ty Isaac's name, but I saw him in person and he was ridiculous. I'll have an article and video with him this week, his coach makes some comparisons that are crazy as well. If they land Isaac it's a big deal.

Ronald (Cranston (RI))

Were you shocked by any of the commitments this weekend?

Tom VanHaaren
  (12:30 PM)

Shocked is a strong word. All of the guys that committed had Michigan as their leader or near the top, so I wasn't shocked. I was a little surprised that some of them moved their timetables up, but nothing close to being shocked.

Kyle (Fort Myers)

how is that 5 star tackle Tunsil lookin for us?

Tom VanHaaren
  (12:30 PM)

Still names Michigan in his top list. He told me awhile back that distance won't matter because there's a chance his mom would move wherever he goes, too. We'll see, might be tough to get him.

Danny Blue Eyes (Detroit)

Speed?

Tom VanHaaren
  (12:31 PM)

No, I'm not very fast. No need to rub it in.

Brendan Tannenbaum (Indiana)

Do you think that most of our commitments will actually wind up in the espnu 150? And while most of our defensive line commitments seemed to be at the defensive end spot last year do you think we will try to heavily add depth to the inside nose and defensive tackle positions?

Tom VanHaaren
  (12:32 PM)

Good question, and I unfortunately can't answer that since I don't have anything to do with the rankings. I think there are currently 300 prospects in the watch list, so obviously 150 aren't going to make it in. I think a lot of them have a good shot though. They should be evaluated and ranked soon.

James Jones (A2)

Has there been any feedback from Nyles Morgan's visit to Michigan?

Tom VanHaaren
  (12:33 PM)

yeah, I'll have it up later. I have video and an article with him pre-visit already on the site.

Danny Blue Eyes (Detroit)

Rober Foster, where doe he rank amongst his peers, in terms of talent and interest in Michigan?

Tom VanHaaren
  (12:34 PM)

Talent wise he's near the top, as far as interest in Michigan it's too early to tell. Need to get him on campus first.

Matt (SC)

Of the 11 recruits currently on board, who will earn a 5th star?

Tom VanHaaren
  (12:35 PM)

Shane is already an early five-star, so he's a likely candidate. The others will be tough because ESPN doesn't typically have a lot of five-stars.

Bob (Grand Rapids MI)

Tom: Different media outlets pef UM's cap on schollys from a low of 18 to a high of 24, why the huge range reported?

Tom VanHaaren
  (12:36 PM)

Because as I said before it will depend on attrition and if anyone leaves for the NFL. That number is comprised off of what seniors will be leaving, since you know they won't be back, what fifth year seniors might not be given a scholarship for the fifth year, and giving room for some guys leaving the team.

Jae (Tallahassee)

How does so many top quality commitments so early on alter the recruiting strategy moving forward with less than 10 spots remaining possibly?

Tom VanHaaren
  (12:38 PM)

It gives the coaches a chance to really focus on specific guys within specific position groups. On top of that they will have extra recruiters helping out. Top prospects like to play with other top prospects, so it helps in that regard.

Steve (Denver)

Where do you think Shallman will play at M?

Tom VanHaaren
  (12:38 PM)

Everything that I've been told is that he will be a running back. If he outgrows the position then maybe somewhere else, but the plan is to have him as a Mike Alstott type back.

Clarence (Philadelphia)

How does Michigan looks with regard to top linebackers EJ Levenberry and Jaylon Smith?

Tom VanHaaren
  (12:39 PM)

Very good with Levenberry, still early with Smith. They already got Levenberry up to campus, and we have a few blogs regarding how he feels on the site.

Michael (New York)

Tom, one of the arguments for getting commitments early is that you can then focus more attention on the elite guys down the stretch. Last year, that rationale didn't seem to work. While one can always point to case and circumstance on those cases, what makes this year different in your mind?

Tom VanHaaren
  (12:40 PM)

This is a little different than last year. It's only 19 days away from the 2012 signing day, so there isn't a crunch time or frantic period where they're just waiting on a few guys. There are still plenty of elite prospects that they can focus on and try to get.

Jae (Tallahassee)

Urban Meyer is going to rely heavily on skill positions in his recruiting moving forward, with an emphasis on more overall speed. How does Michigan recruit more speed while bulking up also?

Tom VanHaaren
  (12:43 PM)

It's about getting size and speed at the right positions respectively. But you look at guys like Wyatt Shallman who is 6-foot-3, 250-pounds and I wouldn't consider him slow by any means. Then you take Ty Isaac who is 6-foot-2, 220-pounds and he plays faster than he looks. A lot of the guys Michigan is going after would accomplish what they want at each position, if that makes sense.

Coach Brown (South Carolina)

Is Ty Isaac our biggest want for running back, and if he's not or we don't get him, who is #2?

Tom VanHaaren
  (12:45 PM)

They really like him, sure, but they really like guys like Deveon Smith, Justin Davis and Jordan Wilkins too.

Joe (NJ)

I know it's probably a bit different in every situation, but how much do current commits influence prospects that are uncommitted?

Tom VanHaaren
  (12:46 PM)

You're right, it's different for each situation but a lot of what prospects are looking for is a level of comfort. If they are already friends with other commits then they already have a level of comfort at that program. That's a bonus. If the commitments are top guys then that's enticing for other recruits as well. So it depends on the case, but it can help.

Kyle (ann arbor)

Tom, Why is it that Michigan consistently recruits Running backs last. It seems like the last couple seasons our running backs have not been ranked very high, and that Michigan is once again not focused on running back recruitment.

Tom VanHaaren
  (12:47 PM)

They are focused on running backs. They just landed Wyatt Shallman and have already extended out offers to multiple backs. They're in good shape with Ty Isaac, as has been talked about, so I would disagree that they're not focusing on that position.

Bob (Minneapolis )

Since the alabama game is cannot be used as an official visit, do you expect alot of unofficial visitors to the game

Tom VanHaaren
  (12:48 PM)

It depends on who's willing to fly themselves out to Texas, or what prospects in the area want to go. The home team is allowed to leave tickets for prospects, but can not pay for travel or hotel.

Jim (Lima)

How does the staff sell UM to a LB after getting 4 high quality backers in the 2012 class?

Tom VanHaaren
  (12:50 PM)

When I spoke to a lot of the former players when we did the Bo memory stuff, they all said the same thing. They were the top recruits in the country in their class, and the coaches back then said they were going to recruit the top athletes year after year, and if you can't handle that then you shouldn't be at Michigan. It's all about competition and landing top guys year in and year out. They're looking for the right fit for Michigan, and that won't be every recruit.

Bryan (St. Louis)

On one of the other recruiting sites it has Taco as a basketball recruit as well, any chance of him playing on the bball team too? Was that something he wanted/part of his recruitment pitch?

Tom VanHaaren
  (12:51 PM)

That would be pretty tough to do, I don't imagine so. I haven't asked him, though. He might say he wants to try, but that's really hard.

Bob S (Redwood City)

Since we didn't sign up to the max number of available scholarships for the 2012 class will the unused ones be available for the 2013 class?

Tom VanHaaren
  (12:52 PM)

Yes, but it all has to stay within the total 85 limit. That's the main number to go off of.

Dustin (Dayton, OH)

With the strong start to the 2013 class, do you think this class now has the foundation to be a top class in the country and surpass the 2012 class in terms of ranking?

Tom VanHaaren
  (12:53 PM)

ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE! #KevinGarnettVoice. But seriously, the talent they have already committed I don't see why not.

Brian (PA)

Tom- Kendall Fuller...do we have any chance of landing him?

Tom VanHaaren
  (12:55 PM)

Yeah, there's a chance. He'll be in for the spring game, and he is good friends with his old teammate Blake Countess.

Tom VanHaaren
  (12:55 PM)

Yeah, there's a chance. He'll be in for the spring game, and he is good friends with his old teammate Blake Countess.

Dan (Washington, D.C.)

Does Jaron Dukes have a committable offer at this point? There have been message board rumblings of him being close to ready to commit, but I wonder if he can, given the limited number of free slots and Michigan being the presumed leader for Treadwell and in the discussion for a number of other top-150 type WRs.

Tom VanHaaren
  (12:56 PM)

Yes, if he wanted to commit he would be able to. He is making sure everything is right, he's aware of what transpired this weekend.

Tom VanHaaren
  (12:57 PM)

Ok, I have time for one more question then I have to go eat lunch and fill up my I.V. of Diet Coke to keep the coverage coming.

Chris (Ann Arbor)

Any surprise that Crayton didn't jump on his offer? Seemed like he was dying to get it and came up to AA just on the chance he could.

Tom VanHaaren
  (12:59 PM)

No, not surprised. He wants to make the right decision and it's still early for him. I'll have an update with him later.

Brook (Royal Oak)

Tom, you live near Royal Oak right? I need to find a good pizza place. Any recommendations?

Tom VanHaaren
  (1:00 PM)

Green Lantern, Pizza Rustica, there's a new one opening up soon that's going to be really good. The owners are the same people from Laurel Manor.

Tom VanHaaren
  (1:00 PM)

Alright, that's it for me. Thanks for joining, you can always follow me on Twitter @TomVH, or send me any tips or questions at TomVHESPN at Gmail dot com.