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March 5, 12:00 PM ET
Chat with Tom VanHaaren

Tom VanHaaren
  (12:00 PM)

Hi everyone, thanks for joining me. Just a reminder, I'm the only moderator so I'll try to get to as many questions as I can. Thanks for understanding and your patience. On to the chat.

Brent K (Ann Arbor, MI)

Michigan has had tremendous success so far in the 2013 class so far I believe. Are they positioned to keep this going?

Tom VanHaaren
  (12:00 PM)

Yes, it could keep going this week.

Mayznblu88 (Kalamazoo)

Signs are pointing toward a great week for Michigan LB recruits, Tom. I know everyone's nervous about SAM/WILL/MIKE, available numbers, timelines, and recruting profiles/ratings, so what's the latest? Break it down for us. Thanks!

Tom VanHaaren
  (12:02 PM)

Available numbers are usually changing, especially this early it's really a guess as far as the total for the class. It's based on graduating seniors and attrition, etc. but it looks like it will be first to commit, most likely three linebackers for now, and then re-analyze further down the road. That can always change, like I said.

John (Troy, MI)

If McKray and Gideon both pick UM this week, will they leave a spot open for Levenberry?

Tom VanHaaren
  (12:02 PM)

Yes.

dan wexel (atlanta)

when the chat starts can you activate the auto update?

Tom VanHaaren
  (12:03 PM)

Good call, I just did that, let me know if that works.

Ron (Flint, MI)

Tom, with all of the recent commits solidifying the trenches, with the few scholarships left, what skill position recruits do you see UM getting to committ?

Tom VanHaaren
  (12:04 PM)

You're looking at one more running back, probably two more wide receivers for the class. As for the rest of the positions, everything is going to be determined by who commits or doesn't commit when. They'd like a bigger cornerback, another tight end as well.

Chris (Ann Arbor)

Any future Basketball recruiting coverage on the way?

Tom VanHaaren
  (12:05 PM)

Probably won't be for a little while. Since we're still relatively new we're playing with everything and figuring out when is best. Plus there's been no time with all the commits for football. We'll eventually have it covered though.

Brad (Ann Arbor)

March 10 is shaping up to be another big recruiting weekend for Michigan. With Conley stating Michigan as his outright leader, Anzalone and Jones possibly feeling the linebacker squeeze and Ty Isaac making a return trip, do you think Michigan is on committ alert with any of these recruits?

Tom VanHaaren
  (12:06 PM)

We'll see, LB Alex Anzalone and Shane Jones both said they will likely wait to make a decision, I don't think either are ready yet.

Neel (St. Charles, IL)

Tom, one of the perceptions is that because the coaches missed out on closing some prospects late for 2012, more emphasis was placed on getting commits early for this recruiting cycle. Do you feel this is true, or do you think the number of early commits is due more to the coaching staff having a full year to evaluate high school talent and get into a groove?

Tom VanHaaren
  (12:08 PM)

I don't think there was any pressure put on anyone, if that's what you mean. I wrote an article about this a few weeks back, but look at how long the coaching staff has been recruiting a lot of these kids. The Notre Dame night game was all the way back in September, and I think around five of the current 2013 commits were on hand for that. Michigan did its homework early on and put in a lot of time evaluating these kids to get a jump start.

Jason Backus (Phoenix, AZ)

I've noticed that a lot of the outstanding recruits that we are persuing in the months to come are elite talents and are class is already filled with great athletes. How is Michigan going to handle the blance of dwindling spots with getting the best talent possible?

Tom VanHaaren
  (12:09 PM)

It's a good problem to have really. The coaches have done a good job with getting kids that like competition, and I've said this before but it's like the old days. Bo's staff used to tell recruits that they would recruit the top kids year in and year out, and if you didn't like that you probably wouldn't fit at Michigan. That's what this is all about is building a better team, and building competition.

Neel (St. Charles, IL)

Are the four year scholarships for this years class retroactive to current players? Or are they still on 1 yr renewable scholarships?

Tom VanHaaren
  (12:11 PM)

That's a really good question, I'll have to ask if they're retroactive. I know the 2012 class was offered 4 year scholarships, but I don't know if that is extended to everyone else.

ThWard (Chicago)

You've mentioned a few times that the staff takes a "position-specific" approach to recruiting. Extending offers in waves to certain positions. First -- are there any positions that the staff hasn't fully scouted yet (i.e., that a wave of offers to a certain position can be expected soon?); and second -- odds that UM gets 1 commit in the next week? Odds of two commits in next week? Odds that I have Mud Pie ice cream for lunch today (pro tip: it's a lock)?

Tom VanHaaren
  (12:14 PM)

Linebacker was one of the last to get scouted I believe, and you saw some recent defensive back offers go out. As for your other questions, very good chance you'll have Mud Pie, the other two questions.....I can't think of anything clever to answer that with. Odds are good.

Josh (New York)

It seems risky that the coaches are already going to stop recruiting O-linemen for 2013. As we saw last year with Caleb Stacey, there's always a chance one of them could change their mind late in the process. How do the coaches guard against that?

Tom VanHaaren
  (12:15 PM)

"Recruiting" never stops, telling them that they don't have any open spots right now is completely different. The OL recruits are well aware of the situation and how things can change.

Griff (Michigan)

Any thoughts on the 2013 CB from Massillon? Name escapes me... but I've heard he is high on Michigan.

Tom VanHaaren
  (12:15 PM)

Gareon Conley, I wrote an article on him a few weeks ago where he talks about being a fan of Michigan and that they're his favorite for now. He's a bigger cornerback, good size, good ball skills, he's the kind of corner they're looking to add to the class.

Chris (Niles, MI)

Hey Tom, seems like there has been a lot of noise w/ the LB group, and obviously we have our OL situation figured out. However, I'm not hearing much on the WR front, and I think it's imperative we get a stud this year. Anything going on w/ our recruits? I know Treadwill wants to take his time, but what about the other guys? Foster, etc.

Tom VanHaaren
  (12:18 PM)

Probably because a lot of the WR targets are planning on taking their time with their recruitment. A lot of the guys Michigan is after have a hefty offer list and a lot of options. They have some good options like Treadwell and Foster, Marcell Ateman says he wants to visit in the spring, Devon Allen wants to be an engineer and wants to visit over spring break, Sebastian Larue, Kevin Gladney, etc.

Kork Coupons (MI)

Is Su'a Cravens a real option at this point?

Tom VanHaaren
  (12:19 PM)

Depends on what you view as realistic. He's going to be one of the prospects period, so it will be tough. He told me that he might use an official visit to see Michigan, so we'll see. He's the kind of recruit that can project to a few different spots, some programs are recruiting him as a safety, some as a running back, some at OLB. So it depends if he makes that visit or not.

Kork Coupons (MI)

Do we have a shot at Kendall Fuller?

Tom VanHaaren
  (12:20 PM)

Yeah, he'll be visiting for the spring game and is close with Blake Countess.

Odeh (Dearborn Heights, Mi)

If the 2 linebackers fall this week and we have no room for Dorian O'Daniel, does that affect our standing with Fuller? Similar to Reeves/Williams last year?

Tom VanHaaren
  (12:21 PM)

Not necessarily. Those guys know that they have to look out for themselves and make the right decision for them. They might end up at the same school, but I don't think they're looking to be a package.

Travis (Fresno, CA)

I saw that Shane introduced everyone to Marcell Ateman last night on twitter. Is there mutual interest from him and the coaches?

Tom VanHaaren
  (12:22 PM)

Yeah, poor kid had no idea what he was getting into with that one. He got swamped by tweets, but yes he's had interest in Michigan for awhile. Like I said a little bit ago, he wants to visit in the spring. He has a teammate, Quan Jones, also a receiver also 6-foot-4.

Tom VanHaaren
  (12:23 PM)

Josh (Florida) I appreciate that Step Brothers quote, but I can't publish that comment.

Kyle (Canton)

What running back intrigues you the most? What are the chances of landing Ty Issac or Deveon Smith?

Tom VanHaaren
  (12:24 PM)

I've seen Ty Isaac in person, and I just wrote an article on him last week where his coach compared him to Marcus Allen, which is nuts. Isaac had 51 total touchdowns last season, which is also nuts. He's 6-foot-3, around 220 pounds, and has some huge offers. Landing him would be a really big deal.

Josh (Florida)

With Hoke and Co. doing such a great job staying ahead of the curve, are there any 2014 prospects that are close to giving their verbals to Michigan or highly interested?

Tom VanHaaren
  (12:26 PM)

I'm not sure about close, but there are already a good amount of kids very interested in Michigan. One prospect that I like is DT Brandon Hines from Wisconsin. He's going to be a big time kid. But Cass Tech is going to be loaded in '14, and a lot of their kids are very interested as well, and as usual.

Jacob (Georgia)

Do you believe EJ Levenberry will commit at the spring game or towards signing day? Or do think he will move most of his interest to another school like Alabama?

Tom VanHaaren
  (12:27 PM)

We'll see. He said openly in an article that we had that there's a chance he might, so there's that. It depends on how the visit goes and what his family thinks. I know they love Brady Hoke and the first visit blew them away. There's a realistic shot that could happen, which would be crazy if it did.

Scott (Chicago)

Am I the only one who thinks 5 TEs in two classes is excessive, especially considering the other areas of need?

Tom VanHaaren
  (12:29 PM)

You aren't the only one, but I see the need. A lot of them are different types of tight ends, so it's not like they're recruiting the same prospect for all five spots. Those five guys can all do different things and makes the offense so much more versatile. On top of that, you have to build depth to a point where there is little fall off from year to year, like they're about to have this season at tight end with Koger leaving.

Neil (Virginia)

If McCray comes on board, do you think he will try to flip Burrows or do you think he is solid with Ohio?

Tom VanHaaren
  (12:30 PM)

McCray might try to get him, but Burrows is 100% OSU.

John (Ann Arbor)

Are there still some elite speed receivers high on Michigan? Size is great, but stretching the field is important too.

Tom VanHaaren
  (12:31 PM)

I mentioned Arizona WR Devon Allen earlier, he's also a track guy. In my article with him I talked about how he took second in state in a number of track events including the 200. He's a good one.

nick (Flint Mi)

Who does Michigan have the best chance at?

Tom VanHaaren
  (12:31 PM)

All of them

Jeff (Ann Arbor)

I ready your Panda Express plan last night that you passed along to Larue on Twitter and I must say - it's brilliant. Thanks for tip.

Tom VanHaaren
  (12:31 PM)

That really works, if you tell them both at once they just glop it on.

Gary (Livonia, MI)

At 6'3", any chance McCray is being recruited as a DE?

Tom VanHaaren
  (12:32 PM)

These are 16-18 year old kids so that is always possible. Who knows when they stop growing or how their bodies will fill out, however I don't think that's the plan as of right now.

Josh (Florida)

Treadwell did an interview with a Buckeye site saying that he may wait until signing day and Michigan isn't his outright leader. Is that the impression you get from him as well? Do you know if he made it Columbus and if so, how did it go?

Tom VanHaaren
  (12:34 PM)

He has gotten a lot of new attention and new offers recently, so I think he does want to explore all his options. I do think that he has a few schools that are sticking out to him right now, if he doesn't want to name them publicly anymore then that's fine. He does have an idea, but I do think he wants to take some time. I don't know if that means all the way to signing day, but remember his coaches don't allow decommitments, so he probably wants to take his time.

Brian (Canton MI)

Do you think twitter and other social media outlets are playing a key role in our current commits ability to recruit so to speak other kids out of state? I have a friend who says that Shane Morris is the reason for our recruiting success as of late even though he hasn't played a down.

Tom VanHaaren
  (12:35 PM)

I wrote an article on this a little bit ago, and yes I do. I think these prospects have the ability to talk to each other at all hours of the day across the country without having to talk on the phone. They're building relationships faster and I argued that I thought it plays a role in keeping classes together as far as decommitments, not just Michigan but everyone in general. I definitely think that helps, and Shane has been a big part for multiple reasons.

Matt (SC )

How did you have Keith Ford ranked compared to other RBs in this class? Is Isaac the main guy we should be focused on or are there other RBs you think we should keep an eye on?

Tom VanHaaren
  (12:36 PM)

Keith Ford is very very good, but I don't think there was ever serious interest in Michigan. I said initially he had a top five that didn't include Michigan, and then he obviously committed elsewhere. But, yeah I think Ty Isaac is a big focus for this class. We'll see what happens, but he's a big focus.

MFanNE (Nebraska)

Do you see any interest in Berkley Edwards from the Michigan side at this point, or is it simply going to come down to a lack of numbers in regard to his having a realistic shot at being offered and what they are looking for.

Tom VanHaaren
  (12:38 PM)

Last I asked his father there wasn't much communication yet. We'll see if that changes in the future.

Tony (Columbus)

Novak & Douglass deliver Michigan its first Big Ten BBall title in over 25 years. No question, just wanted to throw that out there.

Jeff (Toledo)

What about more DT depth in this years class? Obviously PeeWee was a great get - but doesn't our DT depth still look a little thin? I don't hear much talk about rounding out this years recruiting class with more DT's.

Tom VanHaaren
  (12:40 PM)

I'll have an article tomorrow on some defensive tackles, Chantel has an update with Wyatt Teller today that's on the blog, and we'll have a few others as well this week. There is a definite focus on the d-line, and there are some big names that are interested still. Don't forget Taco Charlton is already committed, and he's a huge get.

David P (Flint)

Is Urban Meyer still recruiting Dymonte Thomas, reason to worry?

Tom VanHaaren
  (12:41 PM)

Meyer is still recruiting him, and Dymonte hasn't said anything to make anyone nervous at this point. I don't think it's fair to him to speculate on that as I'm sure he is getting tired of the question.

MFanNE (Nebraska)

Who do you think are the most likely DT candidates at this point in the process? Who is Michigan pursuing the hardest?

Tom VanHaaren
  (12:42 PM)

Henry Poggi is one of the main targets, and as I said in a previous article OL commit Kyle Bosch is recruiting Poggi. Rod Crayton says Michigan is in his top three, Eddie Vanderdoes is very interested, and so is Darius Latham.

Victor (bronx)

Tom, i love the work our staff has put in MI, OH, midwest to national. Urban appears to have a different approach then what we saw from tressel in the past. Has that been noticed by some of our mutual targets?

Tom VanHaaren
  (12:44 PM)

I'm not sure in which way you mean. This is Meyer's first full recruiting class, and the last one was a scramble somewhat at the end, so I don't know if this is necessarily a glimpse of what will actually be the strategy. I'm assuming that you mean he hasn't offered a lot of the Ohio kids yet, but like I said I don't know that this will be the norm or if they're just catching up.

Mitchell (Bloomington)

Chances at Vanderdoes at DT? Another question who is your favorite DT at this point?

Tom VanHaaren
  (12:45 PM)

Vanderdoes needs to visit first, a lot of fluff gets thrown out with kids that haven't visited. Wait until he does then we'll see. Favorite DT? Henry Poggi, he's big, versatile, smart, dad's a football coach, he's going to be very good.

Kork Coupons (MI)

How realistic is it to say that this class will be full by mid-season?

Tom VanHaaren
  (12:47 PM)

Completely full? It's tough to say, I think they could definitely have most of the spots filled, depending on how many are in this class. Some guys might move their decision dates up if that happens, so I'll say I don't think it's out of the question.

Spencer (New York)

Tom, how would you personally rank the linebackers on our board? Who is #2 behind Levenberry based on what you see/hear? Any chance we take Dorian O'Donnel as an ATH?

Tom VanHaaren
  (12:50 PM)

Like I said before this is a good problem to have. If it's me ranking them personally it's hard to separate Gedeon, McCray and O'Daniels from each other. Each brings something a little different, but if I can cop out and say 2a, 2b, and 2c I would say getting two out of those three would be a really big deal.....and they might just do that soon.

victor (bronx)

I like a lot of our CA target, esp Larue at WR. may be tough to answer but \are any slots "kept open" until they are able to visit officially since unofficial visits are harder to do due to distance?

Tom VanHaaren
  (12:52 PM)

Wide receiver might be different in that a lot of the prospects are planning on waiting anyway, so that might not matter. But to answer your question no they're not going to hold a spot if someone else they really like wants to commit. That isn't good business.

Kork Coupons (MI)

I am willing to bet a dozen cookies Meeeechigan will have a top 3 class. Are you taking that bet?

Tom VanHaaren
  (12:52 PM)

Whose cookies are they? If they're my cookies, then no, I don't share/bet food.

Tom VanHaaren
  (12:53 PM)

Alright, I have time for a few more questions then I'll call it a day.

Josh (New York)

The way I think the class will break down:1 QB2 RB3 TE2 WR5 OL3 DL3 LB2 CB1 S How'd I do? That could change if somebody like Cravens or two elite WR's want to commit, though.

Tom VanHaaren
  (12:55 PM)

Somewhat close, they could take a third receiver. These numbers are hard to predict this early, because so much can change with who does or doesn't commit. As you saw last year the coaches aren't going to take prospects just to fill spots.

victor (bronx)

what happen with the Latham visit?

Tom VanHaaren
  (12:55 PM)

They didn't make it up. He and his coach were going to come, but didn't. Probably reschedule it.

Matt (SC )

Any other Fullback targets, or are they satisfied with Shallman?

Tom VanHaaren
  (12:57 PM)

Shallman won't be a fullback, he's a bigger running back and has been told he'll be used in the offense as such. So, no fullbacks in this class unless they're walk-ons. They have Joey Kerridge and Sione Houma and potentially Hopkins so they're set.

Tom VanHaaren
  (12:58 PM)

Alright, thanks for all the questions. Sorry if I didn't get to yours, as always you can follow me on Twitter @TomVH and make sure to sign up with us at www.WolverineNationESPN.com. Have a good one.