- Tom VanHaaren, ESPN Staff Writer
WolverineNation runs a recruiting mailbag feature every week and conducts a live chat in the weeks when the mailbag doesn't run.
Here are this week's questions from the readers:
Q: From Twitter user @jmo_: Did you ever expect this type of recruiting success out of Brady Hoke?
A: I would be lying if I said yes. I don’t think anyone saw this coming this early, except maybe former players.
When Hoke was hired, his former players raved about him and talked about how successful he was going to be. In hindsight it makes sense because of who he hired and his experience at Michigan.
He knows the type of player he needs to get at Michigan, but he also knows the type of player he’s able to get, meaning that Michigan should be able to land some of the top prospects in the country.
Hiring defensive coordinator Greg Mattison was a big part of this success as well. Mattison is one of the best recruiters in the country, and recruits and families always rave about him. Hoke also did a great job hiring former defensive line coach Jerry Montgomery, who had initially accepted a position with Indiana.
Montgomery was becoming one of Michigan’s best recruiters before leaving for Oklahoma. He was a big part of the groundwork with a lot of the commitments Michigan has landed.
With this type of success on the recruiting trail, though, Hoke now needs to put it all together on the field. The schedule this season is favorable and Michigan needs to show it can win big games if the staff wants to continue recruiting at this level. This isn’t a make-or-break season, but I do believe it is an important one for the future.
Q: WolverineNation subscriber SU24: Other than (Da’Shawn) Hand, is there anyone else Michigan won’t turn down, or wait for? For example, if Michigan took Parrker Westphal, would they still take Adoree’ Jackson, or vice versa?
A: These type of questions tend to work themselves out. Having top-tier recruits at the same position fighting to get in isn't a typical situation for any team.
If you look at timelines for some of these prospects, you will see what I mean. For instance, Westphal will likely make a decision in the next few months, while Jackson is going to wait. If Westphal committed to Michigan and Jackson was still interested, then in that situation, yes, I believe they would take both.
However, if Malik McDowell (Detroit/Loyola) and Da’Shawn Hand (Woodbridge, Va./Woodbridge) were to commit, that would give Michigan five defensive line commits. Someone like Andrew Brown (Chesapeake, Va./Oscar Frommel Smith) might not be interested in that type of situation.
Once one prospect makes a decision, the other prospect will often decide if he’s still interested or not, so you might see that in a few spots, depending on what happens.
The total numbers will also factor in. You can’t load up on one spot and not address other needs. This class is pretty balanced so far and it will likely stay that way. I think the answer to your question is that it depends on where the total numbers are at, what needs have already been addressed and who the prospect is.
Q: WN subscriber varde1979: Besides Jimmie Swain, are there any other linebackers Michigan looking at right now? With Chase Winovich’s commitment, could they go with a MIKE or WILL?
A: I think that’s a good question. Winovich provides some security and a little depth now that they don’t necessarily have to go with a SAM, but I think it would be ideal to try to get someone with some size and length. Someone like Richard Yeargin, who could probably play a few different spots, but still has size and athleticism.
Dwight Williams (Gardena, Calif./Junipero Serra) is a smaller linebacker who might be an option because of his talent level as well. This might be a position where you see the coaches evaluate more prospects just to see who is out there and who they could get. I don’t think it would hurt to take another linebacker in this class, but again, it all depends on the total numbers.
With Michael Ferns (St. Clairsville, Ohio/St. Clairsville) and Winovich now in the fold, that provides two good options. The coaches can afford to sit back and evaluate the situation.
A few other names had been mentioned before, including Josh Ehambe (Arlington, Texas/Prime Prep Academy). He might be someone the coaches continue to watch and see how he develops.
With summer camp coming up, it might be a good opportunity for the coaching staff to evaluate some under-the-radar prospects as well.