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WolverineNation Roundtable

4/5/2012
Can MLB Kenny Demens become the vocal leader of the defense? Lon Horwedel/Icon SMI

In the weekly WolverineNation roundtable, Tom Van Haaren, Mike Rothstein and Chantel Jennings discuss three pertinent issues surrounding Michigan sports. This week, they look at the Michigan football offseason, 2012 basketball recruits and a few of the 2013 football recruits.

1.) Which defensive player on the Michigan football team will benefit most from this offseason?

Tom Van Haaren: I know the obvious answer here is Will Campbell, but I think it might be Blake Countess. Coming off a stellar freshman season, this gives Countess an opportunity to be coached up and really work on his fundamentals and technique. Knowing that he's most likely the starter at corner, he'll be getting good reps and for the defense's sake, improving on what he did last season.

Mike Rothstein: Desmond Morgan. He was one of the surprise starters on the defense last season and ended up having a productive year. A full spring working with the staff combined with strong winter conditioning can only help his strength, speed and technique. The coaches really seem to like what he is able to do and his football instinct, so a full offseason should only bolster that.

Chantel Jennings: I'm going to go with Kenny Demens on this one. He is going to have to be the quarterback of the defense during this upcoming season, and I think this offseason will allow him to really step into that leadership role at a comfortable pace, rather than being thrown into it too quickly. Obviously, this offseason will be important for his continued improvement as a linebacker, but I think it's even more important for him as a team leader.

2.) Much was made of Mitch McGary committing to the Wolverines earlier this season, is he still Michigan's most valuable basketball recruit in the 2012 class?

TV: I think so, despite his drop in rankings. He still gives Michigan a lot of size and someone that can go down and bang on the boards. He provides a dynamic that Michigan needs, and I think he'll have an opportunity to really help the Wolverines in his first season.

MR: No. Answered this somewhat in the mailbag yesterday, but depending on Trey Burke's decision, Nick Stauskas becomes the most valuable member of the 2012 class. The reasoning is that he is the one best suited of the three to run the point if need be -- and if Burke leaves, that need will be great. All three are talented -- Glenn Robinson III is probably the most advanced at this point -- but Stauskas also has great versatility and can end up being a major hole-filler early on.

CJ: I'm going to say McGary is still the most valuable recruit just because he gives the Wolverines a major inside threat that they'll need next season to make their offense work. However, I would agree with Mike in saying that Robinson isn't too far behind. He could be a huge scoring spark for the Wolverines, stepping into that sixth man spot.

3.) Which 2013 football commit would have the most impact if he could be a freshman for this upcoming 2012 season?

TV: That's a tough question, but I'm going to go with someone that no one would probably say and go with wide receiver Jaron Dukes. He's 6-foot-4, 200 pounds and can go up and get jump balls with ease. Michigan doesn't have a receiver like him on the roster, and I think having a big-bodied receiver could help out this season. Some of the other commits that Michigan has would take more time to really develop and get stronger to compete, so if I had to answer this question I would say Dukes right now.

MR: I'd say Jake Butt (Pickerington, Ohio/Pickerington North). Michigan is super thin at tight end even when Devin Funchess and A.J. Williams arrive on campus this fall -- so Butt would give the Wolverines another tight end option and one with good size at 6-foot-5, 225 pounds.

CJ: Wyatt Shallman. Michigan really doesn't have anyone on the roster quite like him. Shallman can be used in a lot of different ways, specifically because of his size. He would be the biggest back on the roster at 6-foot-3, 250 pounds, and he has been working out with Mike Barwis, so he's definitely ready in that regard. They could use him in short-yardage situations, and he would be a really effective blocker. Even with Fitzgerald Toussaint, Thomas Rawls and Justice Hayes, the Wolverines don’t have someone quite like Shallman.