- 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's a look at this week's questions from the readers:
Q: Paul, Pasadena, Calif.: I see so much #Team134 on the internet that I'm mistakenly starting to think of Michigan as Team 134 even before this year's Team 133. Do you think this type of branding has made a tangible impact on recruiting? If so, do you think the next recruiting classes will have similar success, or is this more attributed to Shane Morris and other recruits’ efforts?
A: That's a really good question, and I think there's a few parts to that answer. In short, I think it's a combination of things. Yes, I think the Team 133, or Team 134 thing has created an impact on recruiting. Whether that was intentional or not, it has created a team feeling even before these commits have stepped on campus. It has given the commitments something to call their own that's a part of Michigan and makes them feel as though they're already a part of something bigger than themselves.
It has also given them some solidarity as if it's their team, and they're Team 134, when that's actually the complete opposite of the whole Team number thing. That being said, it does have to do with social media being in play and the recruiting efforts of the commits.
I wrote an article a few months back about how I thought social media was impacting recruiting. It gives the prospects an easy medium to communicate with each other, and they can be in contact at the drop of a hat. They don't have to use the phone, can share pictures and videos with each other, and it has really brought them closer to each other.
I also believe that the way the coaching staff recruits has created a team atmosphere as well, though. There is no bulldozing, there is no commitment that comes without the coaches asking that prospect if that's what he really wants. Recruiting the right way will always yield positive results.
Q: Aaron, Wibaux, Montana: How many linebackers do you see Michigan taking next year (the 2014 class) if they do and/or if they don't get E.J. Levenberry?
A: Let's start with the depth chart and go backwards to make it easier. The 2014 class won't step onto Michigan's campus until the 2014 season, which is still two seasons away. So the 2013 depth chart is what we're interested in first. The 2013 season you will have a senior Cameron Gordon and Mike Jones, junior Jake Ryan and Desmond Morgan, sophomore Antonio Poole, sophomore or freshmen (depending on redshirts) Joe Bolden, Royce Jenkins-Stone, Kaleb Ringer and James Ross and freshmen Ben Gedeon, Mike McCray, and, for argument's sake, Levenberry.
The 2014 class will be recruited for depth after that 2013 season, so the 2014 season you will have two seniors, and eight juniors, sophomores or redshirt freshmen behind them. That's 10 total linebackers spread out pretty evenly. Assuming that there is no attrition in this scenario, there isn’t a huge need at the linebacker spot, so I believe that you will probably only see a class with two linebackers for 2014. It really depends on who wants to commit, and what type of talent they are. It's not a huge need, so it won't be overly emphasized.
Q: @umich830 from twitter: Who is going to be the next guy to pick Michigan in the 2013 class?
A: I don't like naming names, because once that happens everyone freaks out if anything changes. So rather than saying that, I will go over timetables for recruits that should be coming up.
Linebacker E.J. Levenberry will be announcing his decision on Tuesday, and by all accounts will choose between Michigan and Florida State. Safety Su'a Cravens says that he will be announcing his decision on June 6, and that he will try to visit Michigan before then.
Defensive end Christian Lacouture will visit Michigan with his father and make his decision between Michigan, LSU and Nebraska at the end of spring or the beginning of the summer. Defensive tackle Henry Poggi and his father said in the past that they would like to have his college choice in by the end of June. Poggi said that he will make the decision when he feels comfortable.
Outside of those prospects the rest of Michigan’s targets, as of right now, have said they would like to wait to announce their decision. Those timelines could change, but that's the plan as of now.