- 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: Josh, Columbus, Ohio: Do you think Michigan is back to where it can keep up with Ohio State in recruiting? It seems like Michigan isn’t getting the players they’re recruiting against the Buckeyes.
A: This season was a bit of an anomaly with Ohio State’s NCAA sanctions and such, but Michigan so far has five prospects committed with Ohio State offers. Compare that number to the five that Michigan landed in the three previous years combined.
Urban Meyer is already doing a tremendous job recruiting for Ohio State, and there will definitely be battles in the future. Meyer won with 2013 defensive back Cam Burrows (Trotwood, Ohio/Trotwood-Madison), but Michigan won with 2013 defensive back Dymonte Thomas (Alliance, Ohio/Marlington).
With Greg Mattison, Meyer’s former defensive coordinator at Florida, on board at Michigan I think the battles will be fierce. I do think, however, that Michigan will win some of the tug-of-war matches in 2013. I believe that all of this actually affects Michigan State and Penn State the most.
Both schools could feel the effect of Michigan and Ohio State seeing success on the recruiting trail, which could be damaging down the road. So to answer your question, I think Meyer is going to do a great job at Ohio State, but I think Michigan will be able to land some of the prospects both are after.
Q: DaRoyce, Toledo, Ohio: With the focus in 2012 on offensive line, defensive line and linebacker with recruiting, will 2013 be more about getting game changers at skill positions?
A: Offensive and defensive line will again be a focus in 2013. Michigan loses four offensive linemen after this next season, so depth will need to be gained with the 2013 class.
However, yes, wide receiver and running back will also be a focus. Since the Wolverines missed out on running back Bri’onte Dunn to Ohio State, the coaches will most likely look to add two elite level backs to the 2013 class.
The offers out right now are to Ty Isaac (Joliet, Ill./Joliet Catholic), Wyatt Shallman (Novi, Mich./Detroit Catholic Central), and Deveon Smith (Warren, Ohio/Howland). The coaches have positioned themselves well with all three so far.
At wide receiver you’ve seen offers out to Laquon Treadwell (Crete, Ill./Crete-Monee), Kevin Gladney (Akron, Ohio/Firestone), Devon Allen (Phoenix/Brophy), Robert Foster (Monaca, Pa./Central Valley), Uriah Lemay (Matthews, N.C./Butler), and a few others.
So the coaching staff understands the need at those two positions specifically, and will target those prospects heavily.
Q: Matt, Almont, Mich.: How much does Michigan want to fill this incoming class? Even if the coaches fill the 2012 class, they could still conceivably take a full class for next year, right? Could you expand on the philosophy of taking a lesser recruit now instead of leaving that spot open for the next class?
A: Let’s first look at who Michigan loses after next season. That will give you a good look at how many spots will be open. There will be roughly 16 departures, without adding anyone in like Taylor Lewan, who might go to the NFL early.
With normal attrition and departures, you’re probably looking at around 20 spots for the 2013 class as of right now, and assuming that Michigan fills the 2012 class. Any scholarships that aren’t filled in 2012 could be added to that number for 2013.
The coaches definitely aren’t going to just take a prospect to fill a spot, they have too many needs to fill to just take a body. With the targets left on the board now, you will likely see Michigan try to land as many as they can and then move on if they don’t.
If they fill the class, then great, if not then those scholarships will be banked for the next class.