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Monday, February 11, 2013
Recruiting mailbag: 2014 and beyond

By Tom VanHaaren

WolverineNation runs a recruiting mailbag feature every other 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: Tim, Brighton, Mich.: In the interview with Wilton Speight, he said that Michigan was trying to recruit 16 kids next year. What did that mean?

A: It means the starting number for Michigan's 2014 class is, for now, at 16. With Speight and Michael Ferns (St. Clairsville, Ohio/St. Clairsville) already committed, that means there are 14 spots left.

However, that number is going to change. It's based on the 85 total scholarship limit that each team is allowed. So if there is any more attrition -- scholarship players who leave the team for any reason -- it will add on to that number of 16.

On top of that, the Big Ten also allows their schools to sign over the 85 limit by three as long as they explain how they intend to get under or at 85. So that means that Michigan could technically be at 19 for right now if they wanted to.

I suspect that number 16 will likely go up, though. If I had to guess Michigan will probably be around 18, give or take a few, for the class.

Q: Zach, Ann Arbor, Mich.: How big of a deal is it that Michigan landed the quarterback they wanted this early?

A: I think it's a really big deal. Quarterbacks generally tend to make earlier decisions, so to be able to get in on the guy they wanted and get him was a big win. Speight had started to hear from some other big schools recently, and ESPN national analyst Tom Luginbill believes he might be a guy who could see his stock rise after camp season.

It also helps with recruiting, as the quarterbacks tend to be leaders there as well. You saw what Shane Morris was able to do, and I don't think anyone has those type of expectations, but it is a big boost on the recruiting trail.

Speight and Ferns have already spoken about what prospects they want to target and who they'll go after to make this an outstanding class.

In the football sense, too, it's a big deal. The coaches saw him work out in person and felt as though he was the best option. It worked out in their favor, so it's definitely something to celebrate if you're a Michigan fan.

Q: Brian, Chicago: What do you think Michigan's 2014 class will end up looking like? Can they have a top-five class?

A: We talked about the numbers above, so if it's going to be a top-five class, Michigan will need to make every commitment count. I think that's entirely possible, and you have seen the coaching staff be thorough with the offers that are given out.

Michigan is obviously off to a good start, and there are a few prospects who might make some early decisions that could help boost the class.

A lot of other teams like Texas and Florida State are already off to outstanding starts to the 2014 class, so it's going to be another battle until the end. In this class, Michigan would really benefit from landing a few big-time prospects.