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Thursday, February 21, 2013
WolverineNation roundtable

By Chantel Jennings

Mason Cole
Star offensive lineman Mason Cole is slated to visit U-M this weekend.
Each week, Tom, Mike and Chantel sit down to talk about three topics surrounding Michigan sports and recruiting. This week, they take a look back at the Wolverines’ football freshmen who didn’t redshirt, the basketball team’s drop in the polls, and a big-visit weekend for Wolverine recruiting.

1) Of the true freshmen who played in 2012, who should the Wolverines have kept redshirted?

Michael Rothstein: Terry Richardson. He was at a deep position to start the season and desperately needed to put on weight. Likely still does, although we haven't seen him. When I talked to Dan Ferrigno, he explained sometimes they like using the younger guys on special teams to get them snaps, but Richardson just seemed physically not ready to play yet. Plus, it would have put another year between him and the upperclassmen. Unlike Amara Darboh and Royce Jenkins-Stone, Richardson really had little chance to play this year.

Chantel Jennings: Jarrod Wilson. He played in 13 games but recorded only eight tackles. It’s not as though the Wolverines were incredibly deep at safety, but for Wilson, I just think he could’ve used even more time in Greg Mattison’s playbook (yes, I know he was an early enrollee), and an extra year of speed and weight training.

Tom VanHaaren: Probably Darboh. He saw action mainly on special teams and with thin depth at receiver, Michigan could benefit from having him for an extra year. I don't think anyone who didn't redshirt was too glaring.

2) Michigan dropped in the national polls after going 1-1 last week. Was the drop right? Too much? Too little?

Rothstein: Probably about right. Michigan State is a good team and, frankly, that was a game Michigan was almost certainly going to lose considering the matchups and situation of when that game came in the schedule. But to lose by 23 -- and it really could have been more -- signifies a drop. Let's face it, Michigan's basketball team has some issues right now. It isn't getting much from its posts and its defense has been, to be kind, lacking. Michigan has to find itself again over the next three weeks.

Jennings: I wouldn’t have been up in arms if they had dropped even lower. They got their heads handed to them at MSU then struggled with a winless Penn State team at home. That’s not a No. 7 team. But that’s the issue you have this year, I think. A lot of the teams, when at their best, look like top teams (Indiana, Michigan, Michigan State and, heck, Ohio State). But the flipside of those groups is that when they’re not at their best, they don’t look like top-10 teams.

VanHaaren: I think it was right. The Big Ten is loaded and I can't really argue with it, especially after watching Indiana and Michigan State in a close game on Tuesday night. I don't think the rankings matter too much anyway if Michigan doesn't win down the homestretch. It's safe to say they have bigger concerns than the national ranking.

3) This weekend is a big-visit weekend for 2014 recruits. Which visitor would the Wolverines gain the most from if he were to commit?

Rothstein: I have a tough time seeing it happen, but Drake Harris (Grand Rapids, Mich./Grand Rapids Christian). One of Michigan's biggest issues the past two classes has been the inability to nab an elite receiver. Harris qualifies as that. He also would be a momentum guy for the class and as a bonus for Beilein and Co. if he gets the basketball itch again.

Jennings: Running back Elijah Hood (Charlotte, N.C./Charlotte Catholic). Hood has said that Michigan is in his top five, but I don’t think he’s anywhere close to being able to make a decision. So, I don’t expect anything from him this weekend. But I say Michigan would gain the most from getting a commitment from him just because he’s the prototypical running back they’re looking for in their offense.

VanHaaren: Offensive lineman Mason Cole (Tarpon Springs, Fla./East Lake). He's a national prospect from Florida with two teammates who also hold Michigan offers. Landing a kid like that would be a huge deal for Michigan and could be a key in landing his teammates. Linebacker commit Michael Ferns (St. Clairsville, Ohio/St. Clairsville) has been recruiting Cole heavily, and Cole has already made his rounds to other programs.