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Monday, March 4, 2013
WolverineNation recruiting roundtable

By Chantel Jennings, Tom VanHaaren & Bob Przybylo

*Every other Monday, Tom and Chantel invite in an outside writer to weigh in on some topics surrounding Michigan recruiting. With Jerry Montgomery heading to OU, we thought we’d get SoonerNation recruiting writer Bob Przybylo’s thoughts.

1. With Montgomery at Oklahoma, does that mean Michigan will start to see recruiting battles with the Sooners,?

,Bob Przybylo: That will be very intriguing to see. Trying to convince an Ohio recruit to head to Michigan is a lot different than trying to sway an Ohio kid to come to Oklahoma. There might be some overlap between the schools for the 2014 class, but nothing is for certain in the future. Montgomery might discover he is incredibly comfortable recruiting kids from Texas and won't worry too much about Midwest prospects because of how tough it is to win those battles.

Tom VanHaaren: It depends on what areas Montgomery is assigned to. I think that's an interesting part of all this, because he can recruit anywhere. He is originally from California, so if Oklahoma were to allow him to recruit California and parts of Texas then I think there could be some battles. Those are areas that Oklahoma could capitalize on that Michigan is trying to get involved in. It would be less of a battle in the South and East because the Sooners don't have a huge presence there.

Chantel Jennings: They could. When you look at Oklahoma’s 2013 signee list, you come away knowing that they recruit Oklahoma and Texas very hard. Of the 24 OU commits, 18 were from those two states. Of Michigan’s 27 signees, none came from those two states. So could there be battles here and there? Sure. But I don’t think we’ll see them with every single prospect.

2. Which 2014 prospects will Montgomery’s Michigan departure and Oklahoma arrival impact the most?

Da'Shawn Hand
Jerry Montgomery's move to Oklahoma could have an effect on the recruitment of ESPN Watch List DE Da'Shawn Hand.
Przybylo: I think you have to start with ESPN Watch List defensive end Da'Shawn Hand (Woodbridge, Va./Woodbridge). OU was originally in his top 10 before being eliminated in his latest top schools. Michigan has been right in the mix the entire time. I don't see that changing because the Wolverines have a lot to offer. But if the relationship with Hand and Montgomery is as tight as it appeared to be from an outsider's point of view, then the Sooners could come back into this race in a major way. I can't see OU making a real dent with linebacker commit Michael Ferns (St. Clairsville, Ohio/St. Clairsville) or quarterback commit Wilton Speight (Richmond, Va./Collegiate School). The Sooners haven't been in the race for Ferns and OU has its eyes set on its own Watch List quarterback prospect in Justice Hansen (Edmond, Okla./Santa Fe).

VanHaaren: Again, I think it depends on what areas Montgomery recruits. If he stays in the South then the battles will be there. Andrew Williams (McDonough, Ga./Eagles Landing Christian) is a guy that Montgomery has already started to target with the Sooners. Montgomery isn't going to try to steal kids away from Michigan, but uncommitted prospects are fair game. He is an excellent recruiter so the area he recruits for Oklahoma will be tough sledding for any opposing team, including Michigan.

Jennings: Michigan had a good start on a lot of 2014 guys and a lot of that was because of the relationship that Montgomery had formed with guys. There were also a number of prospects who had a lot of interest but hadn’t picked up offers yet -- those would be the guys that I think Oklahoma would have a better chance with. If he can keep his relationships through the move, he could attract those guys to Oklahoma as the Wolverines send in someone else to start that relationship over from the beginning.

3. Which Midlands prospect do the Wolverines have the best chance with in the 2014 class?

Przybylo: Last month I would have said Watch List quarterback David Cornwell (Norman, Okla./North). Michigan had developed a strong relationship with Cornwell and his family, and it seemed like they were pretty set with the Wolverines if the offer had come along. Obviously Michigan went with Speight, and Cornwell has elected to move on. Looking at the board now, have to believe Watch List offensive tackle Ty Barrett (Dallas/Skyline) is in the mix. Michigan coaches have been down to visit him, and he has Michigan ties. The biggest shocker with Barrett was him attending Texas' junior day and leaving without an offer. He has an offer from OU, but the Sooners also have a new offensive line coach and one Barrett has only talked to on the phone once. Barrett is going to be an interesting study because as of right now, it feels like he is having way too much fun and enjoying the process with no thoughts of slowing it down. Will that continue? Remains to be seen, but the Sooners and Wolverines should be in the mix for Barrett the whole way.

VanHaaren: I think there are a few that Michigan has a shot with. The coaching staff has had success in Colorado and I think they have a shot to continue that success in 2014. Both Kalen Ballage (Peyton, Colo./Falcon) and Christian McCaffrey (Highlands Ranch, Colo./Valor Christian) have Michigan offers and both are very interested in Michigan. So the Wolverines might be able to snag one of those prospects down the road.

Jennings: Michigan has made a point of going after talented and big recruits in the secondary. Watch List defensive back Nick Watkins (Dallas/Bishop Dunne) fits that mold. He was one of the first DB’s to get a Michigan offer and was in attendance for the Michigan-Alabama game this year (he holds offers from both schools). He might be a guy who will be difficult to pull from the south, but if any northern school can do it, I wouldn’t be the one betting against Greg Mattison and Michigan.