Thursday, March 7, 2013
By Chantel Jennings, Michael Rothstein & Tom VanHaaren
Every Thursday, our writers sit down to throw around some ideas about a few issues surrounding Michigan sports. This week, Tom, Mike and Chantel take a crack at some spring football storylines, some underrated basketball players and younger prospects who have the opportunity to blow up on the recruiting scene this summer.
1) Spring football is right around the corner, what storyline are you most interested to follow as the Wolverines get their 15 spring practices?
Taco Charlton will have the chance to earn early playing time.
Chantel Jennings: I’m interested to see how much the early enrollees get involved in the reps. Tight end Jake Butt, defensive back Dymonte Thomas and defensive end Taco Charlton all have the opportunity to play early because of their skill and a lack of depth at each position. Spring ball will be a chance for all of us to see how much they capitalized on their early enrollments.
Tom VanHaaren: Everyone is probably going to say the offense without Denard Robinson, but I think it's the biggest question for everyone. Devin Gardner had success last season and now he will have some new weapons this season. With a young offensive line and a different scheme it will be interesting to see what the offense actually looks like and how effective it is.
Michael Rothstein: What happens on the Michigan offensive line. It is easily the most important battle this spring and will be most critical to Michigan's success in the fall. It has three big holes and competitors with no real experience.
2) Which player on the basketball team do you think has made the most underrated contributions this season?
Jennings:Spike Albrecht. It’s kind of an odd choice because I know he hasn’t been stellar, but I think he has been good enough. Last season, there was so much of a dropoff at point when Trey Burke went to the bench, Michigan didn’t get out in transition much and defensively they were at a disadvantage. Now, I’m not saying Michigan is Michigan when Albrecht is on the floor and Burke is on the bench, but he has been a serviceable backup.
VanHaaren:Caris LeVert. He’s a guy who even Michigan didn’t think would contribute this season. Then they pulled his redshirt, and he has been a guy who stepped in when Tim Hardaway Jr. couldn’t start and last weekend when Nik Stauskas was out with an injury. He’s a good perimeter defender because of his range and he has been getting more and more comfortable offensively.
Rothstein: Pre-injury it was Jordan Morgan in a landslide, but I think now more people understand his importance. So I'd look very outside the norm and say Corey Person. He might not play one more minute the rest of the way, but he has been the locker room leader of this team for multiple years and always seems to have more invested than most. I'll never forget after Duke beat Michigan two years ago in the NCAAs, he was inconsolable in his locker after the game, more than any other player. Guys listen to him.
3) Which local 2014 or 2015 prospect do you think has the chance to become a national recruit if he shows out at a few camps and combines this summer?
Jennings: I think Tim Cason (Clarkston, Mich./Clarkston) is a name that could pop up a lot more. Earlier this fall he tried to commit to Toledo, but the coaches there asked that he wait because they believed his recruitment would explode and he’d end up decommitting. Outside of that, he has had a pretty quiet recruitment. However, he’s playing with MaxEx, and a solid 7-on-7 season with that team can lead to quite a few offers.
VanHaaren: Wide receiver Drake Harris (Grand Rapids, Mich./Grand Rapids Christian) and defensive end Lawrence Marshall (Southfield, Mich./Southfield) are two guys that I think could benefit the most. Everyone is aware of Malik McDowell (Detroit/Loyola) and Damon Webb (Detroit/Cass Tech), but I think Harris and Marshall could really shine in camps this year. They have already started to explode nationally, but their offer list will go up if they perform well.
Rothstein: This is kind of unfair because he's trending this way already, but Harris at receiver. He has the skill set and watching him play basketball, he has all the vertical necessary to be an elite receiver as well as possessing the basketball cutting ability which can be devastating in running routes as a receiver. He's going to blow up this summer.