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Thursday, March 21, 2013
WolverineNation Roundtable

By Chantel Jennings & Tom VanHaaren & Michael Rothstein

Every Thursday our writers debate and discuss three issues surrounding the Wolverines. Today, they look at kids who would’ve benefited from an early enrollment, some March Madness and some under-the-radar 2014 prospects.

1) Which 2013 signee who didn't enroll early would've benefited the most from doing so?

Derrick Green
Derrick Green might have benefitted by enrolling early.
Michael Rothstein: Shane Morris almost without question. While the potential extra year of eligibility for Devin Gardner gives Michigan some possible leeway (provided he returns in 2014), having an extra spring to learn the offense would have been beneficial for him along with weight-room gains. It also would have allowed him to compete better for the quarterback job behind Gardner.

Tom VanHaaren: Derrick Green. The running back competition seems pretty open at this point and had Green come in to learn the offense and compete in the spring he would be that much closer to seeing the field early. He very well still could get playing time without enrolling early, but it definitely could have gotten him that much further along in the game.

Chantel Jennings: Khalid Hill. He’s the only scholarship tight end who isn’t enrolled right now, and if he had come in early for weight training and getting in the playbook, I think he would’ve been more competition for AJ Williams in the fall.

2) What will be Michigan's biggest struggle against South Dakota State on Thursday night?

Rothstein: Same issue Michigan has had all year -- defensive rotations to get out on shooters. Nate Wolters is one of the top point guards in the nation and has height to see over smaller defenders and screens to make the right passes, much like Darius Morris a couple of years ago. If Michigan doesn't stay home on shooters or gets caught in a bad rotation, that's an open 3-pointer for South Dakota State. Too many of those, early, and Michigan could be in some trouble.

VanHaaren: It's March, it's the tournament, and I'm sure it's easy to look ahead to other teams. I'm sure Michigan didn't think it would lose last season to Ohio, so I think they need to stay focused. I know a few players have said they are focused on this game, so it likely won't be a problem, but it is definitely easy to look ahead.

Jennings: They need to get in an offensive flow early, which they haven’t been able to do recently. They have looked out of sorts at times and, in the tournament, the sooner they find their mojo, the better. If they don’t find it against SDSU, they could be out quick. If they can get Nik Stauskas on early, that’s good. If Glenn Robinson has early success, that’s good. If Tim Hardaway Jr. finds his shots and attacks the basket, good. This is a winnable game for the Wolverines, so they need to use it to get Michigan playing like Michigan.

3) Which recruit do you feel has been the most overlooked by the masses so far?

Rothstein: Christian McCaffrey (Highlands Ranch, Colo./Valor Christian), mostly because of the lineage. Ed McCaffrey was an NFL receiver for 13 years, and his progeny has a chance to be a good player as well. It's still early -- he hasn't played his senior season yet -- but I just have a feeling he's going to be a very good player down the road.

VanHaaren: I think there are a few out there who are overlooked. The names that stick out off the top of my head are McCaffrey, Alex Bars (Nashville/Montgomery Bell Academy) and Montae Nicholson (Monroeville, Pa./Gateway). Sometimes when prospects are quieter in the media the fans don't put too much focus on them, but all three of those prospects are very good at their respective positions. If Michigan were able to land any combination of the three it would be a big deal. Bars has been racking up offers lately, McCaffrey brings some elements to wide receiver that Michigan doesn't currently have, and Nicholson is a big, strong, athletic safety.

Jennings: Guys like Corey Holmes (Fort Lauderdale, Fla./St. Thomas Aquinas) seem to be forgotten about. Fans want players who are sprinting through Michigan’s front doors, and this is a kid who grew up a Wolverines fan amidst the hotbed of everyone who was either a Florida or Miami fan. And on the O-line, everyone seems to still be confused why Tommy Doles (Grand Rapids, Mich./Grand Rapids Christian) picked up an offer. But I think they’re considering him at center since they really only have Jack Miller and Patrick Kugler as scholarship centers. And people keep saying he’s too small for the line. Well, Dave Molk was 6-foot-2, 286 when he won the Rimington Award. Doles is 6-5, 250 pounds.