Monday, April 1, 2013
WolverineNation recruiting roundtable
By Chantel Jennings, Tom VanHaaren & Kipp Adams
Every other week, Tom and Chantel invite in another recruiting writer to throw around a few ideas regarding Michigan on a national level. This week, they invited Kipp Adams, who covers the southeast and Georgia Bulldogs recruiting.
1. Two of Michigan's four 2014 commits have come from the South. Does that increase Michigan's chances of landing other Southern prospects going forward?
Tom VanHaaren: It definitely doesn't hurt. It just depends on who the commit is and where he's from. Recruits usually won't make their decision based on someone else's, but a Southern prospect picking a Northern school like Michigan does give intrigue to others. If it's a top-ranked prospect that also usually adds to the intrigue for other recruits. If they see a big name guy choose a school like Michigan then typically they will want to at least find out what he saw in that school to make it his choice.
Chantel Jennings: I know that Wilton Speight (Richmond, Va./Collegiate School) is already reaching out among the Virginia recruits and chatting with kids. It also doesn’t hurt that he trains in Los Angeles and interacts with Cali recruits from time to time. And Mason Cole (Tarpon Springs, Fla./East Lake) is doing the same in Florida. I think that personal approach is a boost, and Michigan commits have been active on the recruiting trail.
Kipp Adams: A program steeped in tradition like Michigan will always be able to recruit nationally, and recent history backs that up. Over the last 10 years, the Wolverines have signed 39 prospects from the Southeast, including nine in 2009. Among those who Michigan landed was ESPN 150 prospect Denard Robinson, who would go on to set school and FBS records in offensive production. Seeing his success, as well as already having two prominent commitments in the southeast, should provide Michigan an opportunity to target a few additional high-profile targets for the 2014 class.
2. The South is full of talent, what trends among position groups do you see as the most interesting?
VanHaaren: The defensive linemen once again are strong in the South. It obviously starts with guys like Da'Shawn Hand (Woodbridge, Va./Woodbridge) and defensive tackle Andrew Brown (Chesapeake, Va./Oscar Frommel Smith), but it goes beyond those two. Michigan has already identified and offered a few other defensive linemen from the South and could have a chance at landing a few. Hand has been the most notable, and probably the most interested at this point, but depending on who else Michigan can get on campus there might be a few options. If Michigan could land some of the big-time Suthern linemen it would be a major victory.
Jennings: I think the running back position is incredibly interesting this year. Between guys like Leonard Fournette (New Orleans/St. Augustine), Elijah Hood (Charlotte, N.C./Charlotte Catholic) and Sony Michel (Plantation, Fla./American Heritage) and lesser-known players in Michigan's circle like Nick Chubb (Cedartown, Ga./Cedartown) and Donte Thomas-Williams (Durham, N.C./Hillside), you’ve got a combination of players who could really complement a lot of BCS rosters. This could be a really solid group of Southern backs.
Adams: Several outstanding offensive tackles have emerged, including Cameron Robinson (West Monroe, La./West Monroe), K.C. McDermott (Wellington, Fla./Palm Beach Central), Bentley Spain (Charlotte, N.C./Providence Senior) and Alex Bars (Nashville, Tenn./Montgomery Bell), and I am equally impressed with versatile offensive linemen like Cole, Roderick Taylor (Jacksonville, Miss./Callaway) and Donnell Stanley (Latta, S.C./Latta) who could play guard or tackle at the next level.
3. Outside of Hand, which Southern target would be most beneficial for Michigan to land?
VanHaaren: I would say wide receiver Artavis Scott (Tarpon Springs, Fla./East Lake). Michigan already has a commitment from his teammate, Cole, and the coaching staff is also in on Scott's 2015 teammate George Campbell. Landing Cole and Scott would be a big help in landing Campbell in the next class. On top of that, Scott is an outstanding receiver prospect who would bring a different dimension than the taller receivers Michigan has been bringing in.
Jennings: I’m going to stick with my trend and say Hood. He has visited Michigan and was impressed, and bringing in a top running back again in 2014 would be a huge boost to the Wolverine offense. The more competition you can have within position groups, the better that position will be.
Adams: Don’t get me wrong, I feel Hand is an outstanding talent, but if I bring in one defensive lineman in this class, I would want Brown on my team. He’d give the Wolverines a 300-pound disruptive force on the inside and wreak havoc in opponents’ backfields, but he's also strong enough at the point of attack to help against the run. Players like that are hard to find at any level of the game.