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Thursday, March 29, 2012
Michigan roundtable

By WolverineNation staff

William Campbell
Senior defensive tackle William Campbell has yet to live up to his high school hype, but early reports out of Michigan's spring practice have been positive.
Trey Burke has a decision to make. Will Campbell is trying to reach expectations placed on him early in his college career. And Michigan still has 16 commitments for the Class of 2013 --more than halfway done, numbers-wise, for a group signing in February 2013.

Those three topics are covered in this week's Michigan roundtable. Have a question you want all three of us to answer? Email michaelrothsteinespn@gmail.com.

1) A lot has been made of Will Campbell's spring thus far. How much does that help him in the fall, does he end up starting and what happens to him?

Chantel Jennings: I think Campbell is going to have a good year for the Wolverines. He's not Mike Martin and no one should expect him to do that, but he should battle at the point of attack. On Tuesday he admitted that he had maybe been a bit lazy early on and that he's now playing to the expectation of the position. I'm not going to underestimate any defensive line players on Michigan though because they have Brady Hoke, Greg Mattison and Jerry Montgomery coaching them.

Michael Rothstein: He'll start -- as much because Michigan's options there are limited as how much he has improved. All the potential is there and he looks to be in the best shape of his career. However, those expectations are still going to follow him. He'll start. He'll have a decent season, but it still won't be as great as some think it will be -- mostly because expectations are starting to ratchet up again amongst the fan base. But he'll be a strong contributor for Michigan in 2012, just not an all-Big Ten player.

Tom VanHaaren: A lot is always made out of spring practices. The coaching and training is certainly going to help him, and I do think he's going to start. Michigan is still a little thin at his spot, but he really needs to be the anchor of that line for it to succeed.

2) As his decision draws nearer, does Trey Burke return to Michigan next season?

MR: This will be a cop-out answer but I just don't know. When this situation arose the past two seasons with Manny Harris and Darius Morris, I felt confident and comfortable in knowing what would likely happen. This time around, though, it really is up in the air. Should he return to school? Probably. Will he? I'd really say it is 50-50 right now.

CJ: I think he should, but I don't know if that means he will. I think it will be beneficial to both sides if he were to stay one or two more years. Yes, Burke had a great freshman campaign and was able to pick apart some defenses. But he was also picked apart at times. He's only 5-foot-11, so he'll be smaller than most guards in the league, so he'd have to make up for that elsewhere. Where? I'm not exactly sure. Plus, I think his decision-making needs improvement. A lot has been made about Evan Smotrycz's crossover at the end of the Ohio game, but my question is, "Why did Trey give the ball to him?" It wasn't a sound decision on the PG's part. He needs to mature so more. It might be a favorable year for point guards to go, but that shouldn't be the driving factor of whether he's ready to play in the NBA.

TVH: I think he will return to Michigan. I don't know anything that everyone else doesn't, but I just feel like coming back would make the most sense for him. Whatever choice he makes, I wish him well.

3) Michigan's recruiting pace has slowed down a bit. What is the most important thing for the Wolverines in recruiting over the next six weeks?

TVH: The next big event is the spring game on April 14. Some bigger names will be in town that weekend, so it will be important for Michigan to make a big impression. Guys like linebacker E.J. Levenberry (Woodbridge, Va./CD Hylton), Joey Bosa (Fort Lauderdale, Fla./St. Thomas Aquinas) and defensive tackle Greg Webb (Sicklerville, N.J./Timber Creek) are a few. With 16 commitments in March, there isn't really a pressing need, though. The coaching staff has done a tremendous job to say the least.

CJ: I think there are a few Wolverines on the board that Michigan needs to make this class really, really good. Michigan is going hard after Levenberry Jr. and Ben Gedeon and running back Ty Isaac. I think it would help future commits see the talent pool and promise of this class grow if the Wolverines could close the deal on one or two (preferably) of those guys in the next six weeks. And it would help if the Wolverines have a good showing at their spring game on April 14. The spring game isn't a huge event by any means but there will be recruits in town and if Michigan can look decent with the amount of turnover it has had in the past few months, then that won't hurt.

MR: Stay the course. Michigan is in good position right now all across the board -- both with verbal, non-binding commitments and players still being recruited who haven't made a decision. Stay in contact with those you have commitments from and keep pushing after the small group of players they are working on now.