Thursday, December 13, 2012
By WolverineNation Staff
ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Every Thursday, the WolverineNation staff puts its heads together to discuss a few of the big issues in Michigan sports. This week, the three take a look at an offensive lineman’s decision, a basketball surprise and the early enrollments on the horizon.
1) Taylor Lewan has a big decision to make, so let's hear it, does he stay or go pro? What are the circumstances for each?
Chantel Jennings: He goes. The only way I see him not going is if he gets injured in the South Carolina game. The money is on the table and physically/mentally I think he’s ready. His athleticism and upside make him a no-brainer for most NFL teams. Plus, he’s already tatted up so you’ve got that out of the way.
Taylor Lewan not only is a surefire first-round pick, he could go in the top 10.
Michael Rothstein: Barring injury, tough to see him staying. My rule of thumb on this (save quarterbacks) is if you can be a first- or second-round pick, you probably should leave. Maybe Lewan will surprise and stay, but I think he has to leave. There is too much potential money on the table. The only other way I could see him staying is if Jadeveon Clowney absolutely crushes him in the Outback Bowl, but I don't know if that is going to happen, either.
Tom VanHaaren: Mel Kiper Jr. recently said Lewan could be the No. 2 tackle taken, so I think he should probably go pro. That's an opportunity that shouldn't be passed up, and staying one more year won't help boost his status much higher than that. His classmates are graduating after this season, so I think it would make sense for him to go pro.
2) What has been the biggest surprise to you with the basketball team so far this season?
Jennings: The freshmen. Yes, we heard oodles about Mitch McGary and quite a bit about Glenn Robinson, but hello everyone else. You’ve got Nik Stauskas leading the nation in 3-point FG percentage, and he’s not a one-trick pony. Stauskas can attack the basket, has shown off some handle and is surprisingly athletic. Then Spike Albrecht has done more than anyone ever expected of him in the first few games of the season. I didn’t think we’d see this kind of contribution out of him … ever. And Caris LeVert earned the opportunity to burn his redshirt and steal minutes from upperclassmen. I think we expected two of the freshmen to shine. Not five.
Rothstein: The growth of Tim Hardaway Jr.'s game. Yes, the freshmen have been great and Albrecht is better than expected. But Hardaway Jr. has turned himself into a player who can get his own shot in any situation, is making smarter decisions, not forcing shots as much, is slashing more and has improved his handle.
VanHaaren: Albrecht. He was such a late name to pop up on Michigan’s radar that I don’t think anyone really expected much from him. But now, not only is he providing a serviceable backup to Trey Burke at the point, but he’s a contributor.
3) What 2013 commit will gain the most from enrolling early?
Jennings: Taco Charlton. The D-line is in some serious need of help, and Charlton, an end, could be one of the answers. Physically, he’ll need to put on some weight, but he’s already a pretty good size so he’ll be able to spend most of winter term and spring/summer term with his nose in the playbook.
Rothstein: I'm going to say tight end Jake Butt. Of the early enrolling players, he has the best chance of seeing the field as a freshman. If he can learn the offense during the spring and get in the weight room for an extra semester, it could be really tough to keep him off the field in the fall.
VanHaaren: It's probably either Charlton or Butt. Depending on how they take to the strength and conditioning, I think both could have opportunities to see the field. Devin Funchess and A.J. Williams are the only other scholarship tight ends on the roster, so if he can put in the right work he should get some playing time.