Wednesday, January 16, 2013
By Chantel Jennings
ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Taylor Lewan provided a bit of college football coverage for Ann Arbor fans last week when he announced he would stay for his final season, but at this time of year all eyes seem to be on recruiting and basketball. With less than a month to signing day, the Wolverines seem to be closing in on a class that will leave them with few surprises on Feb. 6. And the basketball team, even with its first loss last week in Columbus, has made Ann Arbor excited about basketball again.
Next week Mike has the mailbag, so send questions his way. Now on to this week’s questions.
Jeremy Oosterhouse via Twitter: With Damon Webb (Detroit/Cass Tech) to OSU, who are some 2014 instate CBs Michigan might be looking at?
A: Just because Webb committed doesn’t mean his recruitment is over. He’s still going to be one of the Wolverines most highly sought-after recruits, perhaps even more so now. He was the only 2014 elite, national-level CB in Michigan, though a few in-state kids to keep yours eyes on would be Tim Cason (Clarkston, Mich./Clarkston) and Jalen Watts-Jackson (Orchard Lake, Mich./St. Mary’s). But assume the Wolverines will keep branching out. Parrker Westphal (Bolingbrook, Ill./Bolingbrook) would be a huge get, as would Nick Watkins (Dallas/Bishop Dunne).
Adam, Jackson, Michigan: Michigan dropped in the national basketball rankings and the OSU loss was depressing, but how long should I be sad about this?
A: I think in the long run the Wolverines’ loss to Ohio State will be more helpful than if Trey Burke had made that shot and they would’ve walked away with a close win. I think they’re one of the best teams in the country, but I don’t think they’re the best. It was pretty evident how rattled the freshmen got on the road, and yes, this team is relying heavily on its freshmen so that can’t really happen. And John Beilein has always said that Big Ten championships are won on the road, so this was a nice baptism by fire.
They’ll have a chance to show themselves Thursday on the road against Minnesota and we’ll be able to tell a lot about this team and how it bounces back. So should you be depressed? I don’t know; maybe just bummed. Because the team that played the better, more complete game was the team that won. And I think when Ohio State plays in Ann Arbor, the result will be different as the Wolverines will have some unfinished business and the freshmen will be more well-adjusted. Look as this as a hurt now, be better off later type of deal for Michigan.
Even if Devin Gardner gets a medical redshirt, it shouldn't affect the recruitment of future quarterbacks.
Seth, New York: If Devin Gardner gets his medical redshirt, will 2014 quarterback recruiting be harder? Easier? Not affected?
A: It’s not as though most recruits are out there thinking, “OK, I’m only going to go to a school that has a graduating senior my incoming year so that there is no competition.” And if there are, those aren’t the players Michigan is targeting. So for this case, I think it actually could be helpful if Gardner stays. If anything (and assuming Gardner were able to keep the starting job both next season and the following), this would give the 2014 QB a chance to spend a year competing for the backup spot with Shane Morris. That’s an entire season of practices to impress the coaches, and, if the 2014 quarterback were to enroll early, they’d also be in for Morris’ first season of spring ball, which would be a huge bonus, too. The Michigan coaches could play that up pretty well.
Josh Modjeski via Twitter: Who looks like they would be ready to play right away out of the early enrollees?
A: I’m thinking your most likely candidates would be Dymonte Thomas and Jake Butt. Thomas could help the secondary and is coming in physically ready. As the son of a Marine, he understands discipline, respect and hard work and will be ready to do whatever the coaches ask of him. Butt could help just because he’s stepping in to a place of need. Just by enrolling he has basically gotten himself the second-string spot behind Devin Funchess, so this spring ball he’ll be able to compete for the top spot. We don’t really know what happened with Funchess during the Big Ten season, whether he wasn’t targeted because he wasn’t open or the Michigan coaches just weren’t calling his number. I think Taco Charlton is also up there; the D-line obviously needs help and with a semester of weight and scheme training, he could play a bit.