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Wednesday, January 30, 2013
WolverineNation Mailbag

By Chantel Jennings

ANN ARBOR, Mich. – What a week for Michigan sports. A top ranking for the basketball team and a big commitment for the football team. But I believe that good things come in threes, so let’s consider this mailbag the third good thing for Michigan sports this week.

Next week Mike will be handling it, so send your questions to michaelrothsteinespn@gmail.com or @mikerothstein. Now on to this week’s questions.

1) Alex Koschik, via Twitter: How can Texas A&M have 32 commits when Michigan’s max is around 27?

A: Everyone seems to be wondering this because it seems odd that some teams can have only 17 commits right now when the Aggies have 32. And despite everyone screaming that it’s oversigning, it’s not.

Dymonte Thomas
Being able to backdate early entries such as Dymonte Thomas allows Michigan to sign more than 25 players in this class.
The max each year is 25, which is why Texas A&M and Michigan are at the numbers they're both at. Both max numbers have to do with staying under the 85 total scholarship limit. This gets tricky and involves early enrollees, so let me explain.

Michigan had 25 commitments in the 2012 class, but had three early enrollees that were counted towards the 2011 class. So that left the 2012 class technically with 22 commitments, which also meant that Michigan could count three of the six 2013 early enrollees “in” the 2012 class. Michigan has 27 commitments in the 2013 class now, but counting three back to 2012 means that there are technically 24 right now. They are allowed to go over the 85 total limit as long as they explain how they're going to be under that come time to have the right numbers, but they can’t go over the 25 limit for each year. The same thing is true for Texas A&M. They have nine early enrollees, which will be counted towards the previous class. That is what allows them to sign so many in this class, because they will technically be under the 25 limit.

2) Scott, Minneapolis: How much upside does Caris LeVert really have?

A: I think a good amount. John Beilein obviously saw something that got him off scout-team duty and into the rotation. And even though it’s limited minutes this season, that might be the best way to get him accustomed to the speed of the game as I believe he’ll be a fixture next year.

Physically, he could be similar to Tim Hardaway Jr., who’s 6-foot-6, 205 pounds. Right now, LeVert is 6-foot-6, 180 pounds, and that’s after putting on about 20 pounds and growing an inch since getting to Michigan. With another offseason of training and eating the way Michigan wants him to, I don’t think another 15-20 pounds will be out of the question. And fundamentally, we keep seeing different sides of the freshman. He has an outside shot, we’ve seen that. He can attack the basket, we’ve seen that, too. He can distribute the ball decently and his defense is improving. He has all the tools to be a really good player for the Wolverines and even though he hasn’t contributed major numbers this season, he has been a big part of the athleticism and skill in the rotation.

3) DJ Carey via Twitter: Can Derrick Green step in and be the feature back next season, or do you think he'll need some time to adapt first?

A: Physically, Green is ready. He’s 6-foot, 215 pounds and only going to get stronger before he gets to Michigan. Obviously, he’s going to need to get used to the speed of the game and there will be a learning curve, but we also need to compare that to the rest of the possibilities. Thomas Rawls and Justice Hayes really didn’t show much during this season, and no one knows how Fitzgerald Toussaint is recovering. Could Green be in line for the starting spot? Absolutely. Will the offensive line be better than last season? We’ll see. It’ll be a lot of young players. Don’t expect him to be Mike Hart or Tyrone Wheatley off the bat. Give him some time. He has the IQ, size and desire to be Michigan’s No. 1 guy though, and that’s good.

4) Carl Pogoncheff via Twitter: Better WR prospect -- Denard Robinson or Roy Roundtree?

A: At this point? Roundtree. After Robinson’s performance in the Senior Bowl I would imagine a lot of people are really looking into him as a running back or kick returner, which is more akin to his natural abilities than wide receiver. Roundtree has the height, athleticism, experience that can be built upon. In the long run could Robinson be the better wide receiver? Absolutely, especially because of his ability after the catch. But the question is, which teams are going to want to gamble on that?