Chat with Chantel Jennings
Welcome to WolverineNation! On Thursday, reporter Chantel Jennings stops by to chat about the state of Michigan football.
Jennings joined ESPN.com in 2011 after covering University of Michigan athletics for three years at The Michigan Daily. Jennings graduated from the University of Michigan with degrees in English and Spanish and lives in Ann Arbor.
Send your questions now and join Jennings Thursday at 11 a.m. ET!
Chantel (11:01 AM)
Hey guys! Welcome to today's chat. There's a ton going on between spring ball starting this weekend, the Big Ten Tournament starting today and a few big visitors on the horizon for Michigan. So bring it....
Curtis (Ace Deuce )
What position group should we be most worried about heading in to the season?
Chantel (11:04 AM)
Offensive line. Without the O-line putting together good, consistent performances, the offensive doesn't have a great chance of being successful. And with how much the personnel is going to change between last season and this season (as well as the youth factor), I think that's a group that will need to grow a lot between the start of spring ball and next September.
Peter (Columbia, MD)
Which WR becomes our best deep threat?
Chantel (11:06 AM)
I think Amara Darboh could be a big threat for Michigan. The little we heard of him from last season, it sounded like he was impressing people. If we consider all eligible receivers, I think Devin Funchess could also be another down field target the Wolverines use a lot.
Royce (Germantown, MD)
Will Michigans' Pro Day be streamed online any where?
Chantel (11:07 AM)
I don't know if mgoblue is going to have a delayed streaming (doubt it), but if they do we'll link it up on our message board.
More of an X-factor to a final four run: GRIII or Nik Stauskas?
Chantel (11:10 AM)
If I were to answer in the spirit of Beilein's thought process I would say Stauskas because as Beilein always says "the 3-point line has changed the game." Stauskas could easily go 5-for-5 and no one would be surprised. He can change a game so quickly and if he can catch fire, it'll only make the inside game open up so players like Jordan Morgan can work the paint, or GRIII or THJr could streak through the middle.
Derrin (Plano, TX)
Which freshmen will come in and make the biggest impact for the Wolverines this fall?
Chantel (11:12 AM)
My money is one TE Jake Butt. There's such a lack of depth at TE that he's already on the 2-deep just by being eligible. Couple that with the fact that he early enrolled and will be physically ready, I think he'll make an impact.
Josh (Ann Arbor)
Who are some recruits that have shown a lot of interest in Michigan lately and will be visiting soon?
Chantel (11:14 AM)
This weekend TE Nic Weishar and DE Da'Shawn Hand will be in town, which is HUGE for Michigan. Both are Watch List guys and would be huge, huge, huge gets for the Wolverines. Throughout the spring you'll have guys like Drake Harris, Tommy Doles, Lawrence Marshall and Parrker Westphal in town for practices. Those are all names that Michigan fans should acquaint themselves with.
Douglas (Kalamazoo, MI)
With Derrick Green not enrolling early, what are the chances he gets the starting job and whether or not he does how much of an impact will he have this season?
Chantel (11:16 AM)
I think he has a good shot at the starting position. We don't know how Fitzgerald Toussaint will recover from injury and I wasn't floored by Justice Hayes or Thomas Rawls last year. Derrick will definitely be in contention for the starting spot. Give him a few plays and he might be a guy that Michigan just won't be able to keep off the field.
What's the latest on Michigan players that will declare for the NBA draft after this season?
Chantel (11:17 AM)
I would imagine Trey Burke and Tim Hardaway Jr. Past that, I don't know if it'd be smart for anyone to go.
how much does da shawn hand like michigan?
Chantel (11:19 AM)
Michigan is in his top 5, which is a big deal. He doesn't know a ton about the Wolverines yet though, which is why this weekend's visit is such a big deal. It'll be good to get him on campus so he can experience Ann Arbor and see if its a place he could see himself living. I also think it'll be great for him to take in a spring practice and team meetings and sit in film with Greg Mattison. Then, on top of that, he'll be able to tour the academic facilities. He's a smart kid and academics are key for his decision, so Michigan impressing on that end will be vital.
Peter (Columbia, MD)
Is the Spring Game going to be televised?
Chantel (11:21 AM)
I haven't heard anything about it yet.
DrJJ (Chicago, IL)
Is Hardaway really ready for NBA. He needs to work on consistency in his offense, no?
Chantel (11:22 AM)
There are so many different aspects of this decision and it's not always so much of "Am I completely ready?" He'll look at depth of the other guys at his position who are declaring. He'll probably wait to hear what the committee says. And he has to consider the fact that if he were to stay for next year and Burke were to leave, would he have a better showing as a senior with either Derrick Walton or Spike Albrecht at point?
Do you expect Jarrod Wilson to be an X-factor this year? Coaches and players have raved about his potential.
Chantel (11:24 AM)
I think he could be. He got a bit of playing time in the secondary last year, but we didn't see too much. Physically, he has the skills. And this will be his second spring ball with the Wolverines. There are definite openings within the secondary and I think he could be a guy that steps into one of those.
Do you think the coaches should wait on taking Tommy Doles commitment? We seem to be in play with much better OL
Chantel (11:26 AM)
People are normally excited about under the radar recruits, but for some reason people don't understand why Michigan offered Doles so early. If you look at michigan's offer list there are a lot of big names with big talent. They give out early offers to guys that they'd love to have and Doles is one of those. They really don't have a ton of competition at center and I think Doles could be a guy that'd play there. He's smart (on the field and off) and the coaches love his attitude. If you want a guy on the O-line calling stuff, Doles isn't a bad choice.
Royce (Germantown, MD)
Which RB to you think has the best Spring and why?
Chantel (11:29 AM)
I think Thomas Rawls could have a good spring. His angry running style could become more disciplined with film study and more time with Fred Jackson and this could be a big spring for him, especially if he wants to compete for the starting spot next fall.
Douglas (Kalamazoo, MI)
What do you predict will happen with Shane Morris: redshirt, compete for a backup role or other?
Chantel (11:31 AM)
It's hard to say. He could be a back up or redshirt -- either way he's learning under Al Borges and Devin Gardner and not being thrust into the spotlight immediately which is a good thing.
Nathan (West Bloomfield)
Michigan, Final 4, or out before?
Chantel (11:33 AM)
When Michigan is at its best, it's a team that could make it to the Final Four. But, when they're not playing good defense, closing out on shooters, helping the weak side, etc....they're so beatable. I think if the Wolverines can put together solid defensive performances and Burke, Tim Hardaway Jr. and Morgan are solid and one of either McGary, Stauskas or GRIII show up each game, they're going to put themselves in good positions.
Why is it that Michigan doesn't get top tier recruits like Alabama, Ohio State, USC, etc. when recruits we are after that are 5 star has to choose between these top programs, they never choose Michigan. We never get 5 star recruits. We have the academics, history, facilities, etc.
Chantel (11:36 AM)
Give it time. Anytime there's a chance in coaching staff it takes a while to get things going. Brady Hoke and co. are having Da'Shawn Hand on campus this weekend. He's a possible No. 1 overall recruit. They've had Drake Harris on campus a ton, he could be one of the country's top receivers. Michael Ferns is committed -- he could be one of the top LB. They're attracting top talent. That takes a while to translate to the field and when it does, they'll field teams that compete with the Alabama's and USC's on a national stage.
Matt (Ann Arbor)
Do you like the draw that Michigan got for the Big Ten Tourney. Redemption against 3 teams we should have beat the last time we played and losses that were tough to handle. I think it can be motivation to get us into the finals!
Chantel (11:37 AM)
I don't think Michigan will lose to Penn State. They're the better team and they have a bit of a chip on their shoulders for that one. Wisconsin is beatable and on a neutral court, I think the Wolverines have the edge. Indiana should be an interesting game, but I'm of the opinion that one of the hardest things to do in a single season is beat the same team three times. So Michigan definitely has a chance there, too.
other than drake harris, who is another top WR michigan is after?
Chantel (11:41 AM)
I like Michigan's chances with Watch List WR Corey Holmes. He's a Florida native but grew up a huge Wolverine fan. He's out of St. Thomas Aquinas in Fort Lauderdale, too, so if Michigan could open a pipeline there it'd be huge for future growth and recruiting.
Which redshirt freshman has the biggest impact for Michigan football this year?
Chantel (11:42 AM)
The O-line redshirt frosh -- Kyle Kalis, Erik Magnuson, Ben Braden. I think they could do big things.
Do you think the coaches will use Derrick Green as a tool to recruit big time receives? Letting them no he will take the pressure off the passing game.
Chantel (11:45 AM)
Michigan will use everything and anything (within reason, of course) to recruit big time receivers). But, having Devin Gardner's medical redshirt is a big selling tool for 2014 WR's. That means their first year (in which every freshman imagines themselves having a breakthrough season), they'd be catching passes from a fifth-year senior/three-year starter.
Matt (Ann Arbor)
Which one of the position battles do you think will be decided in the spring? , if any?
Chantel (11:47 AM)
A lot of the offensive line could be decided. So much of both lines are decided by chemistry and how they play together so if a group can get comfortable together this spring, it only gives them a boost as they go into fall camp.
Tony (Richmond, CA)
Will the Wolverines defense prevent them from cutting down the nets or even making the FF?
Chantel (11:47 AM)
It could. They've definitely had huge defensive lapses this year, and they've been hurt because of it. A lot of times though they had those lapses but also had huge offensive performances so it wasn't as obvious. But yes, if they have a weakness, it's their defensive intensity and pressure being there 100 percent of the time.
Do you think we see the zone at all this weekend? Michigan hasn't run it much, but given that they already give up a lot of wide open threes, it might be something to consider.
Chantel (11:48 AM)
It's a possibility, but it's not like moving to a zone will help Michigan stop threes. Zones are perfect for outside shooters. If teams can get good ball movement, it's not very hard to get a shooter into a gap in the zone.
Hunter Dood (Michigan)
Will Gardner start both of his years at QB? Will he lead them to a championship?
Chantel (11:51 AM)
He's definitely a frontrunner to be the starter both years. As long as he doesn't get injured, I would imagine that'd be the case. And if he's not, that means that someone else beat him out, so that wouldn't be a terrible case for U-M either.
Is there any chance Michigan flips Damon Webb? I feel like he is 100% Ohio but once more instate kids go Blue he might rethink his decision.
Chantel (11:52 AM)
Michigan would definitely love to have him, but he seems to be completely committed to OSU right now. I haven't heard anything about him looking around.
If you had to put a percentage on the chance that Burke sticks around one more year, what would it be?
Chantel (11:54 AM)
I don't put percentages on anything. But I can't really see him sticking around. That being said, I believed the same about Taylor Lewan and we all know how that turned out.
El guapo (A2)
It seems common that we get behind agaist other good teams early? Especially on the road. Is this due to nerves, expectations and or our youth?
Chantel (11:55 AM)
I'd attribute it to youth. Sometimes young teams don't know how to pull that trigger from opening tip, they take a while to get into the flow of things and rather than throwing the first punch, they wait to react.
Shoelace (Paris, France)
Hi Chantel ! Do you think we've a real chance to land the stud DE Da'Shawn Hand ?
Chantel (11:57 AM)
They're in his top five. If the Wolverines really impress him this weekend, I think they could be a major player. Also helps that Wilton Speight is from the exact same area in Virginia, so if those two could form a bond this weekend, could be a big recruiting tool.
What player do you think has the best chance to emerge and surprise everyone this year?
Chantel (11:58 AM)
Because Derrick Green committed, few people are talking about the other freshman options Michigan will have at RB. Between Deveon Smith and Wyatt Shallman, I think the Wolverine fan base could have a few surprises.
Chantel (11:59 AM)
Alright, that's all the time we have for today. I'm headed over to the first press conference of the spring football season so Mike (@MikeRothstein) and I (@chanteljennings) will be tweeting from there. Thanks for stopping by, y'all!