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 noon ET!
Chantel (11:59 AM)
Hey everyone. We'll get started in a few minutes but keep getting your questions in -- football, basketball, recruiting...whatever, bring it on!
Mitch Hooper (Marion, Ohio)
What's the word for starting running back this season? Fitz? Rawls? Hayes? Green?
Chantel (12:02 PM)
Well, Fitz hasn't gone full strength this spring so it's hard to truly evaluate what the RB situation is. Apparently, Both Rawls and Hayes have impressed a bit, as has Dennis Norfleet and Drake Johnson in certain spots. My guess is that Derrick Green and Deveon Smith (people keep forgetting about him) will be in contention for a lot of snaps, though.
So, if McGary's already announced he's coming back, why does everyone still have him in their mock drafts? Any word about him having second thoughts?
Chantel (12:04 PM)
McGary announced that he was coming back at the last big press conference in Ann Arbor before the team left for the Final Four, but later, he said that the question kind of caught him off guard and that he hasn't made any final decisions. We'll see what happens. My gut says he stays another year, but John Beilein has apparently urged all four of the guys who are getting talked about the most to get their evaluations from the advisory committee.
Please give me some inside scoop on who is leaving me when it comes to the hoops squad????
Chantel (12:06 PM)
I have a feeling that both Trey Burke and Tim Hardaway Jr. are gone. Past that, I'd say Glenn Robinson is more likely to leave than Mitch McGary. But, I've never been drafted, so it's really hard for me to evaluate any of these decisions that the guys are currently making.
Anthony (Taylor, Michigan)
Hey Chantel, what are your thoughts on Derrick Walton, next year's point guard commit and possibly Trey Burke's replacement next year?
Chantel (12:08 PM)
If you haven't watched any game film of Walton, go check some out, it's pretty impressive. As far as him being the starting PG next year (assuming Burke is gone), we'll see. We have definitely seen flashes of Spike Albrecht and his talent during the latter part of this season. And the advantage he will have over Walton is experience and time spent with the guys. So much of Beilein's offense is about the team meshing together and Spike has had so much more time to get used to playing with guys like Mitch and Caris and Nik. They have a chemistry that Walton can also have, but it won't be immediate.
How has our run in the NCAA tourney affected our basketball recruiting and football recruiting?
Chantel (12:12 PM)
As far as basketball recruiting, obviously it has helped. You have a team that's contending for a national title, that's what recruits dream of. What high school star wouldn't want a piece of that? And it has also helped football recruiting. There's not a lot going on right now in the football world, but because of Michigan basketball, the block M has been all over TV, the internet, radio, etc. Also, I read an article on Crain's Business Detroit this morning that said Michigan got 50-55 million dollars worth of free "media exposure" during the tournament run. That's a lot of maize and blue being put in front of people and recruits.
Of the big name prospects that have interest in Michigan, which one(s) does Michigan have the best shot at landing?
Chantel (12:14 PM)
I think the Wolverines have put themselves in a very good position with wide receiver Drake Harris, who I know several Michigan fans would love to have. Outside of him, I think offensive linemen Tommy Doles and Sam Mustipher have been really impressed with Michigan. Those are just a few names that jump out.
Mike (West Quad)
Is it possible we see a commitment at the spring game?
Chantel (12:15 PM)
Doubtful. There aren't a ton of guys visiting this weekend and a lot that are visiting are either 2015 guys or recruits that have said they want to wait out their recruitment a bit.
with the current '14 prospects, when should we start seeing some more commitments?
Chantel (12:17 PM)
It's going to be a smaller class, so we're probably not going to have an eight-commit weekend like we did in the 2013 class. I think the position to watch will be the O-line. Currently, with Mason Cole committed, there are probably two more spots left open there. So I think some guys are waiting for other guys to play their cards. I think once someone snags that second spot, the third OL commit probably won't be too far behind.
who has the inside track for the starting linebacking corp. going into fall?
Chantel (12:18 PM)
I think at WILL and MIKE we'll see Desmond Morgan, Joe Bolden and James Ross all fighting for time. SAM will be the interesting spot. I'll give the nod to Brennen Beyer, just because I think he has more in-game experience than Gordon. But, that will definitely be an interesting position group to see this year, especially because the coaching staff has shown that they're not nervous to play young guys there. So, could we see some Ben Gedeon in the fall? Maybe.
Besides Gallon and Funchess, who has impressed you most this spring at WR and TE?
Chantel (12:20 PM)
Haha, well no one has "impressed" me because we don't see any practice. As writers, until the spring game, we just have to go off what the players and coaches tell us. But the names that have come up the most... WR: Amara Darboh, Jehu Chesson, Drew Dileo. TE: Jake Butt, AJ Williams (and yes, those are the only other two scholarship TE's at Michigan right now...)
Does Jarrod Wilson win the starting job? Or does Dymonte take it?
Chantel (12:21 PM)
I think they like Jarrod's height in the secondary. It sounds like Dymonte is playing more at nickel.
What do you think of Spike's tweet to Kate Upton? Does he have a chance?
Chantel (12:22 PM)
Lloyd: So you're telling me there's a chance?
What's your take on the ref debacle during the title game? Feel free to address any of the following: the phantom fouls on Burke (2) and Siva (1), the LeVert push out, the gifting of Hancock's foul to another uninvolved Louisville player, and/or the consistent muggings under the basket that never drew a whistle.
Chantel (12:25 PM)
I have few issues with the "muggings" you're talking about. I think most people (and especially a lot of players) would rather have a physical game that's decided by themselves rather than refs. And yes, refs are human. My father refs junior high and high school basketball for fun and at any level, it's not easy and people are critical. The only thing I really ever say about refs is that as long as they're consistent (consistently good or consistently bad) I'm fine with it. It's when they're inconsistent with their calls that you can be frustrated.
What should we look forward to in the spring game?
Chantel (12:27 PM)
Chemistry on both the offensive and defensive lines -- that's what I'm most interested to see.
Gordon (Salt Lake City)
Is Dominick's open yet?
Chantel (12:27 PM)
Yes yes yes.
John (Ann Arbor)
Logan Tuley-Tillman looks so different in his official MGOBLUE roster photo. It's shocking! Does he look quicker and more nimble on the field?
Chantel (12:28 PM)
I haven't seen him on the field at all. Practices are closed. However I saw him from afar after practice one day and he definitely looks like he has lost some weight. I would assume that translates to being quicker and more nimble, as you say.
Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)
Who will be on Special Teams for Michigan in 2013?
Chantel (12:29 PM)
Brendan Gibbons and Matt Wile for sure.... as far as kicking/punting goes, the storyline to follow will be what Michigan decides to do with Will Hagerup. You might see some younger guys on kick and punt returns.
What positions are the biggest need in this recruiting cycle (football)?
Chantel (12:32 PM)
For the 2014 class, I'd say a SAM linebacker, WR.
GBK (Lincoln Park)
Chantel, what is your take on the whole sitting Trey for 10 minutes in the 1st half on Monday night? On the one hand I get the argument that Michigan was up 12 and there's always a danger of getting the third foul, but on the other hand I feel like that's when Michigan lost the game because Louisville went on that run to end the half. It's a tough call and I don't fault Beilein for that decision, but wanted to see what you thought.
Chantel (12:35 PM)
I think Beilein made the right call. I understand people wanted Trey out there and they're upset with Beilein, but imagine if Beilein HAD put him out there and Trey picked up a dumb third foul...then you've got him sitting for the first 6-8 minutes of the second half, which would be wayyy worse. By sitting him in the first half with two fouls, it allowed him to be more aggressive -- both offensively and defensively -- in the second half. I think it was the right call.
Michigan had a 1:1 assist to turnover ratio against Louisville. Is that on Beilein or the backcourt?
Chantel (12:35 PM)
No credit for the Louisville D?
what are chances Michigan lands hand &/or peppers? It seemed both came away from their visits with UM at or near the top of their lists
Chantel (12:36 PM)
I think the key will be getting them back on campus again for a football Saturday in the fall. The Wolverines have put themselves in a good place with both, but they need to get them back in the fall if they want to have a chance to seal the deal.
Derrin (Plano, TX)
Does Devin Gardner have a breakout year in 2013 and challenge Braxton Miller for all conference honors?
Chantel (12:38 PM)
That'll be an interesting storyline to watch. A lot of that will fall on the wide receivers making the catches they need to catch and Gardner has some young receivers as targets.
What's the basketball starting lineup next season? Spike, Nik, Zak, McGary, Morgan?
Chantel (12:40 PM)
My way to early guess? Spike/Walton, Nik Stauskas, Caris LeVert, Zak Irvin, Mitch McGary (if he stays).
Aaron (Leesburg, VA)
What do you think about the claim of some critics that the moment was too big for Coach Beilein?
Chantel (12:43 PM)
He seemed pretty composed to me. I get that people are upset because Michigan got so far and then didn't get the title. But really, Michigan didn't lose that game, Louisville won it -- there's a difference.
What are you hearing about 2015 LB from Grand Rapids, Carter Masek? Hear he is a big, strong kid. Thanks
Chantel (12:45 PM)
He has an offer from Western Michigan, but he has interest in Michigan. It's still pretty early for him.
I know practices are closed so you havent seen him but what are you hearing about Countess??
Chantel (12:50 PM)
"Every player on Michigan is playing hard, fast, solid football. There's a lot of progress to be made in order to play up to expectation of the position." .... Seriously. That's what we hear from every player about anyone we ask about.
Zach (Ann arbor)
Any potential for Coach Beilein to add another late 2013 commitment dependent on departures ala spike or caris last year?
Chantel (12:51 PM)
Yeah, especially depending on numbers that might be a route they go if Beilein finds a guy that's talented and fits his system.
Neil K (Ann Arbor)
Hey Chantel,Do you think it is likely that Trey Burke will declare for the NBA draft?
Chantel (12:53 PM)
Yes. Very much so. With the exception of a national title, what hasn't Trey Burke done for Michigan?
John (West Lafayette)
Chantel, I know this has probably been beat to death, but do you think Lewan's decision to stay and the fact that "those who stay will be champions" will persuade Burke THJ GRIII and McGary to stay?
Chantel (12:55 PM)
We kind of asked him about that on Tuesday. As expected, he said that it's a case by case decision. It's a huge decision. Leaving isnt right for everyone. Staying isn't right for everyone.
Do you think Michigan's front 4 will be improved next year? I feel like they are alot more experienced.
Chantel (12:57 PM)
They definitely are more experienced and it sounds like they're playing better and faster. With Jake Ryan's injury now it's even more important that they get better four-man pressure on opposing QBs next season.
Off of what you know and have heard, who is the one player you expect to have a break out season?
Chantel (12:58 PM)
Football: Jarrod Wilson or Frank Clark. Basketball: Caris LeVert.
Do you think Derrick Green will eventually win the starting role this season?
Chantel (12:59 PM)
I think that's definitely a big possibility. Coming back from injuries is so difficult and who knows, maybe Toussaint's recovery will be like Lattimore's or maybe it won't, who knows? But I think Green is coming in with the mindset that he's competing for the starting job. I definitely wouldn't want to be the LB charged with the job of stopping him.
Chantel (1:00 PM)
Alright guys, thanks so much for stopping by today. Great talking with you all! Thanks for the questions. Have a great weekend.