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 (12:00 PM)
Hey everyone and welcome to the chat. We'll get going shortly here but make sure you get your questions in and I'll try to get to as many as I can in the next hour!
Nick (Sterling Heights, MI)
Out of the current 2014 recruits committed, which one will have the biggest impact their first year on campus?
Chantel (12:04 PM)
That's an interesting question. As far as someone who could contribute right away on the field? I would say possibly Michael Ferns. Right now he's physically ahead of the game and he plans to enroll early so he'll have a spring season to compete for a spot. However, he'll be coming in at a position with a ton of depth, so that might be what holds him back. Ian Bunting could be another guy (if he does add weight because he's definitely NOT physically strong enough to play TE at Michigan yet), just because there's a lack of depth there.
Jolston (Ann Arbor MI)
Chantel...prediction time please. The leading rusher for UM this year will be who and with how much yardage? thanks!
Chantel (12:06 PM)
I'll say Derrick Green. I don't want to say how many exactly, but I think he'll have quite a bit more than any other RB in the conversation.
Ian (South Bend, IN)
Devin Gardner... Future top ten NFL draft pick or too soon to tell? He has everything a pro QB needs...work ethic, fundamentals, body size...
Chantel (12:08 PM)
It's still pretty early to say anything definitive. I would say he has the potential but it'll come down to how well he works into Al Borges offense and whether his receivers (who will be relatively young and inexperienced) will make him look good, too.
Matt (Ann Arbor)
I have seen Michigan ranked as high as 9th in some power rankings. I have also seen one with Michigan unranked. We may have some question marks but when looking team by team I can not find more than 8-12 teams that look better than Michigan. I would have them at #10 personally but where do you see us in the first polls?
Chantel (12:10 PM)
Michigan's lines are untested. Do they have a good QB? Yes. Do they have a good incoming RB? Yes. Should their linebackers be solid? Sure. None of that matters if the defensive line doesn't get four-man pressure and the offensive line doesn't give Gardner time in the pocket.
What are the positions that Michigan is looking at to fill with their remaining 2014 scholarships? Is running back a need, and the Hillman form NJ their main target?
Chantel (12:14 PM)
RB: 1-2 guys, one more WR, OL: 1-2 more, DL: 2-3 more, LB: 1-2 more, DB: 2-4 more.
scooter (palm beach)
Bigger year next year, Robinson III or Mitch McGary?
Chantel (12:14 PM)
McGary. He'll establish the inside the game. No one else on michigan's roster can do that. He has fewer big steps to make in his game than Robinson does.
Chantel, you really think Ferns or Bunting have a better shot at starting their freshmen year than Drake Harris? That is definitely a position where we still need an elite WR.
Chantel (12:15 PM)
Harris needs to put on some weight badly. He could in the next year, but his body doesn't seem ready to me.
when will shane morris be mentioned as a possible QB for the team. Is he enrolled in school yet
Chantel (12:17 PM)
His high school didn't allow him to early enroll which I think would've been a huge help (even if Bellomy hadn't gotten hurt). He'll compete behind Gardner next year, but I don't see much coming of that. Wilton Speight will enroll early and he and Morris will go head to head in next year's spring season -- that'll be very interesting to watch.
Joseph (New York City)
Hi Chantel. I don't understand how Michigan has become so thin at the receiver position. What happened there, and do I need to be worried?
Chantel (12:19 PM)
I wouldn't say you need to be worried. U-M has some young talent there. Amara Darboh and Jehu Chesson could be guys who are targeted this season. Then you have Dileo and Gallon (though short, they've proven themselves). Jeremy Jackson is a guy who hasn't done a lot but has potential. Not sure we'll see a ton from the true freshman WRs.
Mike (New York, NY)
I know he is just off of surgery buy any update on Jake Ryan's Re-hab and is mid October a realistic time frame?
Chantel (12:21 PM)
Crazier things have happened. Michigan definitely won't bring him back too early -- for anyone in any sport, you'd hate to see them come back to play in four games only to hurt themselves again. And knee injuries in sports like football are prone to be hurt again. October is optimistic. Not sure if it's realistic as I'm not a doctor.
Nick (Los Angeles)
Who's expected to see the majority of the carries early on in the fall?
Chantel (12:21 PM)
Nate (Grand Haven)
Do you foresee any more attrition from the football team?
Chantel (12:22 PM)
Perhaps. Guys make decisions over the summer when they go home and see their families/friends. I haven't heard anything about significant but U-M could lose a guy here or there before the season starts, wouldn't surprise me.
Charles Woodson's Hamstring (Friemont, Oh-Lie-O)
Assuming Lawrence Marshall were to commit to Michigan, where does that leave UM with DLine commits; still only taking 4?
Chantel (12:23 PM)
If the other two were Da'Shawn Hand and Malik McDowell, yes they'd take four I think.
James (Danville, IL)
Who gets the start at the other corner spot, Taylor or Avery (assuming Countess is at 100% in August)?
Chantel (12:26 PM)
Toss up at this point. I'll give the edge to Taylor though.
Austin (Ann Arbor)
Hey Chantel, who do you see as Michigan's next WR target being that we already have Harris and Ways already? I hear that we were only taking 3 this class and would really like to see Scott or Holmes take the last spot.
Chantel (12:27 PM)
Artavis Scott, Corey Holmes and KJ Williams seem to be the three names that pop up the most for that last spot. Any of the three would be a good fit in the offense and a solid addition for the Wolverines.
Will Michigan ever go back to Nike? Seeing the Adidas logo on the jersey's still bothers me.
Chantel (12:27 PM)
I think that's a possibility, especially with the recent issues UM had with adidas.
With the success Nik Stauskas had his freshman year at Michigan, was wondering is there any other prospects here in Canada the Wolverines are keeping an eye on?
Chantel (12:29 PM)
They'll look everywhere for talent. Mind you, yes Nik Stauskas hails from Canada but he went to prep school at St. Mark's in Massachusetts and that's where Beilein initially saw him.
Chantel (12:31 PM)
But if you're closely following top Canadian prospects, in the ESPN 60 (2014 kids) there's one Canadian -- SG Marial Shayok.
Dan (Austin, TX)
How different is the play-calling with Gardner full time? Is it basically what we saw at the end of last season or can we expect something new?
Chantel (12:32 PM)
I would expect it'll be along the lines of what we saw at the end of last year with a few wrinkles here and there. It's not like Gardner is going to come out and be someone no one thought he was.
Grad Balli (The sidecar of Taylor Swift's motorcycle)
Brady Hoke: who plays him in a made-for-TV movie? James Gandolfini, Paul Giamati, or Chris Christie? P.S. I'm a big fan. #GoDexter
Chantel (12:33 PM)
I'd cast Tom Hanks. The man can do no wrong.
Jake (Twin Cities)
Although Jabrill Peppers has decided he wants to make his decision early this summer but wont announce until after his season is over. Does this limit the domino effect often seen when a recruit as highly touted as he is commits to a program? i.e. other highly touted recruits jumping aboard.
Chantel (12:34 PM)
It could if Peppers were to choose Michigan. But the Wolverines 2014 class is nearly halfway full at this point so it's not like one commitment would cause ultimate chaos. And realistically, I think those sorts of things sometimes get around to the recruits themselves. They might not announce it but guys talk.
How much does it mean to the Michigan faithful to have a great basketball program again? Haven't been successful since the Fab Five days. Also how bad as it been for Michigan people to have the Pistons struggling this bad the last several years?
Chantel (12:36 PM)
I think being a basketball school as well as a football school is never a con in a recruit's eyes. Obviously, it probably won't be the make or break it moment (and if it is, you probably don't want that kid). But it never hurts. As far as the Pistons, yes, it's too bad but I don't think it has an affect on UM sports.
As if right now would Ohio State or Michigan be favored in the game at Ann Arbor next season?
Chantel (12:37 PM)
Probably OSU. Bringing back more experience, plus Braxton Miller could have a huge, huge season.
Kevin (Grand Rapids, Michigan)
Of the new starters on the O-Line next year, who will have the greatest impact?
Chantel (12:40 PM)
Jack Miller has the highest ceiling of what he could contribute as center, I think. But I'm feeling good about Kyle Kalis and what he'll bring to the line.
Kyle (Grand Blanc)
Who/When do you think we'll see another commitment?
Chantel (12:40 PM)
There are some important visits happening the rest of this month, definitely things to keep your eyes on.
Eric (Oxford, Ohio)
What are your thoughts on the Defensive End? Keith Heitzman is a very underrated player and personally I hope to see big things from him in the next year or so. What are your thoughts on Keith Heitzman?
Chantel (12:45 PM)
We saw a bit from him in the spring game and seemed like a solid player. I don't think he'll be a superstar (hard to do that on the d-line), but he could be a solid rotation guy.
Kevin (Grand Rapids)
...on a serious note....does Spike have a shot at a date with Kate Upton? :)
Chantel (12:46 PM)
Anything is possible. Not everything is probable. Can't knock the kid for trying.
Michigan @ MSU-Who wins?
Chantel (12:46 PM)
Michigan, but it'll be close.
Everyone is talking about Derrick Green and seemingly forgetting about Deveon Smith. What are your thoughts on him coming into the summer?
Chantel (12:48 PM)
I agree, all of the talk has been focused on Derrick and people are forgetting about Deveon. He's about the same size as Derrick (maybe an inch shorter), but he has that same attitude. I've been a bit more impressed with the film I've seen on Green, but some guys play better as an underdog and flying under the radar could be a really good thing for Smith.
Why didn't michigan land treadwell
Chantel (12:51 PM)
Quick! Someone ask if Poggi is taking an official elsewhere! But all kidding aside, it's lovely to have a Treadwell question again. Honestly, I don't really know why Michigan didn't land Treadwell. However, it's not always so much Michigan not landing Treadwell as it is Treadwell landing elsewhere. I don't know if UM did anything wrong or made a misstep. I think Treadwell just felt more comfortable elsewhere.
Jeff (Fort Wayne)
Has there been any discussions on Michigan increasing stadium capacity even more? Does it hurt the Big 10 that only 3 of their stadiums have large stadium capacities? Only asking that question after news of Texas A&M having stadium expansions in the coming next 2 years.
Chantel (12:52 PM)
I don't think that will ever be out of the question. The stadium is built with a really strong foundation so they wouldn't have to change too much structurally in order to add on. I think there are other changes going on around campus right now that they want to get done first, but if at some point it seems like Michigan needs more seating, or they can make more profit from it, I'd imagine that'd happen.
2014 season. What are your expectations? Another serious step forward? Will we have any chance of beating OSU at home?
Chantel (12:54 PM)
A lot of next season will rely on the O-line and D-line. If they are solid, the Wolverines will have a shot at the Big Ten title game, I think. However, they're both young or inexperienced (or both...). But I think parts of the team will take steps forward. Devin Gardner should continue to make strides after having a full off season as the starter. The secondary should be making moves, because I'd imagine Greg Mattison wouldn't allow anything else. I think we'll see growth in the tight end position.
Is michigan still tragerting an QB for depth this fall
Chantel (12:55 PM)
Well a name that has literally popped up in the last few minutes would be former Arkansas QB Brandon Mitchell. He's interested in the Wolverines. Michigan had said they'd look at transfers -- he could be a name to watch.
Tony (Richmond, CA)
Do you think Da'Shawn Hand and Jabril Peppers will sign with the Wolverines?
Chantel (12:56 PM)
The fact that this idea isn't completely ridiculous just shows you how well the Wolverines are doing on the recruiting trail. Again, I wouldn't say it's probable.... "so you're telling me there's a chance?"
With the schedule in our favor somewhat do u feel this could be a Big Ten title type season?
Chantel (12:57 PM)
It is a favorable year with the OSU game happening at Michigan. Could be a solid season for it if the lines can pull it together.
How are things progressing with Fitz Toussaint? While he might not be a star, he can sure help out a struggling running game when healthy.
Chantel (12:59 PM)
We don't get updates on medical stuff with Michigan. That's going to have to be a wait and see thing. He was doing some non-contact stuff in the spring -- whether than means bopping around or watching film or what, I don't know.
Chantel (12:59 PM)
Well thanks for stopping by everyone! If I didn't get to your question shoot me an email and I'll make sure to respond (jenningsESPN@gmail.com). Enjoy your Thursday!