Each week readers of The M Block can submit questions about the team, recruiting, or anything you are curious about and have the chance for your questions to be answered. Here are this week’s answers to selected questions that were sent. To submit a question for Coach Brown you can email questions to email@example.com or tweet questions @CoachBrown3 with the hashtag #TheMBag.
With the studs we got last year and 2 great backs in Weber and Harris next year. Do we really need a back in this class? - Dave Reese
Coach: Right now, running back seems to be a position with pretty solid depth and with a talent like Derrick Green arriving in the Fall, hopes are high. I think you need a lot of able running backs on the team when you are planning to use them like the coaches hope to. I know they like to have "the guy" handle the bulk of the carries, but if that guy goes down there needs to be a competent replacement. Right now the running back position seems to be in good shape but I think it would be good to take at least one each recruiting cycle. That being said there doesn't seem to be a very likely option right now. There are really only three prospects that currently have offers that I think are realistically considering Michigan. Michigan is arguably Kalen Ballage's best offer to date but he just doesn't seem to be that high on the Wolverines. Jonathan Hilliman is someone who consistently mentions Michigan as being a school of interest, but I'm not sure the coaches are really recruiting him that hard. Finally, Shai McKenzie is built a lot like Derrick Green but isn't rated nearly as high, although his offer list shows that he's pretty coveted. I still think there's a chance that Richard Wilson, high school teammate of Moe Ways, could get a late look if no one else pans out, and the coaches want to snag a running back in this class.
Quick question; any idea why the coaching staff have decided not to offer Illinois 4* LB Clifton Garrett? He is ranked very high nationally and has offers from just about all of the major programs. - Alan Nelson
Coach: Alan, I think this one is pretty simple. Garrett has been very open with me that he does NOT like Michigan. If I know that, I'm sure the coaches do too. About a month ago one of the Michigan coaches stopped by to see him, but that's about the extent of the interest. I do believe Garrett is a very solid player, but sometimes Michigan just isn't going to have a chance and I think that's the case with him.
Where does Michigan stand with Malik McDowell, Da'Shawn Hand and Jabrill Peppers? Also if Malik McDowell commits will that affect Da'Shawn Hand's decision on Michigan because of all the defensive end commits? - Brad in Easpointe
Coach: McDowell is an interesting prospect. I recently spoke with his trainer from HYPE, John Vickers, and he said that McDowell is wide open, with no favorites and that he plans to take all of his officials which won't be to any close-to-home schools. This means he won't be deciding for quite a while and he really could commit to a number of different schools. He even said that Malik is amused when he hears that Michigan is his leader because he has never said that or even hinted at it. Obviously he's an in-state kid and he's visited multiple times, but I really do think he's pretty open to whoever. With Da'Shawn Hand I believe Michigan is in a very close 2nd place behind Virginia Tech. Hand is getting a lot of home-cooking from his friends and family to stay home and play for the Hokies, and he himself has said that he absolutely loves Bud Foster. To answer your second question, I don't think McDowell and Hand will play the same position in college so neither of their recruitments/commitments should affect each other, plus you make room for talents like them. Lastly, Jabrill Peppers is all Blue. I was given some information a couple of weeks ago that virtually guaranteed he will commit to Michigan, which we now know will be on May 26th. Once he enters the fold, if he tries to recruit other players like the rest of Team 135 has, anything is possible. Great players want to play with other great players and achieve great things.
With Clint Trickett deciding to go to West Virginia and Brandon Mitchell, although considering Michigan as an option, stating that he wants to be a starter at his next school of choice, do you honestly think that Hoke and Co. will go to the JUCO ranks for another quarterback? And if so, who? Because it seems like it would be awfully late to get a player of quality (being that most quality players would have signed months ago). Thanks for taking my question, and Go Blue! - Matt Saffold
Coach: Honestly Matt, this is not my area of expertise. I am not very familiar with who is looking to come out of the JUCO ranks or who might be looking to transfer for grad school or whatever other situation might be an option to find a backup QB. I've heard Mitchell wants to start, but also played some wide receiver at Arkansas so he's intriguing, but I don't see that happening. I know Coach Borges has said that they will be keeping their options open for JUCO kids or transfers, but any scenario where a new player comes in this late is difficult due to familiarity issues, reps, and just the logistics of getting a kid to campus and enrolled, etc.
Who do you think the 2015 quarterback targets are shaping up to be? I'd imagine Jayru Campbell, Jake Johnson. Any others you could see as potential signal callers? - Will Wallace
Coach: I think Campbell and Johnson are naturally on the list to watch just because they are both in-state kids, especially with Campbell being from Cass Tech. I think the coaches have identified Kevin Dillman from La Mirada High School in California as maybe their top target at QB for 2015. He has a very impressive offer list already and the coaches have been in pretty regular contact with him. Other names to watch are Brother Rice (MI) QB Alex Malzone, South Fayette Township (PA) QB Brett Brumbaugh, St. Bonaventure (CA) QB Ricky Towns, Foothill (CA) QB Kyle Kearns, and Comm Dist 99 - North (IL) QB David Edwards. To my knowledge all of those prospects have been contacted to some extent by the coaches.