Mailbag Talks Big Ten Media Days, Recruiting and More

jim harbaugh michigan big ten media days

Mailbag Talks Big Ten Media Days, Recruiting and More

Football

Mailbag Talks Big Ten Media Days, Recruiting and More

It took a few days longer than I anticipated, but mailbag is back!

Let’s jump right in, with our post-Big Ten Media Days/same day as the BBQ at the Big House what-have-you…right now.

What’s happening, Brandon?

I don’t have an easy answer here for the offensive freshman, because, whereas I would have said Christian Turner (who was the sole freshman to crack our Top 50 rankings last week), based off Jim Harbaugh’s comments on Hassan Haskins, and knowing that Michigan saw him as a five-star talent coming in, he very well could be the guy there.

“I’m hearing great things about Hassan Haskins. Seen some of his numbers from testing – this summer has been really good. Christian Turner as well. Two guys that could get into the mix fast.”

I’m tempted to say Mustapha Muhammad, and I think he’ll play. But given the depth at tight end, and that a freshman could come in and be the third tailback, I’m going with a Haskins/Turner coin-flip-combo.

On the defensive side, it’s easy for me: linebacker Cam McGrone. I’ve been singing the dude’s praises (and, trust me, he will be a Don Brown-anointed, proverbial dude) ever since seeing him play live in Indianapolis, where he had 20-plus tackles and made the game saving play. 247Sports had him rated as a five-star, and he played like one the one time I got to see him.

Plus, he’s a hard-hitter, a la Devin Bush. Fans are gonna love this kid when they see what he can do. Steal of the class, for sure.

I will add an honorable mention, however: I could see defensive end Aidan Hutchinson come in and make a quick impact as well. Despite how loaded the DL is, he’s got that legacy pedigree, and had the best performance of any defensive lineman in the Army All-American game. I know that Greg Mattison is salivating over his potential, and I’m sure Michigan will get him worked in early and often.

With everything I said above, I’m going with one of those two true freshmen. And that’s not a knock on Wilson, Hewlett or Samuels as much as I just think that, whoever ends up on top between Turner and Haskins will be much more in line with what a typical Jim Harbaugh-coached back (like Toby Gerhart) looks like.

Jay, I did not feel baller. I felt tired, and didn’t have a need to talk to OSU/MSU guys.

So…there!

On Kurt Taylor — Harbaugh did mention him — very, very briefly — at Big Ten Media Days:

“Kurt Taylor – is he going to be in the mix?”

Not a huge vote of confidence.

I think it tells you all you need to know that a walk-on and former walk-on — Tru Wilson and Joe Hewlett, respectively — are currently ahead of him on the depth chart. O’Maury Samuels — who Harbaugh said was injured all spring — is as well.

I honestly expect him to be passed up by either Christian Turner or Hassan Haskins in fall camp. I’ve heard of instances of Taylor making some plays here and there, but, from what I’ve heard, from the people I’ve talked to, he’s got a lot of people ahead of him at this juncture.

As far as Kareem Walker is concerned — shrug-dot-emoji. There were rumors swirling that he was transferring in the spring, and a good source told me he wasn’t. Then there was the Harbaugh revelation that two would be gone, and our good friend Jordan Strack from WTOL reported that it was Walker and Kekoa Crawford (I had a source who confirmed the Crawford bit, but not the Walker part). Then, about three weeks ago, Walker said on his Instagram story that he’s still with the program — yet, he didn’t get any mention from Harbaugh on Monday.

So, the long and short of it is: I don’t know. I haven’t really checked on it, because I assume, with so much ambiguity, that it’s a situation that’s potentially still playing itself out.

Regardless, we’ll know something for sure in a matter of weeks. So, stay tuned.

See above.

I had a brief mention of it in my Leaders and Best notebook here:

Aside from that, given that fall camp hasn’t started yet, it’s difficult to really say, as the team has just been in conditioning.

It is worth mentioning that the two names we have heard repeatedly are Juwann Bushell-Beatty and Jon Runyan Jr. Harbaugh even mentioned both on Monday, and gave a general progress report:

“Offensive line is really showing some signs there of coming together, believing in each other. More experienced. More athletic. I see stronger, see them moving better. Lower and quicker and faster. Juwann Bushell-Beatty – to see him more dialed in, more focused. Working harder at it. Losing weight. Putting it on in better spots. Got real high hopes for him.

“Jon Runyan had a tremendous spring. Gonna need him to be that right tackle, and him to consistently do what he’s been doing. Stay healthy this camp, not have any setbacks and just go and be a solid, good right tackle.

“Cesar Ruiz – doing really good.

“Probably some competition at that right guard spot. Mike Onwenu and Steve Spanellis. But, overall, I think it has a chance to be better.

“Mason Cole graduated. I don’t know if we’re going to find as good a guy this year as him. Maybe Ben Bredeson though could be that kind of stalwart like Mason has been. Certainly has a chance. He’s been a starter since he was a freshman as well.

“But, I think they’re coming together. Long story short, I think it’s been a good summer for them. All you can ask is get your best players healthy and in shape in training camp, and you go from there.”

Feels that way. I was told some time ago to look out for Oklahoma State — his brother Justice is a running back there, and it’s the home state school he’s more likely to attend, if he were to attend either — despite Oklahoma getting all the love.

But, as far as I’ve heard, our report still stands. Tepid optimism is still how I’ve heard the staff is feeling.

I have heard that both are now 100%, yes.

Very excited to see how both play in 2018, given that Ben Mason is now atop the depth chart, and I could see Luiji Vilain having a Chase Winovich-in-2016 type year, where he comes off the bench and everyone not in the know goes, “who’s that guy?” Borderline five-star via 247Sports, and a guy that Michigan fans should be incredibly excited about.

Yes, actually!

Jaylen Kelly-Powell getting run with the ones at safety. It’s been he, Tyree Kinnel and Josh Metellus all rotating. Brad Hawkins is also at safety and a freak athlete.

Kelly-Powell is back up to 190-pounds – he was 190, then reported closer to 170, getting down to 172 after the bowl game. The good news as far as his development is concerned is that he’s now staying focused at safety now after moving around, which was first due to how versatile he was, then due to injuries on the defense. While he did do some moving around — still — this spring, the expectation is that he will stick at safety from here on in.

He’s reportedly — along with the other safeties — playing very well in coverage. More on that later.

Thanks! It was fun being back, even if it was just for one episode.

As far as that rotation is concerned, I have no idea. Assuming Shea Patterson wins the starting job, then I would assume that Brandon Peters would get as much play as possible behind him. I could see the two you just mentioned getting more time in those two particular games though, just to get them acclimated to live bullets flying.

Other than that, with Milton in particular, and this is just conjecture on my part, I would imagine they would want to hold onto him a bit to save him down the stretch. With his big arm and unlimited potential, should he be much further acclimated to the playbook, I could see Michigan getting him in against, say, Ohio State, as there would be little-to-no tape on him, and he could come in for a few packages to really change things up. That’s pure speculation on my part, though.

I think you nailed it, actually.

Contact/Follow @WolverinesWire@isaiahhole

Latest

More WolverinesWire
Home