It has been a while since we've done this, but with the season quickly approaching, we thought we'd bring back the weekly roundtable. This week WolverineNation editor Bob McClellan weighs in with Tom Van Haaren and Chantel Jennings on a couple of topics surrounding Michigan athletics.
1. After watching a few players commit on July 4 and knowing several of Michigan's commits pledged on Saturdays in the basketball season, we got to thinking about this. If you were advising an ESPN 300 prospect, when would you tell him would be the best time to commit and why?
Bob McClellan: Aren't kids today all about maximum exposure? I can promise you you're not going to get on the front page of a website or your hometown newspaper when you commit on July 4 or anytime on a Saturday, let alone in the football or basketball season. I'm always surprised when kids don't plan these things out a little better. They're creatures of the social media, many with five-digit Twitter followers. How do you commit on July 4? Were YOU on your computer on July 4? Make your choice when the spotlight is virtually guaranteed to be yours and yours alone. Now that said, I believe kids should be properly prepared to make a decision. If they can withstand the pressure of recruiting, they should take all of their official visits and play through all of the big summer events leading up to their senior year. Then, right before college fall camps start, pick a Tuesday or Wednesday, call a news conference for 7 a.m. local time, and go for it. Nothing is happening in the sports world at 7 a.m. on a Tuesday. The stage is all yours.
Chantel Jennings: If you're looking to go through the process thoroughly, then I see nothing wrong with waiting until you've taken at least a few official visits and have worked your way into your senior season. I know a lot of players don't want the stress of choosing a college to weigh on their minds during their last season of high school football, but let's be serious, if it's weighing on your mind during high school football, that means you have at least a few more years of football ahead of you. Do I think you should sit down the week before the state championship game and decide? Probably not, but if that feels right for you, then who I am to say no (note: This 5-foot-8 blonde has never played in a state championship football game -- shocking, I know). But I would say, whenever you're comfortable and have looked at your options and feel strongly enough about a school, go for it.
Tom Van Haaren: The best time for prospects to commit is when I am comfortably at home in front of my computer. I have a knack for being out of the house when something happens, so that would be ideal for me. However, if we're talking ideal for the recruit then I would recommend committing around 10 a.m. on a Monday. That might sound odd, but the fans are at work, bored and dreading the workday. They won't admit it, but they're on the internet instead of working, so the prospect would have everyone's full attention. If they do it in the morning no one will wear out their F5 button refreshing the page either. They would have an alert and aware audience that is ready to digest their decision, whether it's cheer because the decision was for their team or talk about how their team didn't want the recruit anyway. Either way, I believe that's a good day to get things done.
2. Tennis player Roger Federer is just a few weeks away from turning 31 and shocked the world last week when he grabbed his seventh Wimbledon title and the No. 1 ranking in the world. (He's the oldest man to win a major since Andre Agassi did so in 2003.) Which current player on the Michigan football roster do you think will still be playing (and playing well) at 30?
TV: It's difficult for anyone to make it that far in the NFL, and to do so you have to be a special player. I'm going with defensive back Blake Countess. Playing as a freshman, and playing well at his position is very difficult. If he progresses on the same curve he could be headed for a long football career. He plays a position that is a premium in the NFL, but again it is difficult to sustain a long career at that level.
BM: No-brainer it's Taylor Lewan. Linemen have longer careers than most any other position, and he should be a good one for a long time. Skill guys who make it to 30 are few and far between, and I don’t see that kind of an NFL talent on this Michigan team. Some guys might stick on pro rosters, but none has a better chance to be effective at 30 and beyond like Lewan does.
CJ: I'm sure if Taylor Lewan still has the body to play in the NFL at 30, he'll still be doing it. But that says more about his toughness and attitude than anything else, because it's so difficult for a lineman to have a lengthy pro career.