Hand Chooses Alabama; I Choose Laughter
Five-star defensive end Da'Shawn Hand was long seen as a heavy lean to end up at the University of Michigan; Hand's 247 crystal ball was nearly 90% in favor of Michigan, so I naturally had a New Blue post ready to go in anticipation of his commitment. The plan was to wait until he announced and subsequently publish the piece, but things didn't go as planned. A different article ensued:
Right there, sitting in the middle of a local restaurant, my palms begin to sweat profusely. My fingers -- which, ironically, aren't fat -- had accidentally published the aforementioned post. A relatively young father is sitting with two daughters some five feet from me, which means the words that would like to rise from my gut and into the air have to wait.
The last time I felt like this was when I decided to go on national television despite not having slept for 40 hours before a tough finance exam (I still came up with more information off the top of my head than the 11W author, but fat jokes won the day). Read the article in its entirety, point your fingers, laugh, and put the blame for Hand's decision wherever you see fit.
Alabama got one of the finest all-around football recruits I've covered or even read about. Da'Shawn is a very intelligent kid who could have come to Ann Arbor as a purely academic student, but he chose Alabama because he wants to be an engineer and receive the best coaching available in the game today. He's all class and deserves nothing but praise for his decision, which was the right decision for him. Don't be the guy to put shame on Michigan's fan base, and sports fans in general, by tearing him down for it.
Michigan Hunting for Ends
The coaching staff was clearly banking on Da'Shawn throughout the majority of his recruitment, allowing other defensive end prospects to slide by to focus more on the five-star athlete. That plan has effectively backfired, leaving Michigan with few great options.
One of those options is three-star defensive end Jhonathon Williams, who received an offer not long after Hand chose Alabama:
Guess this week can get better. Offered by Michigan today. #Blessed🙏— Jhonny WIlliams (@Jhonny_willl) November 14, 2013
The in-state prospect is long, standing at 6'6", and has great upside. He's not Da'Shawn Hand, but he could turn out to be a solid football player.
Another option, albeit with a completely different body structure, is four-star end Malik McDowell. McDowell is a strong-side end all the way, if not a three-tech defensive tackle, but landing him would still soften the blow taken from Hand's decision. It would also give Michigan more options at SDE and allow other players to move around if need be.
Click over to my Where To Now piece for much more on this.
Enwere Offered by Michigan
Two players received offers yesterday. Surprisingly, one of them was not a defensive end, but instead Texas running back Vic Enwere. Enwere has been in contact with Michigan's coaching staff for months now, and is currently committed to the California Golden Bears. His senior highlight tape – one of the major reasons why UM just came through with an offer – is superb:
Enwere can run with power and finesse, which is why Cal, MSU, Missouri and other quality programs have offered him.
Will the Wolverines be able to woo him away from the Bears? Time will tell. Enwere was legitimately interested in Michigan before he committed to Cal. It doesn't help that the staff only offered after many of its top prospects fell through, or that Derrick Green, DeVeon Smith and Damien Harris will all be on the roster with him for the majority of his time in college.
General Notes and Multimedia Items
High school teammates Mason Cole and George Campbell aren't wavering($) in their commitments to Michigan.
I already mentioned four-star DE Malik McDowell, who recently received his Army All-American Bowl jersey. Southfield head football coach Tim Conley thinks McDowell is just a bit big for the defensive back position:
"He's a great athlete," he began. "I think he can play any position on our team. Of course he's a little big for a DB but he can backpedal and he can catch. He's like one of those guys, for his height to be such a good athlete is really impressive. You're going to see a young man that runs sideline to sideline and he has a motor that doesn't stop. People are going to be impressed with his effort."
That's high praise coming from a man who has coached four-star defensive end Marshall Lawrence for years now.
Future star Daelin Hayes appears to be a future star. The class of 2016 athlete is already hearing from plenty of schools despite being injured:
Despite missing nearly all of the season because of an injury, Hayes is already hearing from the likes of Michigan, Michigan State, Notre Dame and Penn State.
"It's too bad we lost him in the first game this year," Porritt said. "It was his year to come out and show a lot of people. He's going to be fine. He's a hardworking gentleman. He's put in a lot of effort right now and I think he'll have a big-time junior year."
Hayes attends St. Mary's Prep, which is the same school Michigan inside linebacker James Ross attended.