Hand Releases New Top Group
Da'Shawn Hand has a new top three of Michigan, Alabama and Florida. The shocker? Virginia Tech is no longer in Hand's top group, and a Michigan professor might be the reason why:
Hand told me Virginia Tech is off his list because they don't offer sports marketing. "That was the hardest thing to do," cutting them— Tom VanHaaren (@TomVH) June 12, 2013
Relationships will be key for @thehand54, which is why Va Tech was always such a presence. Said they're out for academic reasons...— Sam Webb (@SamWebb77) June 12, 2013
Hand told me Michigan's sports marketing professor, "blew me, my coach and my dad away. My dad wanted to sign back up for school."— Tom VanHaaren (@TomVH) June 12, 2013
Da'Shawn Hand said he hasn't been to Alabama in around a year, hasn't gotten to Florida yet. Bodes well for Michigan early on.— Tom VanHaaren (@TomVH) June 12, 2013
The crystal ball for Hand is trending more and more toward Michigan, and it's not hard to see why. Alabama will challenge Michigan with their engineering program -- it isn't impossible to navigate nor is it impossible to get into -- but Michigan probably still leads. Hand's favorite trip was easily his visit to Michigan, and the Wolverines also boast his favorite staff.
In somewhat non-related Hand news:
Da'Shawn Hand told me today he had a dream when he was 8 years-old that he committed to a school for football and was a big time recruit.— Tom VanHaaren (@TomVH) June 12, 2013
Add "Can read your palms" to the growing list of Da'Shawn Hand's skills.
Linebacker Situation Never Settled
First off, Sam Webb claims that Michigan will move Allen Gant down to the SAM linebacker position, giving Michigan Mike McCray, Gant and Chase Winovich at the position once Jake Ryan graduates. Michigan is still going after outside prospect Darrion Owens and inside prospect Dwight Williams, and they recently offered versatile prospect Jimmie Swain (more on that in a second). Noah Furbush also looms large, although it's unclear if Michigan wants him as a MIKE, SAM or DE.
What does it all mean? I think Michigan will wait to see if they pick up Williams, Swain, Furbush or Owens and move Michael Ferns accordingly. I honestly don't think Allen Gant will be a serviceable linebacker, meaning that Michigan could still need to flip Ferns with Mike McCray if he doesn't turn out to be athletic enough. Picking up Owens or Furbush would give the staff more confidence in the depth outside and allow them to keep Ferns inside; getting Williams or Swain gives them the option of putting Ferns wherever they feel he's best suited.
Anyway, I like the new offer to Jimmie Swain (highlights). He's a heady linebacker with above average athleticism, although he doesn't have the same explosiveness as someone like Owens, who has a much higher ceiling. Northwestern is the presumed leader and Stanford wants him as well; he's never going to hurt anyone's APR.
General Notes and Multimedia Items
Four-star prospect Jamarco Jones is one of the few offensive lineman left on Michigan's board. He'll be making a decision in the near future,
but he won't be taking visits:
Won't be making any of my planned visits— Jamarco Jones (@jjones_73) June 13, 2013
Michigan has made up significant ground in recent weeks, but my gut still tells me that he's going to Ohio State. I'd only be shocked if Jones chose Michigan State.
[Ed note: Jones will now be taking those visits after all.]
West coast wide receiver Dre Brown made it to Ann Arbor this past week. He [sort of] liked what he saw:
Michigan Visit was great.. Ann Arbor is nice.— Dre Brown (@Dre_BrownXXXIII) June 12, 2013
Yes, Brown changed his Twitter picture to a photo of him donning a Michigan jersey, but that's about as positive as far as Michigan will get with him. The staff should have one of K.J. Williams or Artavis Scott locked up before Brown thinks about pulling the trigger.
Class of 2015 running back Damien Harris has long been thought of as a Michigan lean, and he recently reaffirmed those thoughts:
Do you have a leader? — Michigan! ask.fm/a/4bce1qhe— Damien Harris (@Damien_D1Harris) June 13, 2013
My shocked face. Michigan is also recruiting fellow 2015 four-star back Jacques Patrick, who got a tour of Michigan Stadium and all of its glory:
Five-star 2015 receiver George Campbell wants Wolverines to show Patrick some love:
This lead to a comical Tom VH tweet:
Michigan has 2015 targets that aren't committed telling Michigan fans to show other targets love. That's how well things are going.— Tom VanHaaren (@TomVH) June 13, 2013
Things are indeed going well.
In other news that won't shock, Rivals Mike is still a bit of an ass:
There are waaaaaay too many freaking blogs and recruiting "experts" out there, holy crap. No wonder kids are overwhelmed with calls.— Mike Farrell (@rivalsmike) June 11, 2013
Because Farrell has been doing this for so long, his calls aren't a disturbance for prospects, rather a blessing from the recruiting God— DG (@DGDestroys) June 11, 2013
Mike can't perform interviews indoors because most buildings just don't have doorways large enough for his head to fit through. I've pretty much never liked the guy.
Rest assured that Cass Tech prospects will continue to flock to Michigan:
Cass Tech head coach Thomas Wilcher rocking the #Michigan hat at the SMSB camp— Steve Lorenz (@TremendousUM) June 13, 2013
He knows not to send kids to East Lansing, of all places.
Michael Ferns is bulked up and definitely looks the part of an inside linebacker. He crushes running backs, with or without pads on:
That's Notre Dame commitment Elijah Hood on his head. No, Ferns didn't actually de-cleat him.
Finally, make sure to check out my piece on the depth of Michigan's recruiting classes under Brady Hoke. Michigan is returning to prominence, but Derrick Green and Jabrill Peppers aren't the only reasons why.