Da'Shawn Hand Sets Decision Date
Five-star nightmare defensive end Da'Shawn Hand would like to end his recruitment already:
I will be committing on Nov 14 at my school. Can't wait to get this over with!— Da'shawn Hand (@TheHand54) August 4, 2013
This is great news for Michigan. First, Hand is making it obvious that he already knows where he wants to go to school; kids who don't have a heavy favorite don't set decision dates in this manner. Second, Hand's only set official visit is to Michigan for the second Under the Lights contest. Last, but most definitely not least is the fact that Hand's favorite coaching staff works at Michigan.
The only thing capable of keeping Hand from Ann Arbor is Michigan's school of engineering, which is extremely difficult to gain entrance into and even harder to navigate. Hand loves, loves, loves Michigan's sport management program, but engineering was his first love in school. Nick Saban and Will Muschamp would be wise to play the engineering card.
My prediction? The same as Rivals Mike, for once: that young man's all blue.
Michigan State Makes Recruiting Move
Michigan State has been struggling to keep up with Michigan in recruiting ever since Brady Hoke came to Ann Arbor, and the Spartans made a move that should help them close the gap, albeit ever so slightly:
And now MSU releases official confirmation of Curtis Blackwell as director of college advancement and performance camp/director. Mouthful.— Joe Rexrode (@joerexrode) August 2, 2013
This is a smart move for Michigan State. The Spartans get a savvy scout and recruiter who was an integral part of the Sound Mind, Sound Body camps in the Midwest. It doesn't change the fact that MSU is recruiting against better schools, but it will definitely help them close on players that they've struggled to land in recent years.
Michigan Offers Jared Wangler
Linebacker remains the most confusing position in the 2014 recruiting cycle, and the latest offer to SAM prospect Jared Wangler proves it. Michigan had its shot at Drue Tranquill and Jimmie Swain, ultimately letting both go to other schools without much of a fight. Then the staff extends an offer to three-star Jared Wangler, whose offer sheet and film are just as head-scratching;
That young man holds offers from Cincinnati, LSU(!), Michigan, Michigan State and Penn State. I don't see an overwhelming about of talent on film, but I also haven't seen Wangler in person or in a camp environment. His offer sheet speaks for itself.
I don't expect Wangler's commitment to Penn State to hold. He's from Michigan's back yard, attending the same high school that Shane Morris went to. He's also a Michigan legacy whose brother is currently walking on to Michigan's team, making it likely that he flips to the Wolverines. Michigan will take four linebackers in this class and run.
Options Falling Off Board
Michigan was after four-star Missouri linebacker Jimmie Swain for a while. He recently decided to take his talents elsewhere:
Swain was essentially already off of Michigan's board, but this makes it a bit more official.
The Wolverines also failed to make the cut for five-star running back Joe Mixon, who has a new top ten of California, Florida, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Oregon, Oregon State, Tennessee, Texas A&M, Washington and Wisconsin. He most certainly won't end up in the Big Ten, so go ahead and make that a top eight.
The staff is mostly done at running back, although Kalen Ballage remains a legitimate option. Ballage would only be able to slip into the class if other options fell through, but it's still enough to keep the door open at running back in the class of 2014.
General Notes and Multimedia Items
Four-star athlete and Michigan target Brian Cole apparently ran a 4.38 forty, squatted 405 pounds and bench pressed 290 pounds. Those are some extremely impressive numbers, but take it all with a grain of salt.
Michigan linebacker commitment Michael Ferns has a younger brother named Brendan, and it should be noted that the rising sophomore already stands at 6'3", 205 pounds ($). He would prefer to play linebacker at the next level, but it's extremely early for the young man in terms of college recruiting. He's a name to keep an eye on a long way down the road.
Speaking of Michael Ferns, he forgot to open this gem weeks ago:
I just... I don't know what to say about that. Just.. no. No.
Brady Hoke and the Wolverines are off to a blazing start in the class of 2015, leading to quotes like this in the Detroit News (NOT THE FREE PRESS):
Jamie Newberg: I hate to put analogies and stuff like that on kids because it puts those great expectations on them - not that we don't do it already. I just think at the end of the day those two kids are great building blocks for that next group. (Michigan) has already got (Philadelphia St. Joseph's offensive lineman) Jon Runyan Jr. and (Massillon, Ohio, Washington kicker) Andrew David. So four commits out of the gate here with 18 months to go with this class, it's shaping up to be (good). But you know what? This is Michigan and this is how they should always recruit. I look at them like you look at Ohio State, USC, and some of these national programs (like) Texas. They should always recruit players of this caliber across the country and be top-10 programs when it comes to recruiting. It looks like they're off to a great start for next season.
Three years ago a scout or recruiting analyst wouldn't dare mention Michigan among OSU, USC and Texas. Thank you, Brady Hoke. Thank you.
Finally, Notre Dame has come through with an offer for rising OLB/SS Drue Tranquill, who remains committed to Purdue for the time being. I really like Tranquill's game and think the Irish will ultimately get a vastly underrated commitment. Drue is one of the smartest defenders in this class, making up for a lack of elite burst with grit and natural football instincts.