- Tom VanHaaren, ESPN Staff Writer
Only three schools – Michigan, Florida and Alabama, in that order -- are getting the chance to host five-star DE Da'Shawn Hand (Woodbridge, Va./Woodbridge) before he makes his decision on November 14. Michigan, Florida and Alabama, in that order.
The Wolverines had Hand, No. 4 in the ESPN 300, on campus for what ended up being an incredible atmosphere against Notre Dame. Hand purposely doesn’t give away much into his recruitment, but came away impressed at what Michigan showed him on the visit.
“For the first visit, Michigan did a good job. It was a good visit,” he said. “They did a good job on my official, so we’ll just see how the rest of them go.”
He heads out to Florida on October 5 and Alabama on Nov. 9, but after the show Michigan put on during the game it might be an uphill battle.
From the pregame to the halftime show, Hand said that everything was crazy and that it was exciting being a part of the biggest crowd ever at an NCAA football game.
Since it was a night game, the Michigan marching band decided to turn out the lights and put on a laser light show complete with LED bracelets passed out to the fans.
The halftime event almost tricked Hand into thinking a famous musician was set to perform after being shown on the big screen.
“I thought Beyonce was going to come out. I thought this is crazy if she does,” he said. “I’m a dude and I listen to the hardest music ever, but had Beyonce come out I probably would have been singing some Beyonce myself. I would’ve been oh, oh oh’ing in that place.”
Had Beyonce actually performed in person it’s safe to say that would have been his favorite part of the visit. She didn’t, but he still had some memorable moments.
“The fans, they had a little chant going, which was crazy,” he said. “'We want Da’Shawn' is what they were chanting. That was really cool, that as my favorite part of the trip.”
That’s about as much excitement as you will get out of Hand when talking to reporters.
The visit didn’t end with the game though, as he also got a chance to spend some quality time with the coaches, some professors and academic advisors.
The academic side and coaching staff at each program is something he is looking into thoroughly. That’s one area that Michigan might have a leg up on the competition as he is already familiar and comfortable with the staff.
“They are all just down to earth people. When we talked to the coaches it wasn’t really recruiting, but obviously they were saying they want me and wanted to show me what they had,” he said. “I’ve been there before so it was like, we’re just hanging out and getting to know them better as people. They’re all good people.”
Hand said the same of Michigan’s players and the committed prospects that were visiting as well. He described their time together as fun, funny and that they helped make it a good trip.
Michigan needed to put its best foot forward on this visit and it looks like that is exactly what happened. For how little he gives away in public, Hand seemed to enjoy himself throughout the entire weekend.
“Like I said, it was a good visit. You know I’m not going to give out too much,” he said. “In all my schools that I have, Florida and Alabama, I know they’re all going to be good schools, too. So I can’t wait to see what they have to offer.”