Michigan Wolverines: Da'Shawn Hand

Big Ten class rankings analysis 

January, 22, 2014
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There have been commitments and decommitments across the board in the Big Ten, which means there has been movement among the class rankings.

As signing day approaches, teams will be looking to fill the final spots in their class. Here is a look at trends and a few items to watch within the conference:

Trending up: No Big Ten teams moved up in the class rankings for this week, but that doesn’t mean schools aren’t improving.

Penn State has been on a tear recently with James Franklin and his staff on board. Despite losing ESPN 300 defensive tackle Thomas Holley (Brooklyn, N.Y./Lincoln) to Florida and defensive back Troy Vincent Jr. (Baltimore/Gilman) to NC State, the Nittany Lions have added some big pieces as well.

The most recent was three-star athlete Trace McSorley (Ashburn, Va./Briar Woods), who flipped his commitment from Vanderbilt to Penn State. McSorley was originally recruited as a defensive back by Franklin at Vanderbilt, but then the offer was switched to quarterback while he was committed to the Commodores.

McSorley will add some depth and competition at the quarterback spot for Penn State, as Christian Hackenberg and early enrollee Michael O’Connor are the only other quarterbacks on the roster.

Indiana has also been on a nice run, picking up five commitments in the past week, from linebacker Tegray Scales (Cincinnati/Colerain), running back Tommy Mister (Chicago/St. Rita), athlete Waynedriko Smith (Orlando, Fla./Orangewood Christian) and defensive backs Zeke Walker (Cayce, S.C./Brookland-Cayce) and Tony Fields (Tallahassee, Fla./Godby).

Trending down: Michigan hasn’t lost any commitments in the 2014 class, but the Wolverines lost ESPN Junior 300 running back Damien Harris (Berea, Ky./Madison Southern) over the weekend.

Harris is the No. 1-ranked running back and No. 17 overall in the 2015 class. Losing Harris and fellow ESPN Junior 300 member George Campbell (Tarpon Springs, Fla./East Lake) is a big blow to the 2015 class.

Add in the fact that Michigan’s main remaining target for the 2014 class, Malik McDowell (Southfield, Mich./Southfield) could end up not picking Michigan and could end up at rival Michigan State or Ohio State, that’s more bad news for Michigan.

The Wolverines haven’t landed a commitment since August and steadily have been moving down the class rankings. If the coaches miss on McDowell, that would mean they missed on three major targets: McDowell, five-star defensive end Da’Shawn Hand (Woodbridge, Va./Woodbridge) to Alabama and in-state defensive end Jhonathon Williams (Berrien Springs, Mich./Berrien Springs) to Notre Dame.


LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- One thing is for sure for all the 2014 Under Armour All-Americans: This isn’t high school anymore. Day 1 is about gauging the competition. Some guys dive right in and some test the waters with their big toe, but by the end of the first day of practice, all those in attendance have a pretty good idea of where they stand and what they need to do to compete and get better.

Given that it is Day 1, the playbook is introduced (Team Nitro is going no huddle with wrist bands and limited plays), and there can be sloppy moments of indecision and uncertainty. With each rep, most, if not all, prospects began to get a better feel for what is expected. Most importantly, the center-quarterback exchanges were very good for the most part, which is generally the biggest worry. Upon completion of the first practice, here are some observations and things to look for over the week:

Top Performers


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Michigan makes offers to QB Sills, others 

December, 6, 2013
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Now that the season has finished and a contact period is open, the Michigan coaching staff has been on the road scouting prospects. Plenty of 2015 targets have had Michigan coaches in their school, and a few recently received offers from the Wolverines.


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Big Ten recruiting storylines: Nov. 21 

November, 21, 2013
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The Big Ten has seen plenty of action recently with commits, decommitments and offers being sent out. Here is a look at the latest story lines within the conference.

MOVING ON FROM HAND

Michigan missed out on five-star defensive end Da'Shawn Hand (Woodbridge, Va./Woodbridge) on Thursday. Hand told the coaches Wednesday night, which gave them time to consider an offer to fill his spot.

The staff then promptly offered in-state prospect Jhonny Williams (Berrien Springs, Mich./Berrien Springs), who is currently committed to Missouri. Williams has now said he will visit Notre Dame, who also recently offered, and will most likely take a trip to Ann Arbor as well.

This could be interesting, as Williams only lives 30 minutes from South Bend and his father is a Michigan fan.

The Wolverines also offered three-star Cal running back commit Vic Enwere (Sugar Land, Texas/Fort Bend Austin), who has said he will likely take a visit as well.

[+] EnlargeTyler Wiegers
Tom Hauck for ESPNFour-star QB Tyler Wiegers decommitted to Rutgers and might take a trip to Iowa this weekend.
HAWKEYES UP

Quarterback Tyler Wiegers (Beverly Hills, Mich./Country Day) decommitted from Rutgers this week, something that’s starting to be a trend with its class.

The four-star quarterback is now considering Iowa, and could take a visit to see the Hawkeyes this weekend. If Wiegers does make the trip, a decision could come shortly after.

If he picks Iowa, Wiegers would be the second four-star commit for the Hawkeyes.

TRANQUILL FLIPS FOR IRISH

Linebacker Drue Tranquill (Ft. Wayne, Ind./Carroll) had been mulling a Notre Dame offer for quite some time, despite being committed to Purdue.

In a text message sent on Monday night, Tranquill made the decision to flip his commitment to Notre Dame.

“I’ve decided to play my next four years at the University of Notre Dame,” the text message said. “I have so much respect for Coach (Darrell) Hazell. I’ve never met someone with such high character. However, I’m ecstatic to go play for Coach (Brian) Kelly at the University of Notre Dame.”

RECRUITING OUT FRONT FOR WESTPHAL

Now that his season is over, ESPN 300 defensive back Parrker Westphal (Bolingbrook, Ill./Bolingbrook) is once again focused on his recruitment.

After much deliberation, the No. 96-ranked prospect is down to Michigan State, Northwestern and Vanderbilt.

He will be taking an unofficial visit to Northwestern on Saturday for its game against Michigan State and will then return again for an official visit in the first week of December.

That’s a huge opportunity for the Wildcats to seal the deal on one of the top remaining targets in this class.

SYKES SET TO RELEASE TOP LIST

Four-star linebacker Nile Sykes (Lombard, Ill./Montini Catholic) has been receiving major interest as of late. His most recent offer comes from Notre Dame, which has sparked interest.

Sykes has been focusing on his season, but tweeted this week that he will release a top-five list next week. He is a major target for Illinois and he also holds a Purdue offer.

With the loss of Tranquill, the Boilermakers could really use some help at linebacker.

MINNESOTA ROLLING

The Minnesota coaching staff has seen a spark in interest from prospects they have been in contact with in recent weeks. Winning typically cures all, and that’s the case with the Golden Gophers right now.

In-state target Frank Ragnow (Victoria, Minn./Chanhassen) says that Minnesota’s play on the field has definitely been something he’s taken into consideration.

“It’s huge, because I came into this fall, the one thing that Minnesota was lacking was winning,” Ragnow said. “I would’ve ruled them out if they weren’t winning. They always talked about winning and actually seeing it happen is huge.”

The Gophers are facing off against Wisconsin this weekend and will have running back target J'Vonte Herrod (Kennesaw, Ga./North Cobb) on campus for the game.

Herrod isn’t quite sure when he will make a decision just yet, but the Gophers are likely his current leader.


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Big Ten class rankings analysis 

November, 20, 2013
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Commitments and decommitments within the Big Ten mean there has been movement in the updated class rankings. Here is a look at some trends and what might happen in the future from Big Ten teams.


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Weekend recruiting wrap: Big Ten 

November, 18, 2013
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There were quite a few big games within the Big Ten this weekend, which means there were big recruiting implications as well. Here is a look at the happenings on the recruiting trail around the conference.


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Early Offer: Michigan quickly moves on 

November, 15, 2013
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The Early Offer is RecruitingNation's regular feature, giving you a daily dose of recruiting in the mornings. Today's offerings: After missing out on Da'Shawn Hand, Michigan didn’t waste time trying to fill its need at defensive end; can Texas become a factor for the nation’s No. 1 prospect?, and how many elite players are still up for grabs?

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U-M, UF regroup after Hand decision 

November, 14, 2013
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Some losses on the recruiting trail sting just as badly as a gut-wrenching defeat on the field.

Just ask the Michigan coaching staff after five-star defensive end Da'Shawn Hand (Woodbridge, Va./Woodbridge) selected Alabama over Michigan and Florida on Thursday.

Hand’s decision to head to the SEC won’t cause the Wolverines’ class to be labeled a failure; it is ranked as the nation’s seventh best. But with Michigan projected to be in the driver’s seat for almost all of Hand’s recruitment and with a significant need at the strongside defensive end spot, his decision to commit to the Tide is a crushing blow.


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UA Game jersey tour: Da’Shawn Hand

November, 14, 2013
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Five-star defensive end Da’Shawn Hand (Woodbridge, Va./Woodbridge High) was presented his honorary game jersey during the American Family Insurance Selection Tour for the 2014 Under Armour All-America High School Game on Wednesday.

Da'Shawn Hand
Courtesy of IntersportDa'Shawn Hand is the sixth-ranked prospect overall and the No. 2 defensive end in the class.
The event was part of the three-month tour.

Hand, who is one of three five-star prospects in Virginia in the 2014 class, is one of 90 players selected to compete in the seventh-annual game, a nationally-televised competition spotlighting the country’s top high-school seniors. The 2014 game is set for 4 p.m. ET on Jan. 2 at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla., and will be televised on ESPN.

“I just want to thank God and my teammates for being here,” Hand said. “My friends, my dad, the principal, the faculty back there, thanks for coming out and supporting. ... I mean, this is an honor for me. I really don’t know what else to say, but I just can’t wait to show out in this game. Being down in Florida with all these guys with talent, I’ve just got to prepare for college.”

Woodbridge head coach Karibi Dede says he is excited that his star player gets to play against the nation's best.

“It’s been a pleasure to coach you. We are very thankful to the people at Under Armour as well as American Family Insurance for providing this great opportunity for a young man like himself. I’m really excited. The Under Armour All-America Game is the premier game in the country. To see him have the opportunity to go down where guys like A.J. Green, Julio Jones, …Jadeveon Clowney ... to go down and have that type of game against those type of players is phenomenal.”

For Hand, the chance to go against the best and prove doubters wrong is something he is looking forward to.

"The thing that excites me the most about the Under Armour All-America Game is going against some of the top players in the country -- in pads in an actual game. You don't really get to do that every day. Julio [Jones] and Jadeveon [Clowney], I want to be like the next person. I just want to leave my mark. The doubters out there are what motivate me. There are people that say that I’m just getting by or that I’m getting great stats because certain players aren’t as good as you, or the conference up here isn’t as good. You are in Virginia. You’re not in Florida or Georgia, Alabama or Louisiana. Those things fuel my engine and motivate me. I want to prove them wrong.”

The 6-foot-4, 262-pound Hand is the sixth-ranked prospect overall and the No. 2 defensive end in the class. He is considering Michigan, Alabama and Florida.

Top recruit Hand set to announce decision 

November, 14, 2013
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Defensive end Da'Shawn Hand (Woodbridge, Va./Woodbridge), the No. 6-ranked prospect in the country, is announcing his decision at noon on Thursday. The ESPN 300 prospect will be deciding between Alabama, Florida and Michigan during a press conference at his school.

Hand has kept everything very close to the vest and done a great job of keeping the fans in suspense. His mentor and former coach, John Harris, has been there the entire way of his recruitment, though, so he has some knowledge about Hand's process. Harris offers up some insight into each program and why these three schools are on Hand’s final list.


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Early Offer: Handicapping Hand 

November, 14, 2013
11/14/13
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The Early Offer is RecruitingNation's regular feature, giving you a daily dose of recruiting in the mornings. Today's offerings: Thursday is decision day for Da'Shawn Hand, the nation’s No. 6 player and five-star defensive end from Woodbridge (Va.) High. With his announcement coming at noon ET today, we turned to Big Ten recruiting writer Tom VanHaaren and SEC recruiting writer Derek Tyson to answer why they think the Crimson Tide, Gators or Wolverines will win the recruiting battle for Hand.


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It's never too early to talk about signing day, especially with so many questions currently unanswered on the recruiting trail. Big unknowns remain for the Big Ten conference, so here are 10 questions leading up to signing day.

1. Last year, Ohio State finished with the No. 3 class in the nation. Can it happen again?


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Weekend recruiting wrap: Big Ten 

November, 11, 2013
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The Big Ten conference standings are taking shape and battles are heating up on the recruiting trail. Here is a look at the latest happenings in recruiting over the weekend.


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From commitments, to targets about to make a pledge, to pledges taking other visits, here’s a look at the recruiting happenings in the conference this week.

Hawkeyes on the prize

Iowa picked up a running back commit with some eye-popping numbers when Markel Smith (St. Louis/St. John Vianney) chose Iowa over Missouri and Ole Miss.


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B1G 2014 recruiting by the numbers 

November, 6, 2013
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The Big Ten only has two teams within the top 20 of ESPN’s class recruiting rankings for 2014. That number isn’t too surprising if you break down the numbers and look at where there have been holes on the recruiting trail.

Here is a look at a few numbers based on how the conference has recruited for this class.

WHERE THEY’RE FROM

Big Ten programs recruit across the country, so it’s no surprise to see commitments from all over. The Midwest is usually where the foundation is laid, but there are still some interesting numbers when you look at where commits in the 2014 class are from.


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