Five-star DE Da'Shawn Hand announces his college decision between Michigan, Alabama, and Florida on Thursday at noon—today, Rivals revealed that the announcement will be broadcast on the NBC Sports Network and streamed on Rivals.
It's not worth delving too deeply into speculation when we'll know Hand's decision so soon; it appears that his decision will come down to Michigan or Alabama—while the Wolverines haven't exactly been tearing things up, his visit to Florida came just in time to see Will Muschamp's seat go from "hot" to "scalding". Remember Notre Dame? Hopefully he does, too.
I'll quickly address that the Alabama Scout board has a rumor that Hand is down to Alabama and Florida, and that rumor has been shot down by at least one credible source. You'll probably hear a lot of stuff like this before Thursday, and given how little Hand has been willing to reveal throughout the recruiting process, it'll all be educated guesses at best, total BS at worst.
If you want a more complete breakdown, 247 has a free primer detailing the positives/negatives for each school.
A free 247 article on Malik McDowell's Army All-American jersey presentation features more quotes from McDowell than we've seen in a while:
“I never could say (Michigan) was on top but they’re one of my favorite schools,” McDowell said. “Ohio State has always been one of my favorite schools. Michigan State has been impressing me ever since I got my offer from them.”
The Wolverines were one of the first schools to extend a scholarship to McDowell and the relationship continues to grow.
“That was like my second offer,” McDowell said. “It was a big deal. We keep in touch a lot. I like Coach (Greg) Mattison and I’m real cool with Coach (Brady) Hoke. I just really like their whole coaching staff.”
McDowell visited Ohio State for the Penn State game, received a visit from Mark Dantonio last week, and was reportedly in attendance at the Nebraska game on Saturday. He's still discussing setting up an official visit to Florida on Thanksgiving (to watch them get crushed by Florida State, in all likelihood) and mentions Alabama, LSU, and Oregon as other potential official visit destinations.
[Hit THE JUMP for a must-read piece on Detroit recruits from TomVH, new offers in the 2015 and 2016 classes, Jabrill Peppers highlights, and a roundup of last weekend's commit stats.]
TomVH uses the childhood of Jayru Campbell and interviews with a couple inner-city Detroit high school coaches to paint a disheartening—and simultaneously uplifting—picture of what these kids must overcome just to make it out:
Of the 45 players on the King team last season, only three went home every day to households with a mother and a father. Some had one parent, some stayed with grandparents and some stayed wherever they could for a few weeks at a time.
Talking about his success stories, [King assistant coach Terel] Patrick recalls an emotional text message from former player Mycial Allen, who signed with Northern Illinois in 2013.
When Allen arrived on campus, he pulled his new jersey over his head and texted his former coach to thank him for everything he had done to get Allen to this point. But also to tell him that he loved him.
"I was just saying I appreciate all the things he did for me in high school on and off the field. For being a mentor for me in my life," Allen said. "I was just happy. He played a major role throughout my career and he's part of the family."
Allen was one of the 42 who didn't live with his mother and father. In fact, he never knew what it was like to have both parents in the same house.
This is some remarkable work from Tom and I hope you'll take the time to read the whole thing.
Jabrill Peppers Remains Good At Football
Michigan's do-everything five-star commit led the way for Paramus Catholic with four first-half touchdowns—a short rush, two long receptions, and a 48-yard pick six—in a 44-6 victory over Bergen Catholic to cap the regular season. Here's one of the touchdown catches, a spectacular diving effort after a double move:
This game recap features video of Peppers's other three scores, as well as clips of his second-half forced fumble and second interception.
Moe Ways tallied eight receptions for 190 yards and three touchdowns in Detroit Country Day's 49-27 playoff win over Pontiac Notre Dame Prep; Tim Sullivan was there to catch the action and came away saying Ways's primary area for improvement has become a strength ($):
There has been a major question about Ways' hands in the past. There should not be anymore. On this night, he was catching balls high over the middle - including several behind him - without any bobbles or "fighting the ball." The accuracy of his quarterback Tyler Wiegers was only OK on this night, but Ways made him look excellent. Whather it's mastering the over-the-shoulder deep ball, a screen pass in traffic, or even a sideline route, Ways made every catch asked of him.
Tim has seen Ways multiple times in the last year and notes consistent improvement; he looks like another very nice recruiting find by the coaching staff.
Wilton Speight continued his recent hot streak with a 15-of-25, 245-yard, three-touchdown performance to spearhead Collegiate's 27-14 triumph over Flint Hill.
Damien Harris is Damien Harris and therefore scored four touchdowns; his overall production was a totally disappointing six carries for 85 yards and two TDs, two catches for 21 yards and a TD, and a 75-yard punt return touchdown. Madison Southern advanced to the second round of the playoffs with a 49-6 blowout of Letcher County.
I wasn't able to track down stats for other Michigan commits, several of whom have already bowed out of their respective playoff brackets; here's what I could find on the teams that are still alive:
East Lake (Mason Cole, George Campbell) capped off their first perfect regular season (10-0) with a 54-0 blowout of St. Petersburg, their fourth shutout this year; on the season, the Eagles have outscored their opponents 472-56. Not bad.
Kenton (Noah Furbush) advanced to Ohio's Division IV semifinals with a 58-14 win over Galion; their quarterback, Grant Sherman*, passed for 510 yards and eight touchdowns... in the first half. Mah gawd.
St. Edward (Shaun Crawford), the top seed in Ohio's top division, dispatched their first round opponent Shaker Heights to the tune of 49-0. Check the URL of that story if you think this was at all surprising.
Huber Heights Wayne (Tyree Kinnel) defeated first-round opponent Hilliard Darby 37-7.
The M Block has the details on two offered underclassman prospects, 2015 four-star CB Jordan Whitehead and 2016 DT Dexter Lawrence.
2015 four-star IN LB Darrin Kirkland Jr. visited for the Nebraska game and told Steve Lorenz($) that it was a "great experience," which... man, the food must've been great. Kirkland said he spoke to Greg Mattison, his primary recruiter, and plans to come back for the Ohio State game. While Michigan hasn't extended an offer yet, one could be coming in the relatively near future.
I'm not even mad. That's amazing.
*If a quarterback named Grant Sherman isn't nicknamed "General" then I give up.