Keeping His Hand To Himself
This week's edition of "First and 17" features Da'Shawn Hand's coach telling Mike Farrell, "I don't know if he knows for sure for sure. I feel like he really likes Michigan. He's gonna go feel the flavor of the SEC because of everything everyone's talked about, but... you know, I don't even know. I think he knows. I don't even know if pops knows yet ... At this point, none of where he picks will surprise me, because they're all great schools." (2:25 mark.) He also tells Roy Manning, who stopped by Woodbridge during the bye week, that he thinks Hand is leaning towards Michigan—but also that he likes Alabama, and this is before Hand's official to Tuscaloosa. (7:25 mark.)
Later, Hand discusses why he likes to keep his thoughts to himself (9:44 mark): "When I take one visit, everyone thinks I'm committing to the college ... I just don't like showing people my full hand, because then everyone can pick out your every move. Everyone tries to get in my head, but that'll never happen."
So... your guess is as good as mine. We'll know in ten days when he makes his announcement.
Michigan Still In Mix For Glenville Duo
Rivals's Josh Helmholdt caught up with highly-touted 2014 Glenville teammates Marshon Lattimore and Erick Smith to discuss their respective recruitments. Like Hand, both are playing it coy when it comes to naming a leader, even though Ohio State is the presumed destination for both (especially Lattimore; fitting Smith into the class could get difficult for OSU). Both have four official visits left to schedule—Alabama is already on the docket for each—and Michigan is in the running for both. Here's Lattimore ($):
"I am going to take all of my officials. I have to plan them with Marcelys Jones and Erick Smith," Lattimore said. "Ohio State, probably USC, I might try to get out to Oregon, probably Michigan and Louisville. I was always interested in all those schools, and will give them equal opportunity."
And Smith ($):
Alabama assistant coach Bobby Williams was at Glenville on Friday and Smith is looking at rescheduling that trip for sometime in December. He has a group of a half dozen schools who are in the mix for his remaining four official visits.
"I am not for sure, but I know Ohio State, Michigan, Louisville, Kentucky, Michigan State and Georgia Tech too - those are all up there," Smith said. "You could say those are the schools I am really looking at right now."
With Lattimore and Smith planning their trips together, it's fair to guess that OSU, Michigan, and Louisville (along with Bama) have an edge—those schools are mentioned by both prospects. It's tough to see Michigan beating out Alabama and Ohio State given how the season is playing out and the fact that neither are sure they'll take another trip to Ann Arbor.
Meanwhile, four-star MI DL Malik McDowell has scheduled his official visit to Florida and tells GatorCountry.com that he's in frequent contact with head coach Will Muschamp. He's another prospect who's very difficult to read; the very frequent trips to Ann Arbor—and playing on the same line with commit Lawrence Marshall—suggest Michigan holds an edge, but it's clear that he's serious about looking around.
[Hit THE JUMP for the latest on Sheriron Jones, a must-read feature on a current commit, and a roundup of last weekend's high school action as playoff season gets under way.]
Sheriron Jones: Still An Option
The 2015 quarterback picture sure doesn't seem to be getting any clearer. After telling Brandon last week that he hadn't had any recent contact with the Michigan coaches, 2015 CA QB Sheriron Jones apparently heard from them, as his tune changed in an interview published over the weekend by Sam Webb ($):
Sam Webb: Tell me what Michigan has said to you. What coach is recruiting you for Michigan and what have they said to you about their interest.
Sheriron Jones: “They said they are very interested. (Dan) Ferrigno is the recruiter out here. He is very interested in me and is coming back to see me throw pretty soon.”
Jones said he is "most likely" going to visit Ann Arbor; he lists no leaders for the time being.
The Pattern™, Part I Lost Count
This article is a over a week old—eons in Internet Time—but I hadn't seen it anywhere; the Tampa Bay Times has an inspiring feature on 2015 commit George Campbell, who's overcome the imprisonment of his father and a broken femur that nearly ended his career to become one of the country's top prospects thanks to great support from his mother and uncle. Click through and read the whole thing; it's worth your time.
Commit Updates: Playoffs Under Way
It's playoff season for much of the country's high school football, and that means pictures like this one begin surfacing:
Mary Beth Nolan/Sun-Times Media
That's tight end commit Ian Bunting, who's suffered through an injury-plagued senior season, after Hinsdale Central's 42-14 first-round loss to Oswego. Bunting managed to catch "several" passes, including a 50-yarder, in the defeat.
While Bunting managed to finish out his season relatively healthy, the same cannot be said for several of his fellow '14 Michigan pledges. The M Block details:
- Wide receiver Drake Harris (hamstring) was unable to play in Grand Rapids Christian's 14-13 win over Forest Hills Northern in the first round of the playoffs. I asked Drake if he think he will make his return this Friday versus Zeeland West and he said he's "trying to, but nothing is for sure yet". Harris has been out all season due to a lingering hamstring injury. We will be sending Chad to cover GRC's matchup with Zeeland West if Harris is in fact healthy enough to go.
- LB Jared Wangler suffered a separated shoulder a few weeks ago, but he returned in limited action against Dakota in round 1 of the playoffs Friday. It was in a losing effort, though, as Dakota prevailed by a score of 19-14.
- Also fallen victim to a separated shoulder, LB Michael Ferns is most likely done for the season. Ferns re-separated his shoulder in St. Clairsville's 53-3 win over Buckeye Local High School on October 25. There's a chance he may return if St. Clairsville makes it to the state finals, but even then it's no guarantee.
On the bright side, that post also contains a very positive scouting report on Lawrence Marshall, who stood out in... shoot, a stunning Southfield playoff loss at the hands of Birmingham Seaholm. The MLive recap does contain an incredible coach quote:
“Our kids have the heart of a Maple, and they never quit.”
Nobody has the heart to tell him that trees... well, you know. They're trees.
Standouts this week aside from Marshall—who also impressed Seth, doing some impromptu MGoScouting—are tough to find, as several commits either didn't play or weren't mentioned in game columns. For instance, the Internet somehow doesn't have a proper recap of Lakewood (OH) St. Edward's last-minute 41-40 victory over Eastern Christian Academy (Freddy Canteen, Brandon Watson); all I know is Shaun Crawford sat out the game with a boo-boo of his own. There's game film from this that I'll hopefully find time to pore over this week.
What I can find: