[Bumped to Diary - LSA]
[Bumped to Front Page -Seth]
[Karan Higdon on his visit | Bryan Fuller]
Someone was asking about the recruiting process, so I thought I would offer up the little bit I know, since we are all waiting on recruits, and it is a slow week on the board…because despite the tagline on the Mgo header, the staff seem to inexplicably observing a major holiday.
I will preface this by saying: I was never recruited. I went to a high school with a lot of big time recruits, I know guys that played at a few schools including M during the Carr/RR years, and I have a close friend who is an up and coming coach in Virginia. I have been on a few visits and I have heard about a lot more…most of the ACC, Big 10, SEC, and Big 12.
First, visits during games are not ideal. There isn't enough time for coaches to spend with recruits because of game day. Keep in mind, most games are at noon or 3:30, so the kid will be lucky to talk to the coach more than 5 or 10 minutes pre-game. Teams are up early in the morning to eat, have walk-throughs and head to the stadium. Coaches are finalizing game plans and generally stick with the team during the entire pre-game process. During the 2012 UM/OSU game, we were allowed to go to the coaches locker room with Urban for about 5 minutes, while the other recruits were eating. (Our group also included the #1 player in the country, so that is unusual.) During the meal, the position coaches mingle with parents and recruits. At UTL II, (if you remember was a monster recruiting weekend) we had a nice meal, they showed a slideshow and we had a few quick words from coaches. I spoke with Chris Perry, who attended my high school, but he was ushered out because of compliance.
The recruits are assigned a coordinator, who leads everyone on to the field pre-game. On the way there, a lot of kids (and adults..smh) were asking for autographs, which was immediately attended to because this was right after the Johnny Manziel fiasco. (Sorry, the Johnny Manziel AUTOGRAPH fiasco, not any of the other fiascos he’s been associated with.) The recruits get to stand on the sidelines as everyone warms up. Most will remember a fantastic picture I took of Da’Shawn with the Maize and Blue crowd in the background.
At OSU, I wore a highlighter yellow “HAIL” shirt as I walked in front of the student section. They did not approve. Being on the field allows players to get a feel for the gameday atmosphere, because that’s exactly where they would be for every gameday. It’s wild looking up at the audience, and witnessing 100,000 plus…the anticipation is moving through the air. Right before the band comes out, recruits are ushered to their seats, usually in the first 5-6 rows, in between the 40’s. My UTL II seats were 4th row. At OSU, we sat in the 6th row. Maryland we were in the 2nd row. I am a family friend of a former player who is not well –regarded around these parts, but every time I went with his family, we were between rows 8 and 14.
After the game, the recruits leave together, and meet up in the athletic center to wait for coaches and players. Coaches will sneak in and say hi if they can. Once the players are dressed and done for the night, they take out or hang out with recruits.
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Since Da’Shawn Hand is the topic of the last 24 hours, I thought I would share my experience. A friend of mine is his position coach. He got Da’Shawn as a freshman and has worked with him to help him become what he is today. Now my friend John Harris, is passionate about his job. Any guy that is still cool with you after you date his sister is a good guy. His goal in life is to get kids into college. In the years he’s been coaching, I have seen him work just as hard for his D-III kids as he has worked for Da’Shawn. DH is an unbelievable kid. He’s intelligent and mature and is a happy, fun guy. He doesn’t smoke or drink, doesn’t get involved with the wrong crowds. His idea of a good time? Him and his cousin lifting and watching film. He’s a hard worker, he doesn’t read the stuff written about him, he just focuses on dominating at the next camp, and his final season.
John, knowing I was a Michigan fan, asked me to drive into the depths of hell for The Game. I warned him that I was going to wear a “HAIL” shirt. We negotiated, that I would not wear it in the facilities, but out on the field only. These terms were agreed upon and accepted. We get there, and the police were non-cooperative with the coaches, and we ended up parking a mile away and having to walk to the stadium. It was cold as shit too btw. The coaches (except Urban) were walking around, talking to all of the recruits. I’d like to say this, despite the stupidity of Jeremy @ 11W, Da’Shawn isn’t an attention whore. He understood that Ohio was playing in their bowl game, and the coaches were busy. Even still, the coaches made it a point to take us down to talk to Urban. I couldn’t help but show him my shirt and he laughed. I told him I was rooting for him when Florida beat Ohio in the NC game, and he smirked, and said “we really took it to those guys huh?” (He also mentioned that he was approached by Brandon for the UM job)
Walked out to the stadium, in front of the student section and of course they all screamed and yelled at me as is expected from Ohio fans. Da’Shawn and his cousin were sitting with Jalen Hurd (who is going to be a stud btw). Everyone around me was very cool, we all had fun joking with each other, and no one was disrespectful. I was the only person in the whole section, standing with my hands in the air when Denard broke through that “tackle” on his long td run. In the second half, they left and went back inside and I watched the rest of the game. Without getting into too much of what really happened, they hung out with a few players and I don’t think they got along well. Kinda like meeting someone and thinking “ehh…I don’t need to be their friend.” And as Da’Shawn has stated, when you have EVERY school in the country fighting for you, you have to nitpick to eliminate them. On the ride home, I didn’t talk bad about Ohio, but I did have the UM fight song on repeat, and I did talk mention a few things about the school. So in March, we went up to UM for a visit.
As a fan, this was unreal to me, to have the opportunity to see what it’s like having the red carpet rolled out. I am originally from Michigan, but I went to U of Richmond…but to see how the school presented themselves made me proud. ALL of the coaches were cool, they all took time to speak with him. There was a huge focus on academics and for a smart kid like that, he was very interested. Brady Hoke is one of the coolest, down to earth people I have ever met. Mattison did his Ray Lewis dance for Hand, with Beyonce in the background. He also knew more than a few Rihanna songs. Lewan and Hand had a good talk, Devin was around (and has a magnificent singing voice btw…singing the Victors) . One thing John and Hand noticed was how after practice (it was the first day of spring ball) the players hung out around the field. No one was in a rush to leave, they chatted, they talked to Mrs. Hoke and Mrs. Mattison, hung out with the coaches, Brandon, and the other recruits. The “family” atmosphere…is very very real. Ferns came out just to hang out with Da’Shawn too, and they hung out with some players that night. Denard was there (getting worked out by the Patriots) and they had a good talk as well. And seeing his eyes when he walked through the tunnel into Michigan Stadium was priceless.
Now as far as the future goes, I couldn’t tell you where he ends up, I can tell you he enjoyed Michigan and hated Ohio and that’s good enough for me.