Monday Recruitin' Has The Heart Of A Tree Comment Count

Ace November 4th, 2013 at 2:18 PM

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 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:



November 4th, 2013 at 3:09 PM ^

He is saying that he hopes the loss has a positive (or at least neutral) impact on his recruiting vs. having a negative one. i.e. "Wow, Michigan looked bad, I do not want to go there now."


November 4th, 2013 at 2:57 PM ^

Hand is gone, with that performance saturday and the crappy performance by Michigan all year.  Hand is not gonna wanna play for a program that is in as bad of shape and Michigan, and I dont blame him.  He's going Bama all the way.


November 4th, 2013 at 3:05 PM ^

I went to this game.  Speight was easily the biggest kid on the field, and he looked pretty good.  He made a couple bad decisions, but he threw the ball on time for the most part, and has a strong arm.  He also ran the option a couple times (pitched both times) and ran for a TD himself.


November 4th, 2013 at 3:07 PM ^

Shocked if we land Hand or McDowell after Saturdays debacle...why would any top kid pick Michigan over Alabama? Sucks to say but our coaching staff looks lost..


November 4th, 2013 at 3:22 PM ^

Do they want to be apart of something special?
or do they want to just be the next guy up in a dynasty?

Do they like Brady Hoke more?
or do they like Nick Saban more?

How's the food? (re: Hand)

If it was only wins and losses, the top 25 guys in each class would end up at Bama. The next 25 at OSU, the next at Oregon. etc. That's just not the way it works.

Saturday's game was just another example of the same team/offense/coaching staff that Hand has seen Michigan field for the past 2 years (re: 4th time being held to 0 TD's). If he hasn't already thrown us out of the bidding yet, then one game against MSU won't be the reason he goes to Bama over Michigan. It will likely be due to something else. 


November 4th, 2013 at 3:43 PM ^

Shocked if we land Hand or McDowell after Saturdays debacle

One game would not likely make that much difference.  Besides, a recruit could look at that game and think, "I could really contribute there ... I could see the field early."

The risk is if a perception settles in that Michigan is stuck at some halfway-good, halfway-bad state.  Some here might argue we've reached that point; I would not argue that yet.  2014 is going to be an important year for establishing trendlines.


November 4th, 2013 at 3:18 PM ^

than on getting Hand. I'll be very surprised if we don't also lose at least one of our higher-profile recruits if the season ends the way it seems trending to.


November 4th, 2013 at 3:21 PM ^

I was planning to attend my first HS game in 20 years this Saturday but not if Ferns will be out. His team is playing my HS in the first round of the playoffs. Best wishes for a speedy recovery to all our injured recruits.


November 4th, 2013 at 3:56 PM ^

The top high school recruits care about one thing - which staff is going to best develop me as a player to give me the best chance to play in the NFL.  That game at MSU was not a ringing endorsement for this staff. 


November 4th, 2013 at 5:28 PM ^

It's obvious all the real talent on this roster is in the form of RS Freshmen /Sophomores and younger. You can win with a young team if most of our young players are at skill positions. Unfortunately that's not the case here. Too many young guys playing in the trenches.


November 4th, 2013 at 5:31 PM ^

They are The Maples.  Hence the "heart of a maple".  And the cheerleaders are called the "Maple Motion", which is nice.

Also, the school's sorta kinda near Maple road.




November 4th, 2013 at 9:04 PM ^

You mean after visits to South Bend, East Lansing, and Columbus next year? With an OL younger than this year's?  With a coaching staff that is "questionable" at in game adjustments, decisions, game management and potentially player development?

Just let me know after which game in 2014 we should be allowed to freak out.


November 4th, 2013 at 11:27 PM ^

I took some videos and plan to do a writeup when I get a chance.

McDowell wasn't playing. Marshall was on the sideline for most of Seaholm's comeback.