The answer is still no, and that's excuse enough to post this again.
More specifically, HANDOCALYPSE MID-NOVEMBER:
I will be committing on Nov 14 at my school. Can't wait to get this over with!
— Da'shawn Hand (@TheHand54) August 4, 2013
That, of course, is arguably the #1 overall prospect in the country, VA DE Da'Shawn Hand, who now has a decision date in mind — not coincidentally, his 18th birthday — with his field now narrowed down to his top three schools, per Rivals's Adam Friedman ($):
"I just decided that there is no need for all of this to get drawn out," Hand said. "I was interested in USC and LSU but I know a lot about Michigan, Alabama and Florida and I'm just going to let them be."
Lane Kiffin reacted to this news by drinking a six-pack of Mike's Hard Lemonade and tearfully sending Hand a slew of angry texts that all ended in "im so sorry plz come visit". Les Miles chewed on fieldturf — the rubber pellets really add texture — and contemplated the meaning of... fieldturf, probably.
Hand will officially visit Ann Arbor for the Notre Dame game; he has yet to set up officials to Alabama or Florida, though both he and his coach say those visits will happen as well.
Whether or not those officials happen, Michigan appears to be in very good position — especially since Alabama's marquee home game, against LSU, occurs just five days before Hand plans to announce his choice. Given that Hand seems like the type of recruit who's going to be very well-versed in each school before he makes a decision, I'd be surprised if he waited that long to make the trip to Tuscaloosa. It's also still possible, of course, that he's blown away at the Notre Dame game and never ends up taking those last two officials. We'll see — it's never safe to count out Nick Saban.
Michigan could also see Hand's 2015 five-star buddy, VA DT Tim Settle, on campus in the relatively near future, per 247's Michael Bohlin ($):
"I am supposed to be going to Michigan but I don't know when," replied Settle. "I will be going to UVa for the Oregon game, I want to go to the Virginia Tech vs Alabama game but that one is in Atlanta so we'll see. I am also planning on taking a visit to USC at some point."
I'd speculate that Settle would visit for the Notre Dame game, in order to be on campus with Hand, but that Virginia-Oregon game is slated for the same day. We'll see if he ends up making the trip, but at the very least there's another five-star considering Michigan, and that's never a bad thing.
[Hit THE JUMP for more recruiting news, including Michigan attempting to snake-oil a legacy recruit, Bruce Feldman on what it'll take to keep the momentum going, and more.]
Wizard Hat: On
On Saturday, Michigan came through with a long-awaited offer to Warren (MI) De La Salle LB Jared Wangler, son of former QB John and brother of 2013 preferred walk-on Jack. That offer was so long-awaited, in fact, that Wangler has been committed to Penn State since May. How does the new offer affect his commitment? For now, he's not sure, per Scout's Allen Trieu ($):
"It's definitely something I will consider. It's an amazing opportunity. I have the utmost respect for Penn State. I'm currently committed and not making any decisions right now, but I'll talk it over with my family and make some decisions."
As for the exact position the Wolverines see him at, Wangler says, "I think it's the SAM, what Jake Ryan plays right now."
That's a very non-committal commitment, which isn't a surprise considering the Michigan offer was "very unexpected," according to Wangler. The timing of the offer isn't a coincidence, however, as linebacker targets Jimmie Swain (TCU) and Richard Yeargin III (Notre Dame) went off the board in the past week. (Happy trails, fellas.)
Michigan wants another linebacker, specifically a strongside type, in the 2014 class, and Wangler is a very interesting case; while his recruiting rankings (2* on Rivals, 3* everywhere else) don't suggest he's a big-time prospect, his film is impressive, he picked up an LSU offer after his PSU commitment, and he was selected to participate in the Under Armour All-American Game. While Wangler obviously wasn't Michigan's top target at linebacker, he's got the talent to merit an offer, and now he has a very difficult decision to make: honor his commitment to Penn State (with the sanctions, more of a commitment than most) or follow in his father's footsteps.
Former teammate Shane Morris and current brother Jack Wangler have been "texting and calling [Jared] non-stop," in an effort to get him to Michigan, per Rivals's Josh Helmholdt ($). In that article, Jared says he'd like to come to a decision before his senior season in order to eliminate any distractions, so expect him to make a choice relatively soon.
Can't Stop Won't Stop
In his latest mailbag, CBSSports college football guru Bruce Feldman says that Michigan's recruiting momentum should continue even if they take a few lumps this season:
From @jameslee203: Does Michigan/Brady Hoke have to reach a BCS bowl this yr to keep recruiting momentum?
No, I'd say anything 8-4 or better and kids will still be buying into the feeling that Hoke and his staff have the Wolverines on the upswing. Hoke is selling a tradition-rich powerhouse with getting a great education and he has his pitch for that program down cold. Also, keep in mind, no one has fewer returning starters coming back this season in the Big Ten than Michigan, which will be breaking in three new starters in the middle of its O-line. It's not like they're a preseason top-five team, where if they don't make a BCS bowl, it'll seem like a dud of a season.
Sounds good to me.
2015 blue-chip RB commit Damien Harris will not be looking around, thank you very much:
On Tuesday, he said his commitment to Michigan was 100 percent firm and that he wouldn’t even consider any other offers from this point forward.
“Once I gave my word, that’s my word,” Harris said. "I’m not going to have any coaches come see me at school. They are going to come to games, I’m sure. I can’t stop that. But, I’m not going to go to any other campuses or any other games. I’m sticking to my commitment."
Harris also said, regarding his recruitment, that "in the end, it really wasn't even close," which is something to file away for the next time you talk recruiting with a Buckeye fan.
2015 four-star PA OT Sterling Jenkins was one of the big-time visitors for the BBQ, and he's got plans for a return, per Tim Sullivan ($):
"I want to see an Ohio State, Pitt, Penn State, and Michigan game, basically go up there once for each," he said. "Or maybe a few times. For Michigan, I was going to go to the Notre Dame one and maybe another. For Penn State, I wanted to go to the whiteout - I don't remember when it is but I think it's against Michigan [Oct. 12] - and Ohio State I don't know which one I want to see. Pitt, I was going to go to the first one against Florida State."
If you're the type to read into semi-vague quotes from high school kids, Michigan being in line for two game visits (and being the opponent for another school's visit) is probably a good sign that the Wolverines are at or near the top of Jenkins's list.
According to his mother, 2015 four-star UT LB Osa Masina — another BBQ attendee — is also planning a return trip, per 247's Steve Lorenz ($):
"The talented academic staff was another big plus for us," she noted. "I really liked that they have started a specific program for the student athletes to deal with life after college. We left Ann Arbor with a new appreciation for "The Team, The Team, The Team" and we're looking forward to hopefully returning to a game this season in a Big House filled with passionate Michigan fans."
The M Block's Eric Rutter caught up with ESPN's #1 overall 2015 prospect, MN DE Jashon Cornell, who denied that Notre Dame is his leader ("No, they are not. That is all hype.") and gave his thoughts on the Michigan staff:
Michigan's staff had a big impact on Cornell, as he noted the Michigan experience as "It's love up there. The coaches treat you just like family, and they get to maximize your full potential as a football player and a man. The facilities are top notch, the fan base." Cornell spoke on his conversation with coach Mattison a few days ago. "He said I'm the #1 player on their list to get and he really wants me to come join their family at Michigan."
The whole interview is well worth a read — Cornell shows off plenty of knowledge about Michigan's program, and it sounds like he's got serious interest.
2014 CA RB Joe Mixon's top ten does not include Michigan($), an expected move both because he was a longshot and the Wolverines are no longer in the market for a running back.
Adoree' Jackson visits Illinois; The Champaign Room's Tom Fornelli is happy but doesn't expect a commitment, which means he is at least partially sane despite rooting for Illinois football. I'm impressed, Fornelli.
Obvious jokes aside, this is a remarkably effective recruiting pitch.