BBrown: Predicting The Hand Decision

Submitted by Brandon Brown on November 14th, 2013 at 2:29 PM

I know there is already a forum topic about Hand's commitment but this is a little bit different. A few weeks back I posted a forum about "Predicting Commitments" and cited the responses that I get from recruits as a pretty good barometer for how they are feeling as their decisions near. Unfortunately, that method has held true again.

Granted my Crystal Ball pick for Hand on 247 was Michigan, but I should've went with my unfortunate personal evidence as opposed to my homerness and public perception. I wanted Hand at Michigan badly, as I'm sure every one who comes to this site did. It seemed like Michigan was where he was going. Experts all around the country had predicted him to choose the Wolverines. His high school coach talked to me very regularly.......but Da'Shawn himself didn't.

Da'Shawn kept a lot to himself obviously and I convinced myself that he was simply being private in not talking to me anymore. In August he and I talked on the phone for a long time. For a month or so after our long interview he and I would text occoasionally just to see what was going on with his recruitment. Then it stopped. He wouldn't respond anymore and I just assumed (hoped) that it was because he was shutting down the interview process a little bit as his decision date neared. It turns out that there was a little more to it than that.

Hand chose Alabama and honestly, I can't really say that I blame him. Hindsight of course is always 20/20 but looking back now, I should've seen this coming. I'm not saying I knew anything for sure because I didn't. Clearly most people didn't. But over the last month or so, Da'Shawn wouldn't respond to me anymore and that ended up being quite telling.

I am going to do my absolute best from now on to use only my head and not my heart, and also to try and not be influenced by other guys that really know what they are talking about. That is a very hard thing to do when you have guys like Tom, Steve Lorenz, Mike Farrell, Clint Brewster, Steve Wiltfong, JC Shurburtt, Eleven Warriors guys, and many, many more all predicting Hand to choose Michigan.

Good luck to Da'Shawn.



Perd Hapley

November 14th, 2013 at 3:24 PM ^

I need to see more puppies, people getting kicked in the nuts, ect. People on here are clever and it seems to be the only thing to cheer me up for how the last few weeks has been. Please someone do this!

5th and Long

November 14th, 2013 at 3:33 PM ^

While you have a pretty direct barometer, I find that sometimes reading subtle clues can also predict and I was pessimistic.  (To be fair, I work in a business where I have to read people's hidden motives and unspoken thoughts to predict how they will behave on a regular basis).

While I, too, was hoping Hand would Go Blue my sense was Alabama would be the choice because of a few subtle things he and his camp said/did in the last week.

* Canzior posted a firsthand account of traveling with Da'Shawn to UM and noted that he didn't wear any UM gear at the game, because that was his thing.  I noticed in his Washington Post series after his  'Bama visit he was on camera wearing Alabama gear.  I'd never seen him wearing anything UM.  Ever.  

* In an interview on First and 17 this week he said he hoped his decision shocks people and they're happy.  Considering UM was the prediction by most, it wouldn't be shocking to pick the Wolverines.  it was also kind of the way he said it where he kind of caught himself and didn't say anymore.

* Then yesterday, Sam Webb spoke to Da'Shawn's father and he had a quote that kind of back pedaled on academics.  I felt like you're only saying that  to the press in the 11th hour, if you know you're son is gonna get some backlash after stressing academics was such a big part, then picking the least prestigious of the three.  

It's nothing concrete, but just reading the tea leaves gave me a sense he was going to the Tide.


November 14th, 2013 at 3:37 PM ^

Thanks Brandon for the heads up.  Next time don't keep these things to yourself.  A lot of us get excited about recruiting, especially when it's for a kid on Hand's level.  Next time I'd kind of like to know what's really going on rather than just what some writers think I want to hear.

Next time, let us know what's happening, thanks for the heads up on Malik McDowell maybe cooling.  Rather know the truth than endure another gut shot like today was. 

We have the Rivals 18th ranked class.  18th?  Maybe all this , "well, Hoke is a great recruiter at least" talk will die down.  The results on the field and running a clean program are the only thing that matters.

Brandon Brown

November 14th, 2013 at 3:44 PM ^

I promise I wasn't keeping it to myself, haha. I was genuinely convinced that he was going to pick Michigan even though there was a very small sign he might choose Bama. These are just some I can think of that aren't directly related to the football program because well, those are pretty obvious at Alabama.

Reasons to think Michigan: My first interview with him, contact with his coach, public adoration for Dr. Rosentraub, relationships with M recruits, academics, Michigan expert predictions, "insider" feelings from other commits.

Reasons to think Alabama: He stopped communicating with me (a Michigan specific recruiting guy)

That's pretty much it. I don't know much about his recruitment from an Alabama standpoint, but that was my method of thinking.

Shop Smart Sho…

November 14th, 2013 at 5:44 PM ^

You said earlier in the thread that you hoped to be as good as Tom at some point.  Here is a tip for you.  Start writing more professionally. 

"I promise I wasn't keeping it to myself, haha."

You do this way too much.  I expect better writing from a high school newspaper, and generally it is better than that.

Also, as you are a paid member of the staff, why are you posting threads on the board instead of on the front page?

Brandon Brown

November 14th, 2013 at 7:07 PM ^

That was a personal response to someone's comment on the forum board, I don't write like that on the front page besides, this isn't CNN man. It's a blog, and a blog that just had a picture of all the staffers faces photoshopped onto a scene from Monty Python, and says things like Staee, and Urbz, and Uniformz, and BWAHAHAHA, and compares things to smelly possums.Get a grip dude and don't take stuff so serious, HAHA.

Also, maybe Brian asked me to post things to the forum as often as possible when it pertains to recruiting? I didn't know there were so many people here that know how and what I do better than I do. It's pretty impressive.


HAHA again.

Shop Smart Sho…

November 14th, 2013 at 8:38 PM ^

You're right, it is a blog.  A blog where I think we've all come to expect a certain level of writing.  And if you're trying to be as good as a guy like Tom, then you should probably try to write as well as he did.

All of those things you referenced are funny, and amazingly didn't need a juvenile writing crutch for people to know they were funny.  I would suggest sticking to just reporting facts if you aren't naturally funny.  

But hey, what do I know?  I'm just a guy who thinks spamming kids on twitter is creepy.

Shop Smart Sho…

November 14th, 2013 at 11:01 PM ^

I might be pompous and a jackass, but I am definitely not a pedant.  And I'm also not the only person on this board who has voiced the opinion that the way this guy goes about contacting high school kids isn't completely proper.  I've even provided examples of it violating policy at some high schools.


Any more personal attacks you'd like to sling my way?


November 14th, 2013 at 4:04 PM ^

Do you think missing on Hand allows us to save a scholarship for KLS at DE for 2015? I know we offered Williams, but if he doesn't come for some reason do you think the coaches do that?


November 14th, 2013 at 4:11 PM ^

You'd have to check with all the other Michigan recruiting analysts, from Sam Webb to TomVH to etc. and see if he stopped talking to them, too. If he stopped talking to all Michigan guys, then there might be something to glean from that. If he just stopped talking to you, it probably has nothing to do with Michigan, and maybe he just doesn't like you. Because if he stopped talking to you but none of the other recruiting analysts, I don't think it has much to do with his feelings on committing to Michigan.

Brandon Brown

November 14th, 2013 at 4:23 PM ^

I'm not trying to be self-important as someone else said, I really don't have an ego, choose to believe me or not.

Lorenz, Tom, Tim, Sam...those guys work for 247, ESPN, Rivals, Free Press and WTKA respectively. Those are just a few worth mentioning. Recruits will talk to those guys largely because of their respective employers and the networking that has been created. I work for a Michigan-centric, lesser-known, privately owned website. The fact that recruits stop talking to me I think might mean it's a little more Michigan specific. Granted Lorenz and Tim are working for the Michigan branches, it's still 247 and Rivals, nationally renowned sites.

Again this whole thing is just a theory. Very few people got Hand right today. It's just something I've noticed and thought I'd share.


November 14th, 2013 at 4:13 PM ^

Oh and BB I know who you are because I followed you at MBlock and I know you know your stuff even though you aren't the "star" that Lorenz, TVH, Sam Webb, etc. are yet. I enjoy reading your stuff and keep it up. Most everyone was wrong on this one. Whoever is on here giving you grief need to just relax. So we lost Hand. I was upset at first too. But it's been 3 hours now, its time to move on. We still have a great class that hopefully our coaches can develop and we can get back to where we should be.


November 14th, 2013 at 5:02 PM ^

This just sounds like a bad excuse. You predicted wrong. Period. Life goes on. But we really don't need an explanation about why you predicted wrong. You will be judged by how well you predict; not by how well you explain your bad predictions.


November 14th, 2013 at 4:17 PM ^

we should have figured it out when Da'Shawn mentioned his interest in Engineering as a major.

I really hope Da'Shawn does pursue that engineering degree. The kid seems like a great down to earth guy with dreams both on and off the field.


November 14th, 2013 at 5:35 PM ^

The apology is appreciated but not necessary. I love your content so no worries. It's far from an exact science so just give us the info we need, make predictions, etc.

State Street

November 14th, 2013 at 5:55 PM ^

This is one of the most ridiculous posts I have ever seen on this board.  And from a staffer at that.  I don't even know what else to say.

What are the odds that this school-specific, ordinary-guy-turns-reporter-guy stuff turn a kid off from attending a school in the near future?  At what point do the negatives of this third-party recruiting fad outweigh the (supposed) positives?

True Blue Grit

November 14th, 2013 at 6:18 PM ^

From what you say, it appears that things headed south for The Blue a little while ago and today's announcement was predictable.  So be it.  You are in a position where as a journalist you need to walk a fine line between reporting hard facts vs. feelings or hunches.  We all need to remember too that recruits like Hand can be reading posts on this blog.  Either way, I have no problem with what you've written in the past and found it very worthwhile. 

I really don't understand or agree that so many people downvoted your post. 


November 14th, 2013 at 6:29 PM ^

to Michigan either ... bank it.  The "Michigan" lean posture does not hold water.  We better start coaching better real fast and have a superior year next year or this could get ugly.  Hey, no increase in ticket prices next year ... watch out for 2015. 

I dumped the Dope

November 14th, 2013 at 6:33 PM ^

Is kinda petty, yathink? We didn't get a prized bull for our herd so we shoot the messenger.

There were probably cuter/hotter girls in Bama and nobody wants to put that in writing but me. Just saying that's the way I would have approached it when I was 18.

Can we look at what we now have control least one to possibly two new players to recruit. Hand's ship done sailed and we can watch him on tv in a few years.

Meanwhile...McDowell has just as high of an upside as Hand if you ask me and could potentially play against us for 3-4 years...


November 14th, 2013 at 6:51 PM ^

Thanks for the solid content this year, its great to have someone on the site dedicated to recruiting, even on days like today.

Your post above, however, triggered some thoughts I meant to raise last time this came up... apologies in advance but here are some take it or leave it feedback.

IMO, I think the "if they talk to me its a good sign" theory is a little problematic.


This is just my opinion, it makes MgoBlog seem a little stalkish, creepy and self-important when it essentially broadcasts its number one predictive indicator is length and frequency of recruit contact.


As a nervous ninny fan, it makes me a little nervous that bloggers and social media folks of all stripes are contacting these teenagers constantly and more than the actual coaches are and that this could be mistakenly perceived as something representative of the university experience at large.


Third, it seems like, as an admitted homer, this theory incents you to behave badly over time.


Fourth, these kids have hundreds of people contacting them a day…how is this theory in anyway predictive?  .e.g.  how are most teenagers going to know about mGoBlog unless you are selling it to him (e.g. yet another incentive to act bad and “puff” the blog, etc).

I wonder if straight journalistic approach -simple fact based approach is better?  And I wonder if all of this stuff is "reportable" of better kept in trust?


1. how generic responses are when contacted

2. family connections

3. scheme fit

4. is he reaching out to you (sending you tapes, etc.)

5. academic ability/fit

6. geography (how far away from home, climate change?)

7. depth (how soon to play) and current talent levels (how soon to play on winning team)

8. current team's success on the field

9. connection with the coaches.

10. coaching ability - team forecast (team on a winning arc or losing trajectory)

11. Other inputs (other recruits, coaches, etc)..

 Just some thoughts...sorry for the long post.


November 14th, 2013 at 7:38 PM ^

I hv another crystal ball. Recruits who drag their recruiting process tend to choose the more "professionally run" school (SEC or OSU). Michigan gives our the "family vibe". If the recruit doesnt get it in the early going that Michigan is like family to him, chances are he will choose the other more established football factory. Almost all of our late commits come from recruits that we flipped from second tier football schools!

Brandon Brown

November 14th, 2013 at 7:50 PM ^

Vic Enwere, the RB out of Texas who is currently committed to Cal seems to be pretty interested. I've just started talking with him but there will be a post up tomorrow morning about him and Jhonny Williams that I'd say are both possibilities. Obviously McDowell is still a possibility, but I'm starting to see that as less likely. There just aren't a lot of realistic options left on the 2014 board at this point.


November 14th, 2013 at 9:34 PM ^

But I am with the Dude or Duderino. I am tired of losing and the last time I heard that (we are tired of losing) was from the team that took us to the mountain top in 97 and I know for a fact they would have beat NE up and down the field but there it is again a funcking asterisk. We are funcking sick of it and want to get back to the days we were feared I mean FEARED. So I want to say, Thank you Duderino and I know what you are trying to say who gives a F*ck just WIN we R tired of losing.


November 14th, 2013 at 10:30 PM ^

Water over the falls.  Most teams will lose out to the likes of Alabama.  If the team was playing better, they probably would have had a better chance but no guarantees! Just like some of our verbal commits could de-commit. We won't know until signing day!

Mr. Yost

November 14th, 2013 at 11:23 PM ^

You can "make it up to me" at least by starting a new thread and making it a Michigan Recruiting Primer. Joking on the "make it up to me" part by the way.

I'm being serious on the primer though.

I know I can go to other sites and see who are targets on, but I don't really visit other site. And the only recruiting news I get on this site is what recruits are doing in their HS tournaments.

So I'd love to know...position by postion. Who do we have? Who's out there? What's their interest level? Who are potential prospects that could be on the radar? How many spots do we have left?

Again, a lot of bullshit and sarcasm on this thread. But it would be nice to regroup and have some useful information for once. I'd like to know who I should be watching for...realistically. Cause right now, McDowell seems like the only name that's realistically out there. Can you please give us a detailed rundown (in another thread...since this one, well, it is what it is).


November 15th, 2013 at 3:30 PM ^

He stopped talking to everyone at a certain point. Or you had some insight that no one else had, seeing as all of the people closest to him thought he was Michigan