Wednesday, June 12, 2013
Da'shawn Hand Update
Da'shawn Hand is really good. Da'shawn Hand is very smart. Da'shawn Hand is very coveted. News flash right? Last night young Mr. Hand created quite the buzz when some info became public that he would be dropping his possible leader, Virginia Tech, from his top 3 and a new team would be taking that spot. The guys at 247 changed their Crystal Ball predictions, again, and all of the sudden the recruiting world was in a frenzy. Today things have calmed a little bit and there are explanations for everything that has transpired over the last 24 hours in regards to Hand's recruitment. I was able to have a conversation with his position coach, John Harris, today and he cleared the air on a lot of things.
"Man, yesterday between Da'shawn calling me, and like three or four other players calling me, oh my goodness, I had to put my phone on silent. Last night at about midnight I thought I would never get done. (laughs)" Ok, so now that the frenzy has died down a bit, what's going on with Da'shawn? "He told me it was one of the hardest things he's ever done to break that news to Bud (Foster) because he really does like him a lot. Bud was just a guy who has been talking to him even before the recruiting process when he was a freshman Bud would say, 'Hey, you know, one day it's going to get crazy for you. If you ever need me, even if it's not about Tech, just call me.' You know, that went a long way with Da'shawn, but I mean at the end of the day, you see it all the time, these kids have 40 or 50 schools that they have to take all the way down to one. With some of these schools, you've been talking to for 3 or 4 years, and then you tell them like, 'I'm not going there.', it's hard. Da'shawn was like, 'Man, I really like you, but ya'll don't have a sports management degree.' People can say what they want, but when that kid has his mind made up about something, he has it made up. That's just the kind of kid he is." Seems like academics are really important to him. A lot of kids say that, but with Da'shawn he basically just proved that it is legitimately a top concern. "Yeah, absolutely." So really, all it came down to was that Virginia Tech didn't have the degree he was looking for? "Yeah. This was the thing. With Michigan, I'm telling you, one of those coaches owes that guy lunch man. I mean, he blew us all away. He had us raising our hands, asking questions and everything, it was crazy. I think he was the dean or something? I don't want to misquote it, I'm not exactly sure, but this guy was amazing. He just made it really interesting, Da'shawn was already kind of interested in that program, but after talking to him he was like, 'Wow, that's exactly what I want to do.' So he does that, then his next trip after that was South Carolina, and that guy for sports management was kind of, meh. So it was like, well that guy wasn't that interesting, and you know Tech doesn't have it, they only have business. Da'shawn was like, 'Well I don't want to have to do business and then minor in, maybe kinesiology, or something, I want to do sports management or sports marketing.' So that really was the only bad thing about Tech in his eyes. If you take football out of it, and say, well I really like these schools, but this place doesn't have my major, even if you're not a football player, maybe I can't go there. So that's just what he's doing. He really wants to cut this thing down as much as possible so there's not like 12 or 13 schools bothering him come his senior year." So is Alabama actually in the mix? I started to see that gaining some traction lately with his top group. "Yeah, I mean it's legit. It's Alabama, Florida, and Michigan. The mystery will be Florida when he goes to visit because he hasn't seen it yet. He likes their staff. He likes TRob (Travaris Robinson, DB coach), he really likes Brad Lawing (Asst head coach, D-line coach), and he likes Muschamp, but there's nothing like going down there and seeing it for himself. So they are kind of the mystery right now. He does like Bama, I mean it's Bama. And he likes Michigan. He does say, I'm not sure he says it publicly, but he does say he has slight interest in LSU and USC. It's not necessarily because he wants to go there, he doesn't want to get anybody's hopes up, but he wouldn't mind seeing what it's all about. I told him, like, what kid your age, that looks like you, doesn't have an interest in Hollywood. (laughs) But overall, that's where he's at."
I tell you what, talking to Coach Harris is an absolute joy. This dude oozes energy and you can tell he has an honest interest in the well-being of Da'shawn and he even told me that he might be the only person, besides Da'shawn's family, that can talk to Da'shawn without an angle. He really does just want what's best for him, and that kind of support system is rare for a lot of kids these days. After speaking with Coach Harris, I truly feel Michigan is the leader right now. Like he said, Bama is Bama. They will always have a lot of pull but Da'shawn hasn't visited Tuscaloosa in over a year, and he's yet to make a trip to Gainesville. Coach Harris told me that Da'shawn would like to make his decision by December, which would be after his senior year and a couple months before National Signing Day.