Da'Shawn Hand is one of the most heavily recruited prospects in the country, and yet he has done an amazingly good job of keeping the distracting attention at arm’s length. These days other people talk about his recruitment more than he does. Maybe that’s because not much has changed. His previously announced top five of Michigan, Alabama, Virginia Tech, Florida and South Carolina is the same, and no decision is on the horizon. As flattering as all the social media prodding from fans and other recruits to move things along is, Hand has perfected the art of tuning it all out. When he talks recruiting he does it with coaches and mostly over the phone
“Twitter, Facebook, all that man… it’s crazy,” said Hand. “I don’t even go on it. I don’t send a direct message anymore unless I get a notification from somebody I know. I’m a ghost. For real… I’ve been a ghost. I have just been kind of chilling, just deciphering everything because the time is getting closer and closer and there is a lot of stuff going on as far as colleges and all that stuff. All I’m doing now is just cutting, cutting, cutting, and cutting. That is the process that I’m going through right now is just cutting, cutting, cutting, and cutting.”
Cutting not from his top five, but from the long list of other suitors that he has been keeping alive on the periphery.
“I don’t want to play no games or anything,” Hand explained. “I don’t want to hold nobody’s time up. If I’m not interested, I’m not going to come off like a jerk or anything, but I’m going to tell the straight up before they even give me the spiel or anything… just say, ‘look man, I ain’t interested.’”
On the other hand he hopes to tell those he is interested in when he plans to visit. Lately that has been a prevalent topic in the Hand household.
“Me and my dad are talking about that right now,” he stated. “Basically what schools I’m still interested in and I want to see. After that I’ll narrow it down. I ain’t going on that many visits this summer. I have a select few.”
One of those could be a return trip to Ann Arbor in July for the annual Barbecue at the Big House.
“(The Michigan coaches) have been talking about it,” said Hand. “I haven’t heard the date yet. I don’t know the exact date but when I get the date, I can see what’s up.”
Even if he is unable to make it back to the Great Lake State this summer, he knows it’d just be a matter of time before he is there for his official. He’s already looking forward to seeing the Big House filled to capacity. He’s also looking forward to the opportunity to have more face time with a coach that has emerged as one of his definite favorites, Michigan defensive coordinator Greg Mattison.
“That dude is not 65… I’m telling you this,” Hand exclaimed laughingly. “That dude is about like 20, I’m telling you. That dude has no age, man. I don’t know how old he is. That dude can hang with the best of them. He is just so energetic. At first I thought he was putting on a front, like, ‘(coaches) don’t do that like this in practice.’ You know how coaches just try to kiss your butt during the recruitment process and everything. So I’m thinking, ‘that’s what he is trying to do, he is trying to kiss my butt saying he is the nicest guy in the world.’ But I was talking to alumni that actually went to the school when he was coaching and they were like, ‘no man, everywhere he went he was really like that.’ It’s crazy. It’s like what you see is what you get from the Michigan coaching staff.”
That appreciation for lack of pretense may stem from the fact that Hand himself is the same way. It’s one of the traits that look for most in the coaches he chooses to play for. That certainly will matter a great deal more than some of the factors that other prospects emphasize, like the number of players being taken at his position.
“I don’t care if they take two ends, three ends, four ends… it don’t matter,” Hand said confidently. “If I want to go to the school I’m going to outwork whoever.”
“Honestly, I’m a competitor. When I get to college it’s like starting from ground zero. I don’t care about this rankings stuff. All I know is that I’m a competitor. I’ve got a hunger, desire, and drive to beat out anyone. I am telling you, I’m going to work.”