Sam Webb: Just talk about the experience today. How did it go for you out there?
Da'Shawn Hand: “Man, I felt great. I was just talking to my dad and my coach… man, I feel like I’m in game shape. I feel better than I have before (in) my freshman, sophomore, or junior year. I’m just ready to go.”
Sam Webb: This is business as usual for you. You come to these things and you tend to dominate. Have you been in a situation where you really felt like you got challenged? Do you feel like you got challenged out here today?
Da'Shawn Hand: “Yeah. There were a lot of good offensive linemen here, a lot of competition. There were some big boys, and they did a good job out here, and there’s always competition.”
Sam Webb: Obviously you’ve worked a ton on your technique, and you’re in great shape – what did you learn from today’s experience?
Da'Shawn Hand: “Just to let them read you, I mean, you don’t know everything, and stay low.”
Sam Webb: I know you have been kind of incognito, not just with the media, but also with coaches… you put the recruiting thing on the back burner. Is it starting to pick back up for you a little bit now?
Da'Shawn Hand: “Just a little bit, but I’m about to shut it all down come August after I take my visits – I’m going to be taking a visit to Florida, USC, LSU, and Alabama. After that, that’s when I’m going to put it on hold. I’ll probably get done with all my visits by August; that’s what my goal is.”
Sam Webb: You mentioned that you were going to be trimming your list at some point here soon. Is that still in the cards for you?
Da'Shawn Hand: “It is, but I’m just taking my time. I’m not rushing or anything. I’m not going to change my list to the media or anything, just in my mind, and when I’m ready to come out with it, I’ll come out.”
Sam Webb: Has your top five changed at all?
Sam Webb: So give me an idea as far as Michigan is concerned, what has the contact been like with them here recently? Like you said, I know you’ve been shutting it down. Have you maintained contact with them?
Da'Shawn Hand: “Yeah, I’ve been maintaining contact with everybody almost. I think last week I talked to everybody, and you know, everybody’s on the same boat, and they’re good schools.”
Sam Webb: So as you put recruiting on the back burner, obviously things are really hot for them (in recruiting), things are cooking. Are you paying attention at all to the recruiting class – and not just that (Michigan is) putting together, but that all these schools are putting together? Are you looking at that kind of thing?
Da'Shawn Hand: “Yeah, man, I mean, South Carolina, they really haven’t been putting anything together. I’ve been keeping up with their recruiting. But I know Alabama, they always have the recruits, you know... Reuben (Foster) and all them. Florida, I mean, they have the Florida boys. Michigan, they have Jabrill (Peppers) and they’ve got Michael Ferns, and the quarterback (Wilton Speight). Virginia Tech, they have Craig Harris, so they got the cornerback, and yeah, they have a couple people.”
Sam Webb: You mentioned Jabrill, and that’s not any coincidence. I’ve talked to a number of the recruits in Michigan’s recruiting class, and they say ‘I’ve tried to talk to Da'Shawn, but he’s not really into the whole talking about coming to school with me.’ But one guy, Jabrill Peppers, said ‘hey, yeah, that’s my guy, I talk to Da'Shawn Hand.’ So talk to me about the vibe with Jabrill there a little bit.
Da'Shawn Hand: “That’s my man, you know? I’m from Philly, and he’s from Jersey, so we kind of have that little tri-state thing going on. But yeah, that’s my dude, Jabrill, man, what’s up? I never did that in an interview before… but yeah, what’s up man?
Sam Webb: He said every big time corner need a great defensive lineman. Every great defensive lineman needs a big time corner. Do you kind of agree with that? Is that a necessary nexus to have?
Da'Shawn Hand: “That’s a good quote right there; that’s a good quote. That’s all I’m going to say. That’s a good quote.”
Sam Webb: Seriously, do you talk to other recruits? Forget just Michigan recruits, but do you talk to other recruits about going to school with them? Is that something that you consider, or is that another thing that you tune out?
Da'Shawn Hand: “I kind of tune it out, you know. I don’t go out to recruit people or anything, but people come recruit me. I don’t blow them off or anything, because everybody’s a cool person and everything, and everybody’s friends or whatever, but at time same time, I’m on my own time. If I do come to a school, that’s when I’ll recruit too, so that’s it.”
Sam Webb: Is being part of a big time class, is that something – regardless of who’s in it – is that something that’s appealing to you?
“I mean, hey, wherever I want to go is where I want to go, so that’s about it. I’m going to have to play with anybody I commit to. “
Sam Webb: You mentioned four schools that you were definitely going to take a visit to this summer. I know when we talked back in the spring there was a potential for you to maybe make it up to Michigan, and you talked about making the barbecue. Is that something –
Da'Shawn Hand: “Yeah, the barbecue, when is that?”
Sam Webb: Supposed to be the end of July.
Da'Shawn Hand: “End of July. Hey man, you never know. I’m not going to say anything about it, but if I do go, you’ll see me there.”
Sam Webb: As we look into the fall (after) you take these four visits; decision timeline. Is it just a feel thing, or are you going to just when the season starts say, ‘there’s no recruiting,’ and you wait until after the season to make a decision?
Da'Shawn Hand: “My goal is try to make a decision before December, so that’s kind of my goal. At first I was going to stretch it out, but then after talking with my pop, you know, we kind of had a heart to heart. I kind of have to make up my mind, and it’s a big decision, but at the same time, I kind of have a gist of knowing where I’m going, but I’m not going to say that.”
Sam Webb: You say relationships are huge for you. You’ve been a big Bud Foster guy for as long as I’ve been talking to you, and recently you’ve been talking a little bit about Coach Mattison as well. Give me an idea of what it’s been like with Coach Mattison. As much as I’ve talked to you, I know you love Coach Foster, but it seems like you really like Coach Mattison a lot now too.
Da'Shawn Hand: “Oh yeah, Coach Mattison – that dude, man, I don’t know old he is, at heart though, he’s like 20. That dude can go, and man, their whole coaching staff. That’s my favorite coaching staff! I’m telling you, just their whole coaching staff is just cool. Foster, he’s a good dude, but I got my favorites there, you know, Will Muschamp, Brad Lawing, Coach Lance, Coach Kirby, and I mean, Coach Rumph at Alabama. At South Carolina, Coach Deke Adams, he’s a good dude… and Coach Ward, he’s the defensive coordinator, he’s a good dude, and he’s funny too. So I have relationships in all of the schools."
Sam Webb: You saw how Jabrill (committed). He got on national television –
Da'Shawn Hand: “And rapped.”
Sam Webb: And rapped. How is Da'Shawn Hand going to announce his decision?
Da'Shawn Hand: “I mean, I might bust out a little freestyle or two, you know me, but no, no, I’m just going to do it conventional, man, be at my school, whoever shows up shows up. I’ll have one hat, or helmet or something –“
Sam Webb: So it’s not going to be a whole lot of pomp and circumstance?
Da'Shawn Hand: “No, no. I hope it’ll be on TV though, I mean, that’s cool. If TV comes to my school, that would be what’s up.”
Sam Webb: Ok, that surprises me, man.
Da'Shawn Hand: “Yeah, that’s just a childhood dream. I mean, I don’t want it to be all fancy and everything, but at the same time, I do want to be on TV, like you know, be hooked up with a mic and everything. “