Saturday’s clash between Michigan and Notre Dame proved to be a spectacle worthy of all the pregame hype. The two storied programs traded blows in front of a record-setting crowd and nationally televised audience, but the game itself was only part of the action. There were multiple flyovers prior to the game, a salute to the fans from Beyonce on the jumbo screens, the Michigan marching band played a number of her chart toppers, and a light show that illuminated the performance. For the visiting recruits on-hand it was as atmosphere that left them awestruck. That was certainly true of Woodbridge (VA) high star Da'Shawn Hand.
“It went very well,” said Hand’s mentor and former coach John Harris. “The boys got to hang out with (Wilton) Speight after the game. The atmosphere at the game was electric also.”
The boys in question were Hand, 2015 Manassas (VA) Stonewall Jackson DT Tim Settle, and 2015 Woodbridge (VA) C.D. Hylton OT/DT Matthew Burrell. While Speight spent time espousing Michigan’s virtues to all three of them, he focused most of his effort on getting to know the #1 target remaining on the Maize & Blue’s board.
“The coaches put me next to Da’Shawn Hand and they kind of just said, ‘go to work’,” Speight recalled. “But he and I really didn’t talk about recruiting that much. We never really talked about if he was going to come or not. We just kind of talked about everyday life and simple things like that… and kind of got a lot closer than we were before. We all could tell that we made progress because (Hand, Settle, and Burrell) were able to witness the camaraderie and the tight bond that the whole class as of now already has. I think that was probably the biggest part.”
Looking back on the day Speight believes the indirect approach had a major impact.
“I think this is kind of a situation similar to George Campbell,” the future Michigan signal caller explained. “He kind of went a little bit into what jersey number he could wear and stuff like that. I think when you start dipping that much into the whole situation and start to go into detail like that it’s (a positive sign). Certainly he told me some things and we talked late last night about some very positive things in my future and in his. So I think I got a lot of very very positive vibes, but at the same time I want to keep (the specifics of ) what we talked about between us.”
According to Harris, Hand conveyed that same positive Michigan vibe to him.
“(Hand) really enjoyed himself,” said Harris, who was also on the visit. “He really got a chance to enjoy himself.”
Needless to say, Hand’s northern Virginia travel-mates enjoyed themselves immensely also. That said, while the trio is clearly looking at many of the same schools, their decisions are by no means tied to one another.
“The two young guys are just doing research on schools that interest them,” said Harris. “They are all friends so we ride together when we can.”
“We have to work around his Saturdays on the next ones,” Harris said.
Stay tuned to GoBlueWolverine for comments from Hand himself in the coming days.