For all intents and purposes, the Michigan Wolverines did everything they could to gain the upper-hand for 5-star defensive end and No. 1 overall recruit Da'Shawn Hand during his visit.
You see what I did there?
Jokes aside, this was a big weekend for Michigan and it was one that could eventually end up drastically impacting the future of Wolverines football. Not only would Hand be a huge addition on the field for Michigan, but his commitment would also be extrodinary for the perception of Michigan football.
Michigan has been on the way back from the doldrums of the college football world ever since Brady Hoke took over. Landing Hand could be that marquee moment for the Hoke regime that signifies that Michigan is indeed back, and that Wolverines fans need to wait no more.
Recruiting the No. 1 overall player would be great for the perception of an up-and-coming coach like Hoke, and where one elite recruit commits, others oftentimes tend to follow.
The good news is, Hand had a ton of good things to say about his recent visit. Here's an excerpt from Adam Friedman of Rivals.com's report on the trip:
Hand was so impressed with his experience in Ann Arbor, he couldn't sum up the trip in just one word.
"Great and fun," said the 6-foot-4, 245-pound Hand. "The town, people, players are really nice. I could really gel with them. They have a lot of team chemistry. It was really great.
Hand also talked about the Big House, per Friedman:
"Today we went to the Big House," he said. "It was my first time being there and it was really big. That experience was so crazy. It was an amazing stadium."
The culture of Michigan football is truly unique, and much of that has to do with the Big House and the surrounding college-town atmosphere that Ann Arbor provides. The fan base is exceptional, knowledgeable and can be found all over the United States and, really, the world.
There's a lot to like about the culture of Michigan football, so I can see why Hand was impressed.
As a football program, the Wolverines have a ton to offer Hand as well. Hoke has done an excellent job of rebuilding the program through recruiting, and he has Michigan set up to be very good in the next few years once the transition to the pro-style offense fully takes place.
Defensively though, Michigan has the chance to be dominant if Hand were to come aboard. Greg Mattison is arguably one of the best defensive coordinators in college football, and Hand could be the big-time pass rusher that the Wolverines have been looking for.
Mattison's presence was also a notable part of Hand's trip, according to a report from Tom VanHaaren of ESPN.com:
Hand is on record saying that Michigan's staff is his favorite overall, but there is one coach that sticks out. One coach that would also happen to be Hand's position coach if he were to choose Michigan. It comes as no surprise that defensive coordinator Greg Mattison is someone Hand looks up to and gravitates towards.
"He's always energetic. That dude is insane. I don't know how old he is, but at heart that dude is 21," he said. "We get there and he is listening to Rihanna and Drake, he was dancing and singing. The players said he's really like that, too. That dude is wild."
The real kicker in the end may have nothing to do with football though, but more so academics. Michigan is a top-notch academic school, and Hand's meeting with the Dean of Sports Management really stood out, according to VanHaaren's report:
The star of the show throughout the whole visit might not have even been on the coaching staff, though. Hand is very focused on academics and initially thought he wanted to go into civil engineering. After meeting with Michigan's Dean of Sports Management, Hand now believes he might be leaning towards a new major.
"That dude knows his stuff. He got me thinking. I thought I wanted to do civil engineering, but I'm thinking that sports management fits my personality," he said. "He gave me so much information that I was blown away, he had me drooling. I wanted to join the class right then and there."
From the outside looking in, I wouldn't hesitate to grade this visit as an A+ for the Wolverines.
They really impressed in the three critical areas—atmosphere, coaching staff and academics—and that's going to end up being a very hard trifecta for other programs on Hand's interest list to overcome.
For the record, Michigan and Virginia Tech are listed as the "warmer interests" on Hand's 247Sports interest list, while Alabama, Florida and South Carolina are all "warm interests."
In regards to the other programs, according to Friedman's report, Hand is planning on visiting all five programs and is "taking it slow," so it may be too soon to jump to any hasty conclusions about who has the edge. Virginia Tech has the "home-state advantage," Alabama is...well...Alabama, Florida's defense has elite potential and South Carolina can point to Jadeveon Clowney as an example of what Hand can accomplish with the Gamecocks.
Everybody has a good pitch, and every program is a great option.
That said, as I pointed out earlier, Michigan does have a ton to offer Hand, and it's hard to read the reports on his visit without coming away with the feeling that it was overwhelmingly positive.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!