Da'Shawn Hand, 5-star defensive end and one of the nation's top recruits, is planning on making his commitment sometime before December.
According to JC Shurburtt of 247Sports.com, who's at The Opening, Hand has decided to "shut down" his recruitment and will head into the heat of the summer and his senior season with a top five and three distinct leaders:
“I closed my recruiting down,” Hand said. “My schools are Bama, Florida, Michigan, USC and LSU. My top three is Bama, Florida and Michigan. Those are the leaders and there’s no order among the three leaders. So other than that, I’ve just been chilling.”
As many have speculated, Hand doesn't plan to go the distance with a decision.
“Before December (I will make a decision),” Hand said. “It will be at my school. If TV wants to come to my school, that would be great, but I want to do it at my school in my auditorium and whoever wants to come can come.”
That's big news for Michigan, Alabama and Florida, in particular, because now the competition has been set. Outside of the outliers of USC and LSU, no other programs will be able to sneak into this recruiting race and make things more complicated than they already are.
The situation could change, but for now it looks to be a five school race, with the big three having a clear advantage.
Shurburtt reports that Hand is looking to officially visit Michigan in September for the Notre Dame game, and one of the three SEC programs should get a visit:
The two SEC programs, however, are angling to get him on campus this month. He has never visited Florida and hasn’t been to Alabama since last summer. No plans have been finalized yet, but he could head to one of three destinations.
“Either Bama or Florida or LSU,” Hand said. “They all three are around the same weekend. I will only going to one (if any). I don’t know which yet. I just need to talk with my dad.”
For those trying to predict the future, Hand's relative certainly about his Michigan official visit is a good sign for the Wolverines.
Michigan has been one of the hottest schools in recruiting this cycle, and Hand's potential commitment would rival that of 5-star athlete Jabrill Peppers' in regard to importance and hype.
According to the 247Sports Crystal Ball feature, 58 percent of 59 experts believe Hand will end up at Michigan, compared to 27 percent for Alabama and 7 percent for Florida.
The SEC school that ends up getting an official visit from Hand could end up being Michigan's biggest competition, but considering the visit is up in the air, the Wolverines have a lot to feel confident about.
As is always the case in recruiting though, keep in mind that things can change, and they can change quickly.