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Suspense builds on eve of nation’s top recruit’s announcement

Da'Shawn Hand

Tomorrow serves as D-Day for the nation’s top recruit in the Class of 2014.  Will Da’Shawn Hand, um, hand Brady Hoke and Michigan the top two overall prospects in that class, or will one of SEC teams poach a Virginia product long thought to be (somewhat) ticketed for the Big Ten school?

That, of course, is the great unknown, with the five-star defensive end set to make his announcement at noon ET on NBC Sports Network’s SportsDash with Yahoo! Sports and on Rivals.com. Barring an unexpected development over the next 24 hours or so, Hand’s three finalists for a verbal commitment will be favorite Michigan along with Alabama and Florida.

National recruiting expert Mike Farrell of Rivals.com, which will share in the announcement via an Internet stream, reported earlier today that this may actually be a two-team race, writing that “Florida’s game atmosphere and fans calling for Muschamp’s head eliminated them.”  Hand visited Gainesville — he’s also visited Ann Arbor and Tuscaloosa the past two months — and was in attendance for the Gators’ 31-17 loss to Vanderbilt, a drubbing that cranked up the heat on head coach Will Muschamp’s seat.

On-field performance, however, likely doesn’t matter as much to Hand.  Farrell indicated in an interview last week that academics will play the biggest role in the defensive lineman’s decision; that continues to be the theme on the eve of the announcement as Farrell predicts “[i]n a race that comes down to academics as much as athletics, the Wolverines win this one and secure No. 1 to go along with No. 2 Jabrill Peppers.”

In late May, Peppers, a cornerback from New Jersey, announced that he had verbally committed to the Wolverines over a group of finalists that included LSU, Notre Dame, Penn State, home-state Rutgers and Stanford.  Since then, Peppers has served as a de facto recruiter in UM’s pursuit of hand.

In a video posted earlier this week, Peppers made one final Maize & Blue pitch to his buddy.

“Hey, D, listen bro, we need you. You make our class a lot stronger. We have a lot of great recruits on the list already, and you can make us that much stronger. Come get that degree and play top-notch ball in the biggest stadium in college football.”

So, where will Hand ultimately land, at least verbally?  Tune in tomorrow and find out.  After checking your local listings — or entering your zip code HERE — of course.

(Photo credit: Woodbridge (Va.) High School)

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17 Responses to “Suspense builds on eve of nation’s top recruit’s announcement”
  1. beedubyatoo says: Nov 13, 2013 3:05 PM

    No matter who UM signs, the current coaching staff will find a way to screw up their talent.

  2. be4bama says: Nov 13, 2013 3:12 PM

    My money is on BAMA.

  3. floridascuba1 says: Nov 13, 2013 3:32 PM

    i am assuming he hasnt been offered many spots due to academics. unless i am reading to much into it.

  4. microbrewuga says: Nov 13, 2013 3:44 PM

    Maybe he should have considered Vanderbilt…….great school, getting SEC exposure………….and a great city too!

  5. realfootballfan says: Nov 13, 2013 4:14 PM

    I’m sure these two will help Michigan to stop being dominated by Ohio State since they’re neither a program changing QB. But what do I know?

  6. 8to80texansblog says: Nov 13, 2013 4:52 PM

    Sounds like Big Blue is going to have a hella defense in a few years…
    Good thing, because when you’re putting up negative rushing yards against Sparty, you’re gonna need that stout D.

  7. BrownsTown says: Nov 13, 2013 5:25 PM

    “My money is on BAMA.”

    I was going to say something similar, but with some of the words arranged in a different order.

  8. imaduffer says: Nov 13, 2013 5:35 PM

    This is nonsense. I want to know what’s behind door number 3.

  9. irishdodger says: Nov 13, 2013 6:29 PM

    This kid needs to talk to Jim Harbaugh before he makes a mistake and chooses Michigan if academics truly play a role.

  10. midtec2005 says: Nov 13, 2013 7:12 PM

    I don’t even like Michigan and that comment is nonsense, they have great academics.

  11. afrancis55 says: Nov 13, 2013 7:26 PM

    Saban is preparing his checkbook as we speak!

  12. dkhhuey says: Nov 13, 2013 8:12 PM

    Weeks ago I thought it was going to be TSUN – however, things have been seriously been going quite badly and Hoke’s future is being questioned! Not sure if that matters to Hand, but if it does – Bama is his next destination!

  13. rocket1988 says: Nov 13, 2013 11:08 PM

    Michigan is second to last in grad rate. Academic matters don’t matter to them

  14. rolltide510 says: Nov 13, 2013 11:35 PM

    He’s going to Michigan IMO. Seems like they’ve always led for Hand.

  15. rolltide510 says: Nov 13, 2013 11:37 PM

    afrancis55 says:
    Nov 13, 2013 7:26 PM
    Saban is preparing his checkbook as we speak!
    —–

    Saban doesn’t write checks. Straight cash, homie.

  16. Pac12Ute says: Nov 14, 2013 2:07 AM

    @floridascuba1

    He was offered a spot at Stanford, so I don’t believe that his academic standing is an issue.

    On a lighter note, if he’s looking for a degree in Sports Management and Marketing, why aren’t Miami and Auburn topping this kid’s list?

  17. stevequinn says: Nov 14, 2013 10:07 AM

    To ensure future visibility, and play in a competitive conference, the kid should go to an SEC or PAC-12 school. The Big-10 is nothing.

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