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Da’Shawn Hand: Michigan’s loss is Alabama’s gain

Brady Hoke, Nick Saban AP

The general consensus Thursday morning was that Da’Shawn Hand, the nation’s No. 1 recruit, would play his college ball at Michigan. Brady Hoke’s staff was expected to land the nation’s two top recruits, with Hand joining No. 2 overall prospect Jabril Peppers, a defensive back from New Jersey.

But, like everything in college football the last three years, it all came back to Alabama.

“It was hard, but I think I made the right decision,” Hand said. “Roll Tide.”

Hand would’ve been a game-changing recruit for a program like Michigan. Adding him and Peppers to the mix in 2014 could’ve been a boon for Michigan’s BCS hopes, even with both players seeing their first collegiate snaps.

For Alabama, he adds to the ever-growing talent pool in Tuscaloosa.

“I know when I go in, I’m not going to No. 1 on the depth chart, and I know I gotta do a lot of hard work,” Hand said. “But they have the most freshmen playing this year, so anything’s possible.”

No doubt this one stings for Brady Hoke and his coaching staff. At 6-3 and with games at Northwestern and Iowa preceding a season-ending home game vs. Ohio State, Michigan isn’t in great shape. After beating Notre Dame in Week 2, it was hard to imagine this team sputtering to what could be a 7-5 finish. A year ago, Michigan went 8-5.

Hoke isn’t, and shouldn’t be, on the hot seat in Ann Arbor just yet. But landing Hand and Peppers in the same class could’ve positioned Michigan extremely well in a weak conference dominated by their rival to the south.

South Carolina hadn’t won 10 games since 1984 before Jadeveon Clowney — 2011’s No. 1 recruit — came to Columbia. In Clowney’s first two seasons on campus, South Carolina went 11-2; the Gamecocks are 7-2 and likely will make it three consecutive 10-win seasons with a victory over Clemson or in their bowl game.

Of course, there are plenty of other factors that’ve gone into that success beyond just Clowney — the emergence of Marcus Lattimore, for example.

But these No. 1 recruits are game-changers, especially for programs spinning their wheels a bit (side note: Michigan made the 2012 Sugar Bowl less on merit and more on fanbase; eligible teams in Boise State, Kansas State and Baylor all ranked ahead of Michigan in the final regular season BCS standings).

Perhaps Peppers can turn Michigan around on his own. But that’s not an easy task for any single player, let alone a defensive back.

Instead, the game-changing Hand goes to a program not in need of a game-changer. He’ll likely help widen the gap between Alabama and everyone else. Specifically looking at Hand’s choices, he’ll also help widen the gulf between the SEC and Big Ten.

While Hand talked up Alabama’s academics — he’ll major in civil engineering — Michigan brought excellent academics to the table. The difference-maker, then, become this: Two straight national championships, three in four years and a possible three-peat clinched in January.

It’s tough for any program to compete with that.

“Why not go where it’s a great possibility that you can win a national championship,” Hand said. “I’m just excited. Roll Tide.”

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40 Responses to “Da’Shawn Hand: Michigan’s loss is Alabama’s gain”
  1. jdbaker01 says: Nov 14, 2013 2:41 PM

    I can’t wait to see what Kirby Smart does with this guy. Should be special.

  2. mcg1848 says: Nov 14, 2013 2:45 PM

    Wake me up in February when he signs his LOI.

  3. packerbadger says: Nov 14, 2013 2:51 PM

    OBVIOUSLY he’s not going to school to get an edjamacation! lol! Michigan doesn’t have classes at the 6th grade level whereas Alabama does. I wonder what his “signing bonus” was/is….lol! SECheat!!

  4. classyjacklambert says: Nov 14, 2013 2:51 PM

    This is a ridiculous spectacle.

  5. dietrich43 says: Nov 14, 2013 3:00 PM

    He wants to major in engineering, and he didn’t go to Michigan. Must be a smart kid.

  6. packerbadger says: Nov 14, 2013 3:14 PM

    dietrich43 says:Nov 14, 2013 3:00 PM

    He wants to major in engineering, and he didn’t go to Michigan. Must be a smart kid.
    Building LEGO roads and buildings does NOT constitute engineering at Michigan; at Alabama, quite possibly, but definitely NOT at Michigan. He made more on his $aban….er signing bonus than he will as an engineer.

  7. thegamecocker says: Nov 14, 2013 3:22 PM

    Not a bad choice for Hand…but his orange colored hair? Whatever….

  8. pricecube says: Nov 14, 2013 3:37 PM

    Looks like he already got his T-Town Menswear suit!

  9. noaxetogrind says: Nov 14, 2013 3:37 PM

    @ packerbadger, alright you win, I’ll take the bait. Hand doesn’t go to the school you wanted him to go to so you steal the narrative and turn it into a discussion on the relative merits of Michigan’s engineering program as oppossed to Alabama’s. You are correct Michigan’s program is on the whole ranked higher than Alabama’s. In fact both Michigan and Florida’s programs are ranked higher than Alabama’s. That being said, perhaps when the kid looked at the total package, especially considering that at this current point in his life he probably see’s himself playing the NFL for a living, is this decision really hard for you to grasp. I am not an Alabama fan by any means but I am objective. Let me see, 3 out of the last 4 National Championships, plays in the best conference in the country that leads the nation in attendance, number of players going to the pros and All Americans. Better weather and closer to home. I would say that based on probability, the kid has a better chance of getting an engineering degree, winning a national championship and being a high draft pick by going to Alabama than by going to Michigan. You can sling mud all you want but the more you talk, the more you make this kid look smart.

  10. Deb says: Nov 14, 2013 3:48 PM

    The jealousy from B1G fans on these threads is palpable. The guy is the Number One football recruit in the nation. Even a B1G fan should be able to absorb that he probably wants to play pro ball. Alabama has won three of the last four national titles and is on pace to play in a third consecutive title game. He has a reputation among NFL scouts for having his players game ready. He’s had 14 first-round picks in the last six years.

    If you want to play in the NFL, it makes sense that you’d look seriously at Alabama. How ironic that these fools are making fun of this kid’s intellect because he made a wise choice for his career ambitions.

  11. halbert53 says: Nov 14, 2013 3:57 PM

    Strange no one was bad mouthing this kid earlier today before he announced his choice. He’ll be playing on defense with a DL from a school near me who committed to Bama.

  12. jason1214 says: Nov 14, 2013 4:09 PM

    Hey Big 10 whiners…… do realize if you take away OSU beating Miami, you’d be 0-fer in BCS title games right? sit down and shut up already.
    Secondly, for those wanting to argue educational merits, if you really think most of these kids are going to schools for an education, the joke is on you. They are going to certain universities cause they want to play in the NFL.
    @PackerBadger, where was your program before Barry Alvarez?……exactly.


  13. be4bama says: Nov 14, 2013 4:18 PM


  14. dcroz says: Nov 14, 2013 4:42 PM

    Ah, packerbadger. We’ve so missed your wit and wisdom. Back to regale us with more insight into how we Southerners drag our knuckles on the ground as we walk, yet we’re absolute geniuses when it comes to having the available cash to buy players? Yes, we’ve been waiting impatiently for your return and are so happy to see that your longed-for arrival has come at last!

    (By the way, that was sarcasm, in case you were wondering.)

  15. rocket1988 says: Nov 14, 2013 4:47 PM

    This kid doesn’t value education, that was at best a smokescreen to his true choice. The NFL.

  16. dhardy8207 says: Nov 14, 2013 4:58 PM

    First Roll Tide and WELCOME TO BAMA De’Shawn!!

    Secondly, For those wanting to spout about education might want to reflect on 2 key facts;

    1) Graduation rates are higher since Saban took over in 2007..

    2) Right now there are 13 active players on BAMA’s roster that have ALREADY GRADUATED!!!

  17. wvucolumbus says: Nov 14, 2013 5:04 PM

    I’ve gotta admit that I’m impressed w/ Brady Hoke. How in the world was Michigan even in the discussion? This is a fine university located in a northern climate that once relied on the fact that it was always on TV…prior to ALL programs being on TV. The kid is from VA.

    Kudos to Michigan for its attempt to get this kid. That’s really impressive for a state and program that has fallen on tough times (excluding the 42-39 OSU year) over the past decade.

  18. imaduffer says: Nov 14, 2013 5:08 PM

    And this is one of the reasons why Coach Saban will never leave the college ranks for the pros. With college football you can have all the number 1 picks.

    Also you have to hand it to this young man for making a wise choice of where he wanted to play football.

  19. wvucolumbus says: Nov 14, 2013 5:09 PM

    Programs like Wisconsin and Michigan will never succeed on a long term scale due to geographic isolation from sunbelt recruiting areas. It’s jaw-dropping how significant the demographic shifts to South and West have influenced college football (much moreso than college hoops). Meanwhile, Ohio State will continue to be the only respectable B1G program on an annual basis (Michigan will have occasional solid years) due to the massive population in the state of Ohio and its great ability to recruit FLA.

  20. buryyourduke says: Nov 14, 2013 5:33 PM

    It’s interesting how many people underestimate and dismiss Alabama’s academics. I guess because it’s a southern school and we are all dummies?

  21. halbert53 says: Nov 14, 2013 6:25 PM

    Tom Brady, arguably best NFL QB of all time, attended UM, drafted low rounds by Patriots, chump change for rookie contract.

    Peyton Manning, similar caliber NFL QB, attended TN in SEC, 1st pick and got top dollar in rookie contract.

    JaMarcus Russell, arguably worst NFL QB in history, played at LSU in SEC, got $40 million rookie contract.

    And people question why this kid chose Alabama over Michigan?

    If I rank in the top 10% nationally on the ACT or SAT, especially in science and math, I would attend the best engineering school I could get an academic scholarship to and would not risk concussions or other injuries by playing FB.

    But if I’m basically a B student, I’m probably going to struggle trying to balance FB and academics in an “elite” engineering program. In that case, I would go to the school I thought would best prepare me to play my position in the NFL and get a good education.

    There are great NFL players from lots of schools and conferences, traditional powers and below the radar schools. For a defensive player who aspires to play in the NFL, it’s tough to argue with Bama.

  22. desal2ds says: Nov 14, 2013 6:31 PM

    SEC fans,

    So you paid another high school kid. I think it’s shameful what you SEC freaks are trying to do Jameis Winston using your immoral ways to smear a 19 year old kid because he might beat you in January. I have no doubt some wealth SECer is behind that smear campaign

  23. Deb says: Nov 14, 2013 6:42 PM

    @desal2ds …

    This is new. Everyone else thinks Urban is trying to smear Winston. Yes, after seven straight titles, the SEC needs TMZ to beat its opponents.

    Bless your heart. I’m sure there must be meds for your condition.

  24. Deb says: Nov 14, 2013 6:50 PM

    imaduffer says:

    And this is one of the reasons why Coach Saban will never leave the college ranks for the pros. With college football you can have all the number 1 picks.


    Excellent observation–and I think there’s a lot of truth to it. Nick’s a tremendous recruiter, but that skill is wasted in the NFL. You have to be a great judge of talent, but so much depends on the luck of the draw and wise cap management. A lot of my team’s current troubles can be traced to a series of unproductive drafts that have left us with a big talent deficit. Much tougher to turn around those situations in the pros.

  25. halbert53 says: Nov 14, 2013 6:56 PM

    The meds he needs is some Windex for his navel.

  26. gfunk5299 says: Nov 14, 2013 9:11 PM

    This is getting soo old. The NFL is most popular sport for one main reason…

    Competitive balance.

    College sports both football and basketball are severely lacking balance and it is starting to show.

    BCS ratings are dropping, substantially less fan interest in bowl games.

    Yawn, wake me up one someone outside of an SEC school has a decent recruiting class. Maybe I will start paying attention to the sport again.

    Until then, cheer for my team and ignore the rest. It really doesn’t matter. So Alabama is going to play in the next three or four National Championships. Wow, soo exciting. meh.

    I do miss the days when I could enjoy watching college gameday. Oh well…

  27. amosalanzostagg says: Nov 14, 2013 9:25 PM

    Maybe Deshawn Hand remembered this play and said, “WTF play for a mediocre school in a weak conference when I can be on the NATIONAL stage playing for National Championships and improve my chances to male it to the NFL?”

    The SEC can’t help it when great talent wants to be with great coaches and other great talent.

    Oh, the greatest NFL quarterback ever is Alabama’s
    Bart Starr, with 5 World Championships and didn’t have to CHEAT in order to win them, like Brady did.


  28. 10kmp says: Nov 14, 2013 9:27 PM


    As a B1G alum (Ohio State) -under graduate and graduate – it’s hard for me to say that I agree with the essence of some of your post… but I do. Alabama, by a wide margin, is a tremendous program. Saban is a great college football coach. Having said that, you’re off base (again) specific to two of your points. First, despite your implication that B1G fans are stupid (my word not yours), well, I say the SEC doesn’t have a leg to stand on academically, and if I were you I’d avoid insulting the intellect of a group of people who, collectively, are a bit brighter than those with whom you claim association. Ohio State is academically superior to Alabama, which means that Michigan is VASTLY superior to Alabama academically (as much as it pains me to say that). In addition, in a state (Alabama) where interracial marriage was illegal only a decade ago, and at a university (Alabama) where its students believe, in 2013, that sororities should be segregated, well, “intellect” isn’t exactly what “you people” are known for. Now this is is a college football site, not an academic/morality discussion forum, so I’ll move on from the intellect/redneck debate and onto football. Ohio State is jealous of no program. It is one of the five most storied, tradition laden programs in the history of this sport (as is Alabama). I give all the credit in the world to Alabama’s program and its current seat atop the college football world. Your smugness, however, is insulting (as always). I admire Alabama / Saban and their accomplishments over the past several seasons. It’s quite impressive, and to refute that would be pure folly. Having said that, how “ironic” it is that someone who runs her mouth more than anyone on this site could be so off base in her assertions. I’m certain I can “absorb” why Hand chose Alabama. It’s basic really. I’m also certain what you call “jealousy” is competitive admiration. Just as, I’m sure, Alabama fans had admiration for the Buckeyes during the DuBose-Franchione-Shula decade long debacle that ended only six years ago… or maybe you didn’t. Someone who attended a school that seems stuck in 1955 might not be bright enough “absorb” what I’m saying.

  29. vikingapologist says: Nov 14, 2013 9:42 PM

    I thought he would have chosen #25 ranked minnesota gophers, dude this program is on the rise, will be the future of BG10 football :)-
    Gopher Nation

  30. Deb says: Nov 14, 2013 10:38 PM

    @10kmp …

    My comment–and all the sarcastic references contained therein–was directed solely to a specific group of poor sports posting nasty comments about my team on this thread. These same dimwits always post the same nonsense about the SEC, SEC teams, and Southerners.

    I am not the only person who responded to these trolls, and it was clear from my post that I was responding to them. So obviously, you just wanted to lash out at me for whatever misogynistic reasons lurk in your dark little brain. I have been posting here almost as long as there’s been a here and am quite used to Neanderthals and their dark little brains. It’s funny, though, because even though I’m smug and run my mouth more than anyone on this site, I have never trolled B1G threads to slam any B1G teams, coaches, players, or conference academics, have always been respectful of the B1G’s place in the history of the sport, and was one of the few people from any conference that defended Ohio State during the Tressel controversy.

    So you’ve had your rant, told everyone how awful I am and what a smart Ohio State grad you are, made a host of erroneous and stereotypical assumptions (I was raised on Bama football but went to Mizzou and am a lifelong civil rights advocate), and demonstrated that OSU’s English Department doesn’t teach the value of paragraph breaks. All in all … I’m sure you feel like a mighty Big Man.


  31. be4bama says: Nov 14, 2013 10:41 PM

    I knew you’d get him. You go girl :-)

  32. amosalanzostagg says: Nov 14, 2013 11:06 PM


    You have absolutely NO knowledge of what you THINK you know.

    First of all, why not ask the multitude of Jewish graduates that were admitted to the University of Alabama for DECADES before Northern schools even thought of admitting Jews?

    Second, why not ask the black sororities and black fraternities on all the University of Alabama system campuses, including Tuscaloosa, that ENDORSED the segregation of the entire fraternity and sorority systems in a “separate but equal” with both black, white and Hispanic chapters recognizing each other, but keeping their distinctive, historical chapters. You need to look at the extensive black sororities and fraternities that are at Ohio State University and tell me that they are not only segregated, but VERY proud of their own unique history and charters.

    Third, Jim Crow died decades ago. The vote on interracial marriage was more about
    an increase in taxes and limiting educational choices rather than eliminating deadwood language in the Alabama constitution. Alabama had interracial marriages back in the mid 60’s when I went to school. Guess what? No one raised a stink about them

    The actual election was about this.,_Amendment_4_(2012)

    Is racism alive? Yep, and the worst I have personally witnessed in my life is in the North and Northeast.

    My late wife’s father was one of those Jewish students who attended Tuscaloosa in the late 30’s’s when he could not be admitted to Northern schools because of his Jewish surname. When one of his sons married a mulatto girl from Birmingham, the community in Alabama, both black and white embraced them because of what
    they did for the community, not for their skin color.

    Your misguided perceptions unfortunately are the reality in today’s world based on your myopic view of what you THINK you know rather than ACTUAL facts.

    If you are an example of the product of the Ohio State system, I don’t want ANYTHING to do with such a narrow minded and closed caste society.


  33. wvucolumbus says: Nov 15, 2013 8:36 AM

    I’ve spent time in the North and in the South. There is no doubt just as much racism/bigotry in the North and I would honestly say it’s worse where I live in Columbus, OH.

  34. stevequinn says: Nov 15, 2013 9:25 AM

    The kid made a smart move. Better SEC or Pac-12 football than the Big-10. More competitive, more visibility, and, at Alabama, more appearances in the National Championship Game.

    Can’t debate the education programs of the respective conferences but, I understand Hand had an offer from Stanford so he must have the grades to qualify. I also believe he wants to major in Engineering which indicates he’s a lot smarter than people here seem to think he is.

    Sure wish he would have chosen Missouri.

  35. mediocrebob says: Nov 15, 2013 10:04 AM

    Big10 is a joke. Hand made the right choice.

  36. dhardy8207 says: Nov 15, 2013 11:06 AM

    10kmp says;

    “In addition, in a state (Alabama) where interracial marriage was illegal only a decade ago, and at a university (Alabama) where its students believe, in 2013, that sororities should be segregated, well, “intellect” isn’t exactly what “you people” are known for.”


    Wow, you sure got that “I’m a Bigot” hat on today.. Yes indeed racism at it’s finest right there with that “you people” label you put on Alabamians…

    Just a BAMA peasant here, born and raised redneck that crossed the racial boundaries back in the mid 80s. The law might have still been on the “books” however no one stood in our way to get a marriage certificate. Lots of states, even those above the Mason Dixon line have old laws on the books that are no longer enforced.

    “Someone who attended a school that seems stuck in 1955 might not be bright enough “absorb” what I’m saying.”

    Now as to the above comment you sir are just stereotyping. Anyone with such historical knowledge should know that the University of Alabama withstood the dark days of segregation in the 60’s. The growth from that era is evident by all the african american players you currently see taking the field and the many multi racial students that currently attend the university and those that have graduated. It is not so much the State of Alabama that hasn’t progressed, its the rest of the country that refuses to acknowledge the strides this state has made to move beyond those years and practices of that time. It is much easier to hang on to stereotypes and pass times than it is admit that there has been great change and rightfully some areas that still need to see change. That however could be said for any state in this nation…

  37. dkhhuey says: Nov 15, 2013 2:43 PM

    It makes me laugh how just about every single thread on this board results in a B1G vs SEC pissing match! I could care less about the conference argument because it is pointless to me! I do get a kick out of watching the butthurt when something happens to TSUN just as they chuckle when it happens to us! Other than that, I only care what happens when OSU takes the field against that team on that day! They play one team at a time, not the entire conference and they represent The Ohio State University – not the entire conference!

    Congrats to Alabama – if he turns out to be a superstar over the next few years – outstanding!!! If he doesn’t – there will be others! That is the way it works in recruiting young high schoolers – sometimes the 5 stars are a bust while the 2-3 stars are the studs… you roll the bones and take your chances!!!

  38. edcolton says: Nov 16, 2013 12:16 AM

    Look at the record of the SEC over the Big (Little) Ten. Records speak. 4 to 5 teams in SEC could easily beat Ohio State.

  39. michiganfan1 says: Nov 16, 2013 1:57 AM

    hate my computer – grrr

    to finish

    Saben holds Alabama together – Texas or USC may steal him – then he will wallow the disarray

    He showed a lack of leadership he took the easy road – its not what Michigan needs – Michigan needs more than talent – it needs leadership, people that want to take the reins are leaders, people that want to hide in the shadows notea so much

    The orange hair – yea he is not Michigan material

  40. clemsonstillsucks says: Nov 18, 2013 2:01 AM

    @ packerbadger

    I have to agree with noaxe…he didn’t choose Michigan because…drum roll, please…Michigan sucks at football compared to Alabama.

    Is that hard to comprehend?

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