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

40 Comments

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.”

Maryland QB Kasim Hill suffers second torn ACL in last 14 months

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Last September, Kasim Hill‘s season came to a premature end thanks to a torn ACL in his right knee.  During Saturday’s loss to Indiana, Hill suffered what appeared to be a significant injury to his other knee.

In fact, in an Instagram post Monday, the Maryland starting quarterback intimated that it was yet another torn ACL as he alluded to  “attacking the process all over again.”

Tuesday, acting head coach Matt Canada confirmed that Hill had indeed suffered another torn ACL.  Obviously, the sophomore’s season has come to an end.

Hill had started all 10 games under center for the Terrapins this season.  He completed under 50 percent of his 170 passes for nine touchdowns and four interceptions.  His passing efficiency rating of 115.7 is 10th in the Big Ten and 100th nationally.

Sophomore Tyrrell Pigrome is expected to take over for Hill as the Terps’ starting quarterback.

Urban Meyer: Ohio State looking into legal action over report

Getty Images
1 Comment

With its reputation battered earlier this year because of the Zach Smith imbroglio, Ohio State has come out swinging at a new report that surfaced Tuesday morning involving the former wide receivers coach.

In a story posted by college football reporter Brett McMurphy to WatchStadium.com, the father of former OSU wide receiver Trevon Grimes claimed that Smith called his son a “bitch ass [N-word]” during practice in late September of last year.  In the report, McMurphy intimated that head coach Urban Meyer attempted to cover-up the incident by flying down to Grimes’ home in Florida in October of 2017 and promising the player OSU would allow him to transfer anywhere if he didn’t go public with the allegations; conversely, OSU officials claimed that the trip was made solely to support the player and his mother, who was going through a serious health issue at the time.

Appearing on Tuesday’s Big Ten coaches’ teleconference hours after the report surfaced, Meyer described himself as “irate” when he first learned of the allegations made in the report. The head coach called the report “the most preposterous thing” he’s witnessed during his time as a college football coach.

Additionally, Meyer stated that legal action is an option he and the university are considering.

Current and former Buckeyes football players spent Tuesday morning lashing out at the report, claiming there is no racism in the OSU program.  In very strong statements, both OSU president Michael Drake and athletic director Gene Smith vehemently defended Meyer, with the former calling the allegations of racism “outrageous and false” and the latter labeling the accusations “unequivocally false.”

Colorado AD says he has made no decision on Mike MacIntyre’s future

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Given the opportunity to refute a report regarding the future of his football program, Colorado athletic director Rick George instead poured gasoline on the situation with his choice of words.

Overnight, a report surfaced that CU would part ways with head football coach Mike MacIntyre at season’s end.  In response to the report, George stated that no decision on the football program’s has been made.

We do comment on speculation or unsubstantiated rumors with anonymous sources.  Let me just say I have made no decisions regarding the future of our football program.

Based on a new deal agreed to in January of last year and approved five months later, CU would owe MacIntyre a buyout in excess of $10 million if he’s fired without cause.

In five-plus seasons with the Buffaloes, MacIntyre has posted a 30-43 record overall and 14-38 in Pac-12 play.  Coming off a 5-7 season in 2017, the Buffs won their first five games of the season and climbed to 19th in the Associated Press Top 25.  However, they’ve dropped five straight since then, with three of the five losses coming by 10 or more points.

Colorado will play its home finale this weekend against Pac-12 South leader Utah before closing out the regular season at Cal a week later.  The Buffaloes need to win at least one of those games to reach bowl eligibility.

ESPN-owned Myrtle Beach Bowl to debut in 2020

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Another bowl game.  Yippie???

Tuesday afternoon, the MAC and Conference USA announced the creation of the Myrtle Beach Bowl, which will first be played following the 2020 regular season.  The postseason game will be owned and operated by ESPN and will be played at 21,000-seat Brooks Stadium, home of the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers.

There will be three conference tie-ins to the bowl game: the two already mentioned as well as the Sun Belt.  Each league will play in the Myrtle Beach Bowl four times over the six years of the current contract.

“Myrtle Beach will be a great addition to the Mid-American Conference bowl line-up, and a destination we have been actively pursuing to develop a bowl game,” said MAC commissioner Dr. Jon Steinbrecher in a statement. “A family-friendly destination with outstanding facilities for competition, entertainment, and lodging, Myrtle Beach is very accessible by ground or air transportation from throughout our geographic footprint. I have no doubt our student-athletes, staff, and fans will have a unique and exceptional experience at the Grand Strand. The Mid-American Conference is appreciative of the efforts of ESPN Events and the Myrtle Beach Area Convention and Visitors Bureau in bringing this exciting new bowl game to fruition.”

At the moment, it’s unclear if this new bowl will replace an existing bowl or if it’ll simply be added to a lineup that currently consists of 782 postseason games.