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Monday, March 18, 2013
Da'Shawn Hand recaps Michigan visit

By Tom VanHaaren

Michigan had the opportunity to host ESPN's junior of the year, defensive end Da'Shawn Hand (Woodbridge, Va./Woodbridge) Friday through Sunday, giving the Wolverines an opportunity to impress. Hand tweeted how much he loved Ann Arbor, but the visit overall was something to remember for Hand.

"Everybody was just genuine. Everybody was nice and got along with each other," he said. "They are all cool and down to earth. It was like I've known them for years."

Going into the visit Hand was hoping to find out if Ann Arbor was a place that he could feel comfortable -- if he could see himself living in Michigan and on campus. He had the opportunity to see what the University had to offer and came away with a strong feeling of positivity.

"I love the atmosphere there. I obviously have to go to more schools, but I have good feelings about Michigan," he said. "Michigan is a good school, that's how I feel."

He was accompanied by one of his coaches and his father, and while they didn't have specific questions they wanted to get answered, all felt as though the Michigan coaches did an excellent job showing what they had to offer. At times that was just being who they are during a normal day, which was something Hand said was a breath of fresh air.

"The main thing I like is they don't overdo it. A lot of coaches praise you so much, or tell you this and make you feel like you're a God," he said. "They were just genuine and they said their actual thoughts and I respect that a lot. You can tell what you see is what you get. The players were even coming back after practice and talking with them and watching film so you know that's real."

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.

Da'Shawn Hand
ESPN Watch List defensive end Da'Shawn Hand (right) loved his official visit to Michigan this past weekend.
"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."

Hand got to see how Mattison coaches, his technique in coaching and came away impressed with what he saw. Mattison showed Hand film that was proof of his coaching prowess and gave Hand proof that Mattison's technique works in game situations.

The Watch List defensive end is so astute that he could see Mattison's teaching and technique being used in the film he saw.

"You can tell what he say he gets done," Hand said. "He was telling me about what he taught and then I could see it in front of me which shows you that he's a great coach."

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."