On September 7, the Michigan Wolverines will play Notre Dame in the second ever Under the Lights game at the Big House. The first time around in 2011, Michigan hosted a bevy of top recruits and it was quite successful. This year the Wolverines will once again be hosting a number of top prospects, including two of the highest rated prospects in the 2014 class regardless of position. They are Da’Shawn Hand, rated the #1 defensive end and #2 overall prospect according to Scout.com, and John “Juju” Smith, rated the #1 safety and #8 overall prospect according to Scout.com. Smith announced his decision to visit today while Hand has long planned for his trip.
In an interview today with Steve Lorenz of Michigan247, Smith had this to say about the decision to visit Michigan: “I looked over Michigan’s schedule and I chose the date myself in terms of when I wanted to take my visit. It was a great choice because I get to watch two teams recruiting me play against each other. It’s also great because I heard this is the second night game in Michigan’s history. It will be awesome to be a part of it.” On his relationship with his recruiter, tight ends coach Dan Ferrigno, Smith said the following; “Coach Ferrigno is a great man. He loves me and I love him too. He’s just talking about the school and how they want me to still possibly play on defense, offense and special teams if possible but that’s all in the air right now.” Smith has maintained that academics will play a vital role in his decision which bodes well for Michigan. Getting him on campus is a huge step in possibly securing a commitment down the line.
Hand visited Michigan in March for the first time and came away thoroughly impressed. He hit it off with the coaching staff, mainly his recruiter and future position coach if he were to commit, and defensive coordinator Greg Mattison. Hands’ relationship with Mattison will play a big role in his recruitment, but getting the talented prospect on campus for a night game atmosphere at Michigan Stadium might be enough to put the Wolverines ahead on his presumed leader Virginia Tech.