Which coach told a top recruit he would meet Michael Jackson?

In an interview with CBS Sports’ Bruce Feldman, Rivals top overall recruit Da’Shawn Hand dropped the following anecdote:

Q: What is the craziest thing that has happened to you since you've been named the nation's No. 1 recruit?

Hand: Well, I ain't gonna say any names, but one coach told me that since I'm the No. 1 player, I'm gonna get to meet Michael Jackson. I said, "Isn't he already dead?" The coach goes, "Well, all right, you can meet Tito." I was like, all right. OK, I'm done.

It was crazy, but it is what it is.

When you consider all of the stories rumored or confirmed about the shadiness of college recruiting – duffel bags of money, cars, “hostesses,” scholarships for teammates or siblings – it’s hard for something recruiting-related to really move the needle, but this is wacky enough that I think it manages.

It also raises a lot of question, including but not limited to:

  • Did the coach really not know that Michael Jackson was dead, or was he just making a joke about the popularity of Hand versus that of the King of Pop in his prime?

  • Why immediately go to Tito, who is often used as a punch line? Was that the point? If so, be more original, coach! Also you are talking to a teenager and he might not even know who Tito is. Go with Janet, at least.

  • Are high school seniors still into Michael Jackson? Because if so, that’s great, because we can all keep making “Thriller” references for another few decades.

  • Seriously, did the coach in question just miss out on MJ dying in 2009 due to working too many hours? If so, we are really putting too much pressure on this nation’s football minds.

This investigation seems impossible, especially when you factor in that Hand has probably been contacted by every school in the nation (he has offers from most of them) and didn’t specify that it was a head coach, so it could be one of dozens if not hundreds of assistants from across the country. Still, I’m sure some of you have some theories on the matter, so drop them in the comments and we’ll see if we can crack this case together.

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