Now that the 2013 signing day is nearly complete it’s time to take a look at the top recruit in the class of 2014, defensive end Da’shawn Hand (Woodbridge, Va., Woodbridge) who lists his favorites in no particular order as Alabama, South Carolina, Michigan, Florida and Virginia Tech with Ohio State and Notre Dame just missing the cut–for now.
North Carolina was among his finalists when he announced his top five earlier, but was dropped in favor for Florida after the Tar Heels lost defensive line coach Deke Adams to South Carolina. The reason Florida is now in the top 5? They hired former Gamecocks defensive line coach Brad Lawing.
The National Junior of the Year according to Rivals.com, the 6-4 245-pound Hand will have no shortage of suitors and he already holds offers from 32 colleges. His high school stats are pretty mind-boggling as you would expect of a recruit that is the tops in the country. As a sophomore, 84 tackles, 14 tackles for loss, 21 sacks and recovered three fumbles. As a junior he increased his tackles to 110, made 40 stops behind the line of scrimmage and despite being double and triple-teamed on nearly every pass attempt, still managed to get 16 sacks.
Hand will be the fifth straight defensive end to rank as the top player in the recruiting ranks joining Robert Nkemdiche, Mario Edwards, Jadeveon Clowney and Ronald Powell before him.
Yes, it’s incredibly early and the recruitment of Hand is sure to go down a few different paths as pretty much every major college in America will be gunning for him, but it’s never too early to start looking to 2014 National Signing Day.
Follow me on Twitter @PatrickASchmidt