Da’Shawn Hand (Woodbridge, Va. Woodbridge) is the No. 1 defensive end in the country and with his decision to commit to Alabama, the rich got richer as they landed the top overall recruit according to Rivals.
Michigan and Florida were the two other finalists for the 6-foot-4, 254-pound Hand, and it looked like the Wolverines were the prohibitive favorite for him dating back to the spring, something that was seemingly cemented with his official visit in September.
However, with Hand’s somewhat surprising decision to spurn Brady Hoke and the Wolverines for the two-time defending champions, Alabama is a lock to secure the No. 1 recruiting class yet again with another five-star recruit.
Hand said he loved the civil engineering program at Alabama, the gameday atmosphere and the opportunity to play early for the Crimson Tide. For Hand, Alabama offers the best of both worlds in providing lauded opportunities academically and athletically, where there is a great chance to win a national championship.
“Hand is a rare athletic specimen who has incredible body control and balance for a big rush end and is very hard to knock off his feet,” Rivals’ Mike Farrell tells Tim Sullivan of USA TODAY Sports. “He’s very quick off the snap, has a nice array of pass-rushing moves and he strings the run out well by taking on blocks and shedding at the proper time. He beats defenders so easily at times it looks like he’s going at half speed.”
Hand is an NFL talent who will be a first-round pick in three years. Defensive linemen are coveted by the SEC, especially at Alabama where he can play end or outside linebacker in their system. He had 37 combined sacks in his sophomore and junior seasons, and likely will start as a freshman.
Let this be a lesson to us all that we should never be surprised when a recruit picks Alabama.
Patrick’s a college football writer for Rant Sports and radio host on Sportstownchicago.com. Follow him on Twitter @PatrickASchmidt and Google and email him at SchmidtPatrick@gmail.com for media inquiries.
Related: Alabama Leading for Da’Shawn Hand