Most years, when recruit rankings come out, the usual positions are number one. More than likely it’s a quarterback, running back or wide receiver, or as I like to call them -Heisman Trophy Eligible Positions.
In many ways it’s comparable to the NFL Draft. Certain positions just have a premium on them due to prospective value.
The NFL has long placed a high value on defensive linemen, and now their collegiate counterpart is following the trend. For the 4th time in five years, a defensive end could be the top recruit in the country. Say what? A d-lineman being the number one player in the country? And for the 4th time in the last five (!) years? Amazingly enough, yes.
Ladies and gentlemen, meet Da’Shawn Hand, star pass rusher from Woodbridge Senior High School in Woodbridge, Virginia. Hand, at 6’4” and a jacked 245lbs, just might be the most talented football player in the class of 2014. He’s a total package: he’s got phenomenal size and speed, tremendous motor, fast and active hands, crushing strength and the heart of a lion.
The pass rushing demon has loosely assembled a top ten list, and it’s remarkably impressive. In alphabetical order- Alabama, Florida State, LSU, Michigan, North Carolina, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Virginia Tech. There’s some heavy hitters on that list. The competition between those institutions for the services of Hand will be vicious, and likely will go to National Signing Day in 2014, more than a year away.
It’s easy to see why elite pass rushers are being held a a premium, especially of late. Simply put, they’re game changers. Quarterbacks have to know where they are every second they’re on the field.
The top player in 2010, Ronald Powell, has shown flashes of brilliance before getting hurt to start this season. He had six sacks for the Florida Gators as a sophomore, and should be even stronger when he comes back next season.
2011 gave birth to Jadeveon Clowney, who is the most talented football player not in the NFL. He’s probably the best pure pass rusher since Julius Peppers. ‘Nuff said.
This year the top player is Robert Nkemdiche (or Carl Lawson in my mind). Both of those players are expected to step in right away and start for a contender. Which brings us back to Mr. Hand.
Hand, as good as he currently is, should be even better next year. He’s done a good job attending the various camps, and continues to make a strong case that he’s the best player in the country for his class. Even though there’s plenty of time until he has to make a decision, the ensuing bloodbath to get his signature will be as exciting as watching him destroy quarterbacks.