#1 Prospect Of 2014, Da'Shawn Hand, Trims List To Five

By Rick Stavig
Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Yes, National Signing Day 2013 is right around the corner, but, there’s never a bad time to take a peak at some of the big names from next years class of 2014.

Which brings us to arguably the best prospect of ’14- defensive end Da’Shawn Hand of Woodbridge Senior High School in Woodbridge, Virginia.

Yes, a defensive end will probably be the top prospect in the country for the fourth time in five years, an astonishing feat.  He’ll be joining Ronald Powell (2010, Florida Gators), Jadeveon Clowney (2011, South Carolina Gamecocks) and this years top player, Robert Nkemdiche (hard Ole Miss Rebels lean).

The 6’4” 250lb Hand has recently named his top five schools at this incredibly early stage of the game.  Those schools, in no order:  the Alabama Crimson Tide (shocking isn’t it?), Michigan Wolverines, North Carolina Tar Heels, Virginia Tech Hokies and South Carolina.

“Professor Stavig, what are the reasons for these five schools?”

I’m so glad you asked!  Here’s a breakdown…

I don’t think I need to justify ‘Bama’s place on this list.  We’ll leave it at that.

Regarding Michigan, Hand tells those who ask that he has the closest relationship with the Wolverines coaching staff.  There’s also some big holes along the edges of their defensive line, with a pressing need for more of a pass rush.  He’s also fond of their academics (he’s a future engineering major).

North Carolina makes the list thus far with their campus, academics and their energetic coaching staff.  His unofficial visit last fall made an indelible impression on the young prospect.

His interest in South Carolina is easy to understand.  His idol is Jadeveon Clowney.  He’ll be the first to tell you that’s why he’s interested in the Gamecocks.  He’s indicated he would love to follow in his footsteps and learn what he’s learned. Side Note: The thing with that is, South Carolina’s coaching techniques didn’t develop Clowney: God did.  His skills weren’t learned, they were given.  A specimen like Clowney need not thank anyone but the Big Guy upstairs for his level of talent.  No amount of coaching creates players like him.  Sorry for the rant.

Last but certainly not least on the list is VA Tech, who could be the silent leader thus far.  They have an excellent engineering program, defensive coordinator Bud Foster is his “favorite” coach, they’re close to home and he’s friends with numerous Hokies.

So yes, we’re a little less than 13 months away from National Signing Day 2014.

But now we’re a little closer to knowing where the top dog of next years class is leaning.

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