Posted November 14, 2013

Da’Shawn Hand, No. 1 recruit in the 2014 class, picks Alabama over Michigan and Florida

Alabama Crimson Tide, Florida Gators, Michigan Wolverines, Recruiting, Roll Tide
Da'Shawn Hand

Top recruit Da’Shawn Hand committed to Alabama over Florida and Michigan. (The Washington Post via Getty Images)

The wait is over. In a live announcement broadcast on Yahoo!, NBC Sports Network and Washington Post Live on Thursday, Woodbridge (Va.) High defensive end Da’Shawn Hand verbally committed to Alabama over Michigan and Florida. Hand, the top-ranked recruit in the class of 2014, according to Rivals.com, is 6-foot-4 and 260 pounds. He had an offer sheet about as long as Santa’s naughty and nice list.

“Why not go where there’s a great possibility that you could win a national championship?” Hand said shortly after announcing his decision.

The commitment is nothing new for Alabama, which routinely lands blue-chip recruits regardless of position. Heck, I bet Nick Saban exclusively uses Five Star® notebooks. Hand is one of those rare prospects who could make an impact from day one, however, much like Ole Miss defensive end Robert Nkemdiche did at the start of the 2013 season.

Hand boasts elite size and strength and can get off the line quickly. According to SB Nation recruiting expert Bud Elliott, he also has the frame to put on more weight.

Via Elliott:

Playing at 280 pounds as a 4-3 defensive end isn’t all that out of the ordinary, but being able to do so with the incredible quickness makes Hand quite rare indeed.

Hand’s highlight tape is excellent because on many of the clips, he is in the backfield before the opposing offensive lineman is even out of his stance. Hand plays with great natural power, and while he’s not properly described as “raw,” he does have a lot of room to improve his technique, which is scary because he is already very good.

Hand weighed a number of factors before making his decision, and he maintained that academics were a top priority. During his interview on Sports Dash before picking his hat, he mentioned being impressed with a professor at Michigan, Alabama’s earthquake simulator and Florida’s hurricane simulator on his school visits.

The Gators’ recent struggles might have knocked Florida out of the running. Meanwhile, even though the Wolverines whiffed on Hand, Michigan still has cornerback Jabrill Peppers, Rivals.com’s second-ranked prospect in the 2014 class, in the fold.

Alabama sits atop Rivals.com’s 2014 class rankings and now has two five-star and 15 four-star commits.

56 comments
kcole473
kcole473

It doesn't take much character to make the decision to play for Alabama. There are 4-5 star recruits all around you, and the track record for former Bama players who played under Saban aren't all that great right now. AJ McCarron is a good example. Put that kid on another team and no one knows who he is, let alone his girlfriend. 

Sure, you will probably win a title but how is it going to prep you? What former Tide player is tearing it up in the NFL right now? Julio Jones is honestly the only player that is elite at the pro level right now. Guys like Clowney, Dorrian-Beckam at Mizzou, and the Diggs kid at Maryland are examples of elite talent that didn't sell out for a program like Bama. I hope the young man does well but not surprising that he chose the Crimson Tide. 

chuck5566
chuck5566

Getting a championship ring, or two or three, will be great if it happens, but being on a championship team and the effort that goes with it, and especially what he'll learn from Saban, will be far more valuable.

PatrickBatemanVP
PatrickBatemanVP

I didn't think Alabama had the cap space to pull this off.

EnashWaca
EnashWaca

Alabama gave him the biggest duffel bag filled with cash like Ricky Roe got in "Blue Chips"

ucla2k3
ucla2k3

The kid meant to say academics is one of many factors in his decision. "Top priority" was the wrong choice of words. Alabama may be a fine institution but the Roll Tide are nowhere close to being on US News' top 50 list. That said, he's still a kid and we should all wish him the very best. The Crimson Tide football dynasty continues to roll.

ezwriter69
ezwriter69

And Oregon with the 40th ranked class, after being 25th, 20th, 21st the last three years... anyone wondering why Oregon is not quite competitive with the elite need look no further. It's not scheme, it's talent, they have speed and skill players, but not the overall talent, despite all the money Phil Knight can throw at the program.

lance466
lance466

For all those making the stereotypical Alabama jokes, we're laughing at you not with you.

TUSCALOOSA | The University of Alabama ranks first among public universities nationwide in the number of National Merit Scholars enrolled, according to the National Merit Scholarship Corp.'s 2011-12 report.

"We are very pleased that so many of these exceptionally talented students are choosing the University of Alabama," said UA President Judy Bonner in a news release. "They are part of a truly outstanding freshman class that includes more than 1,700 freshmen with high school grade point averages of 4.0 or higher."

UA has 241 National Merit Scholars in its 2012 freshman class, according to the report. Last year, UA ranked second among public universities with 181 National Merit Scholars in the 2011 freshman class. About 645 National Merit scholars are enrolled at UA.

The 2012 ranking also puts UA fourth among all universities, behind the University of Chicago, Harvard University and the University of Southern California, which are all private schools.

dbth
dbth

Why do you think Forrest Gump went there.

dbth
dbth

Going to ALABAMA for an education is like going to McDonalds for fine dining.

Paul A
Paul A

If it was academics then UVA would have been the choice.  Alabama nor Michigan come close to an education from UVA!

Rickapolis
Rickapolis

Hand went on to say that if Saban goes to Texas, he'll go to Texas. 

JVP3122
JVP3122

"Hand weighed a number of factors before making his decision, and he maintained that academics were a top priority. "  That's funny.  If that really was the case then he should have chosen Michigan without thinking twice.

LeslieHoerwinkle
LeslieHoerwinkle

Can't believe this young man would trade the opportunity to play in the Little Caesar's Pizza Bowl in Detroit for a chance to play for national championships every year.

ghgghgh
ghgghgh

@kcole473 Dante Hightower - in on nearly every single tackle for NE, Eddie Lacy - best RB Green Bay has had in years, Mark Barron in Tampa Bay, Julio Jones among the top 3 receivers in the nation. Ignorance is bliss huh, kcole???

And AJ MCCarron has 3 nat'l championship rings, do you know what you are talking about?

delmus3346
delmus3346

@ucla2k3 Truth of the matter is that most state flagship universities provide a pretty good education for undergraduates who persevere.  While I didn't go to Alabama, I have been on its campus and have met some of its faculty, and it  is a good school with a lovely campus.   Alabama is not Harvard, but then neither is UCLA, and, if your chosen profession is football, I suspect there are more NFL players from Alabama than from most teams.  .  

lance466
lance466

If by "No where close to being" you meant "For over 10 consecutive years" then you're correct.

Ranked among the top 50 public universities in the nation in U.S. News and World Report’s annual college rankings for more than a decade, UA ranked 32nd among public universities in the 2013 rankings

SECownsCFB
SECownsCFB

Yeah, really. Go ahead an order some championship rings for him.

chemistryiskey
chemistryiskey

@lance466 What is your point?  Just because a bunch of National Merit Scholars are enthralled by the Alabama football team's success does not mean the school is somehow hard to get into or is excellent academically.  Most scholars will agree that both Florida and Michigan are better schools.  Most employers will agree that both Florida and Michigan are better schools.

However, Hand is not wrong to choose Alabama.  They have been an NFL pipeline for several years now, and given the current state of affairs in Ann Arbor, I am not surprised he did not pick my Wolverines.  He made the right choice for him.  I would have done the same thing in his shoes.

delmus3346
delmus3346

@dbth Forrest Gump didn't go to college anywhere--he is a fictional character.


branden1971
branden1971

@dbth your comment is equivalent to saying "dhfjhg   asdfhhgdasd   jhajds gdsdrggxh:  Both are meaningless.

jarobertson
jarobertson

So now it's all about the academics, you are the man. That is three bags full.

JeffOH12
JeffOH12

@dbth Be prepared for donald5 to scold you! Well unless his mommy has his dinner and juice cup ready!

JimKirkwood1
JimKirkwood1

You have got to be kidding. UVA can't touch Michigan in academics, and don't even think about Stanford. Both of those schools also have football teams

chemistryiskey
chemistryiskey

@JVP3122 Yeah, he cited the Alabama engineering department as a critical factor.  By all objective measures Michigan is far ahead of Alabama in engineering.  Let's just call it for what it is: his future (which is very bright) is in football.  He's paying lip service to the educational aspect to appease the NCAA purists.

mbroncofan
mbroncofan

@JVP3122 The degree he was looking at with Michigan was sports management...which is a glorified name for P.E.  The Engineering department at Alabama blew him away. 

rskins09
rskins09

@delmus3346 @ucla2k3 ...  Know for years UVA was second behind Univ. of California - Berkeley   (1st)  -- Public Schools .. Both are close to, (in my opinion) some Ivy league Schools ...There's nothing wrong with attending Univ. of Alabama  whether you have a football scholarship or not  ...

danboz11
danboz11

@lance466 He said top 50, not top 50 public universities.  Maybe you should get the facts right before being a smartass.  Florida is ranked considerably higher and UM and miles ahead of Alabama.

lance466
lance466

I respect your opinion and I also bet you weren't the one making stereotypical comments. I had the opportunity to go to the most recent Alabama / Michigan game and both before and after the game the Michigan fans were excellent representatives of their school so by no means did I mean for my post to be disrespectful nor arrogant or disrespectful. I simply was trying to point out that while UA may not be America's premier university it is a diploma to be proud of - like almost all major institutions.

delmus3346
delmus3346

Michigan is also very cold, and if you like the south, not very hospitable.  And, btw, how many members of the UM football team this year majored in engineering programs?   

rskins09
rskins09

@danboz11 @lance466      Read US News& World report every year ..there's a Top 50  Private and a Top 50 Public  and a Top 100 combining both ..BTW, Maryland  was 55 th  ( Public & Private .) . Too many people don't realize that a lot of State  Universities  have raised their academic standards a lot the past 15 / 20 years  for admission -- Higher GPA , and higher  SAT's  and ACT scores for admission ..

lance466
lance466

Fair point, but I stand by my comment. UA is ranked #86 among both private/public universities according to the same source so some (most?) would consider that be near the top 50 as opposed to "no where near".

donald5
donald5

@JeffOH12 @donald5 @dbth Did you post that while you were at home Jeff.... Sorry I couldn't back to you until now because I have a life after I leave the office.  You know... girlfriends and stuff like that.  

And I'm just curious why your new hobby that entails stalking me and whining about my commenting behavior is any cooler than arguing about sports.  Did I miss that in day in "How to be Cool 101" where they taught us the hierarchy of cool...

1) Wear a backward hat

2) Have a well trimmed beard

3) Get online and whine about someone else being online

Jeezzz doosh bag... do you like getting slapped around or is this some deep seeded need for abuse that you don't get from your dad or priest anymore?  (see what I did there... you know how you like making up loser donald "facts"... I get to do the same thing with you)

PoolSharkPaul
PoolSharkPaul

As the pot calls the Kettle Black. You are one dumb A SS. Sitting there posting on a sports board telling someone to quit posting on a sports board? HEY SOOS MARIA!  I have never seen a living brain donor...until now

JeffOH12
JeffOH12

@donald5 @JeffOH12 @dbth Now I see why you can't get a girlfriend. Your addicted. Yea its all about attention for you. If you really love arguing sports I really do feel sorry for you. Find a girlfriend. Step away from the message board. You'll feel better.

donald5
donald5

@JeffOH12 @donald5 @dbth I do my job.  It is the off season.  I thought you might grasp that when I wrote it down for you the first time.  Taxes tend to work that way.  I get a year's worth of production done over about a 6-7 month period.  I entertain myself this way because THERE IS NOTHING ELSE TO DO.  The office is basically empty now.  Most of the other sites are blocked and it would probably bug someone if I decided to read a book instead.  Whether you "get it" or not, I really don't care.  If you think I post because of a lack of attention, good for you.  Maybe you can make a good living with your amateur psychology license.  I like discussing/arguing about sports and my current down time at work allows me plenty of opportunity to fill that blank spots in my schedule... so sorry.  I'd hand you a tissue if I could.

JeffOH12
JeffOH12

@donald5 @JeffOH12 @dbth Not a stalker. Just a guy who reads news on this site. I see that you post on almost every single thing. I just don't get it. Do you not get enough attention at home? Is this your special place where you are "somebody"?? You want something productive to do? How about your job! 

donald5
donald5

@JeffOH12 @donald5 @dbth If you were as good of a stalker as you appear, you would note I only post during an 8 hour time frame Monday thru Friday.  It is called the offseason at my job.  Nothing to do.  Can you think of something cooler for me to do while at work?  I am ever so hopeful that you can give me something more productive and cool to do while I am sitting at a desk.

JeffOH12
JeffOH12

@donald5 @JeffOH12 @dbth I'm not talking about anyone on here but you. Your the one that is on here day and night. You sad sad little man. Your just ticked I called you out for what you are. A roll with no life.

p0rk9er
p0rk9er

@donald5 @JeffOH12 @dbth This is the second time these two have trolled each other today. Just keeping score is all. Dont shoot the Ref.

donald5
donald5

@JeffOH12 @donald5 @dbth So you are taking a stroll off the perch of your awesome life amongst the peons and peasants in the comment section?  Are you slumming it today?  Sure you are.  Take your own advice you hypocritical doosh bag.

JeffOH12
JeffOH12

@donald5 @JeffOH12 @dbth I'm just someone that calls you out. Seriously man there is more to life then these boards. Go out and do something with yourself. 

rskins09
rskins09

@delmus3346    Midwest winters are  brutal  even without the snow ..Some can't handle it and  go south for an education ...Remember Buffalo, NY used to have 3 million population in the early 1960's .. Know a lot of  people moved south because of the brutal winters  year after year  .....