He's a big-time defensive end prospect with star potential at the college level, and he's only a junior. Hand is already listed at 6'5'', 247 pounds, and he runs a 4.60 40, according to 247Sports.
Will Hand keep the No. 1 Overall recruit ranking until NSD 2014?
He took to Twitter to announce his top five:
Da'shawn Hand (@TheHand54) January 8, 2013
Greg Ostendorf of ESPN.com quotes Hand on his thought process in regards to his top five:
“The reason why they’re my top five is I love all the coaching staffs,” Hand said. “The academics are amazing. I’ve already visited three of the five schools. I need to visit South Carolina and Michigan, and those aren’t too far.
“The coaches, they stay in contact with me. They have been the most consistent, and they have all the pieces. I feel like I could fit in. That’s about it.”
This is the first of many big steps for 2014's No. 1 overall recruit, and his top five is rather impressive.
Alabama obviously stands out right away, if only because of its recent win over Notre Dame in the BCS National Championship. There's no doubting the fact that Nick Saban and the Crimson Tide have the best program right now in college football, and elite recruits have to be taking notice.
Michigan, South Carolina and Virginia Tech would all be considered "tier two" teams in my mind, at least with regard to Hand's list.
The Wolverines offer a nationally relevant program, and Brady Hoke is an excellent recruiter. South Carolina is a contender in the SEC, and one can only imagine that watching Jadeveon Clowney dominant at the defensive end position is a draw for any elite recruit, let alone an elite defensive end recruit.
Virginia Tech has the "home-state advantage" for Hand (he's from Woodbridge, Virginia), and then there's North Carolina—the program that I would consider to be the outlier here, at least from a football perspective.
Every journey starts somewhere, though, and it appears as if Hand will start his with this top five.
There's plenty of time for things to change, and that should be expected in the world of college football recruiting—but for now, Alabama, Michigan, South Carolina, Virginia Tech and North Carolina have to be very happy to be in the early running for 2014's top recruit.