Da'Shawn Hand is one of the best high school players in the country, but he is doing something that few prospects in his position do: focus on education.
The 6'5" defensive end is certain to be a huge impact player at the next level. He is rated by 247Sports as the No. 1 overall player in the 2014 class, and No. 2 according to their composite rankings behind running back Leonard Fournette.
With strength, quickness and athleticism, Hand is able to penetrate into the backfield and consistently disrupt the opposing offense. No matter where he goes to school, he will rack up tons of sacks and tackles for loss to become one of the best defensive players in the nation.
Unsurprisingly, this has made him very sought after in the recruiting process. He has racked up dozens of offers and could legitimately play for almost whatever school he wanted. Fortunately, he is taking this process very seriously.
Kevin Scarbinsky of Smashmouth Radio recently interviewed the big-time recruit, and Hand was very forthcoming about where he was in the process. The Virginia native narrowed his school list to three on the air:
Da'Shawn Hand on Smashmouth: My top 3 is Alabama, Florida and Michigan.— Kevin Scarbinsky (@KevinScarbinsky) June 12, 2013
He also gave some reasoning as to why he eliminated South Carolina and Virginia Tech from his list:
Da'Shawn Hand on Smashmouth: South Carolina prof didn't wow me. Va Tech doesn't offer sports marketing.— Kevin Scarbinsky (@KevinScarbinsky) June 12, 2013
On the other hand, Michigan appears to move closer to the top based on this statement:
One more Da'Shawn Hand nugget: Said he was blown away by a Michigan sports marketing professor he met. Wants to talk to him again.— Kevin Scarbinsky (@KevinScarbinsky) June 12, 2013
These statements are surprising and actually refreshing coming from a top football recruit like this. It seems that these days, young players are much more concerned with other factors bringing them to a school.
Many top players want to choose a school that will get them to the NFL. Others simply like the way the uniforms look.
Which school will Da'Shawn Hand choose?
However, Hand appears to be deciding on a college based on the classes that he will take. He is looking for an education that will take him far in life if football does not work out.
We have seen plenty of times in recent history that even the best recruits do not always become professional superstars. Rhett Bomar is a great example of this, as seen in his recent interview with Bleacher Report's Barrett Sallee.
The best thing that young prospects can do is focus on education while they have that opportunity. Hand not only wants to graduate, but he also cares about his major and the types of professors that will eventually be teaching him.
Even the top players in the country will be in school for three years, although it seems like education is overlooked in the recruiting process. Hopefully, Hand will be a leader in this regard as a kid who is truly focused on his future.
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