|Defensive end Da'Shawn Hand, Rivals.com top-ranked recruit from the Class of 2014, announced on Thursday that he will be committing to Alabama.|
Many college football analysts thought Hand, through tweets and live discussion, would commit to Michigan on the live broadcast of his decision. However, on Thursday afternoon, Woodbridge High School, Va., defensive end Da'Shawn Hand, Rivals.com top-ranked recruit, announced that he will be committing to Alabama.
Hand announced prior to his decision that he was relieved that the recruitment process was over. He made his official decision by announcing the school he would be committing to, Alabama, and then he placed the school's hat on top of his head, a maroon hat with an A.
Hand is listed on Rivals.com at six-feet, four-inches, and weighs 260 pounds. His 40-yard dash time is very impressive for a player of that size, 4.61, with a vertical of 33-inches, according to Rivals.com.
Fox Sports' YouTube video of some of his highlights, posted on Oct. 2, showed that he is a very explosive player:
One thing that stands out in the video is that he never gives up on the play.
There are numerous plays in the video where Hand was able to run past multiple offensive linemen to get to the quarterback. The most impressive play in the video was when he was able to block a punt.
That play showed that he is a very explosive player who has a high football IQ.
In the live broadcast of Hand's decision, he did not announce why he chose the Crimson Tide over Michigan or Florida. According to Tom VanHaaren of ESPN.com at 1:23 p.m.
"The campus life is amazing," Hand said. "I know half the team already. The coaching staff is amazing. Why not go where it's a great possibility you could win a national championship?
"When I took my visit, I took two visits. I got to see what the campus life is outside of football season as well as my official. I saw how the gameday atmosphere is, the culture. They have a winning tradition. They don't lie to you. I know when I go in, I won't be No. 1 on the depth chart."
The first aforementioned reason is the winning culture Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban has developed there.
Saban's teams have only lost five games since 2009. His teams were able to win three Bowl Championship Series, BCS, National Championships and could win another one this season.
Many high school recruits hope to play for Saban because they know they would have a great opportunity to win a BCS National Championship. Hand has a great opportunity to win at least one in his collegiate career.
An additional reason was probably Saban's pedigree of producing numerous first round NFL draft picks.
Dr. Saturday of Yahoo Sports posted an article on Apr. 26, that Saban had produced more first round draft picks than legendary Crimson Tide head coach Bear Bryant. Bryant was the Crimson Tide head coach for 25 seasons and he led his teams to six National Championships.
Saban has produced 14 first round draft picks, prior to the 2013 NFL Draft, according to Saturday. Hand has a great opportunity to join that list as early as the 2016 NFL Draft with Saban as his head coach.
The Crimson Tide have been able to get two Class of 2014 defensive tackles to commit there; O.J. Smith and Johnny Dwight.
Hand will have to face stiff competition next season for a starting spot in the 3-4 Defense.
The Crimson Tide can return as many as five defensive ends next season, including Junior Jeoffery Pagan. The other four would be juniors or sophomores next season.
With the Crimson Tide typically having great defensive fronts, it should allow Hand to be able to get many tackles and possibly sacks. Comparing Hand to South Carolina's defensive end Jadaveon Clowney right now is absurd.
However, Hand has the potential with his size and strength to produce performances like Clowney has, thus far.