Five-star defensive end Da’Shawn Hand has made his verbal pledge to the University of Alabama.
Amidst a pep rally of cheerleaders, the school band, fellow students and a mass of sports media, Hand calmly made his announcement today on his 18th birthday in the Woodbridge High School gymnasium.
At 6-4 and 260 pounds, Hand is a physical player with a rare combination of quickness, strength, and smarts. He is equally good against the run as he is the pass. He has great ability to diagnose a play and make his move.
His intelligence also translates to the classroom as he chose to attend Woodbridge for the engineering program. He hopes to major in either engineering or sports marketing at Alabama.
The choice came down to Alabama and Michigan with Florida as a distant third. A visit to Tuscaloosa on October 26th for the Tennessee game was surely a deciding factor. Hand took the time to meet with representatives of the Alabama Engineering and Business schools.
Hand finished his junior season with 110 tackles, 16 sacks, 40 tackles for loss, two pass deflections, four forced fumbles, and three fumble recoveries. His sophomore year he had 84 tackles, 14 TFL, 21 sacks. As a freshman he managed 65 tackles, 5 TFL, 5 sacks.
If you do not know enough about Hand and his life this past few months, check out this ridiculously long series of webisodes done by the Washington Post called First and 17.
As you probably know, that makes 23 verbal commitments out of the limit of 25 set by the SEC. In a previous post, I mentioned that there are a few commits who may have academic issues. I don't want to name names at this point in case it is untrue. There are also the nebulous back-counting rules and greyshirt possibilities. This could leave spots for others.
A few quick updates:
Leonard Fournette - Had a great visit to Alabama but LSU probably still leads.
Marlon Humphrey - It's down to Bama & FSU. He wants to run track too.
Lorenzo Carter - I have a feeling he ends up at UGA.
Matt Elam - Had a great visit last weekend and makes his official visit Dec. 13.
Raekwon McMillan - Looking like he is headed to Ohio State.
Jalen Tabor - Washington DC kid likes Maryland and Bama. The staff would LOVE to get this guy. Visiting Dec. 13.
Tyler Luatua - Waited too long. Probably not a part of this class.
Damien Mama - not likely
Laurence "Hootie" Jones - Bama & LSU are neck-and-neck. He is supposed to announce Dec 2.
C J Hampton (Ole Miss commit) - Giving Alabama a good long look.
Elisha Shaw - Hasn't been able to play this season because of a neck injury. Bama staff monitoring his recovery.
Brian Wallace - OT from St Louis, MO still on the Tide's radar.