- Gerry Hamilton, ESPN Staff Writer
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Five-star defensive end Da’Shawn Hand (Woodbridge, Va./Woodbridge High) was presented his honorary game jersey during the American Family Insurance Selection Tour for the 2014 Under Armour All-America High School Game on Wednesday.
The event was part of the three-month tour.
Hand, who is one of three five-star prospects in Virginia in the 2014 class, is one of 90 players selected to compete in the seventh-annual game, a nationally-televised competition spotlighting the country’s top high-school seniors. The 2014 game is set for 4 p.m. ET on Jan. 2 at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla., and will be televised on ESPN.
“I just want to thank God and my teammates for being here,” Hand said. “My friends, my dad, the principal, the faculty back there, thanks for coming out and supporting. ... I mean, this is an honor for me. I really don’t know what else to say, but I just can’t wait to show out in this game. Being down in Florida with all these guys with talent, I’ve just got to prepare for college.”
Woodbridge head coach Karibi Dede says he is excited that his star player gets to play against the nation's best.
“It’s been a pleasure to coach you. We are very thankful to the people at Under Armour as well as American Family Insurance for providing this great opportunity for a young man like himself. I’m really excited. The Under Armour All-America Game is the premier game in the country. To see him have the opportunity to go down where guys like A.J. Green, Julio Jones, …Jadeveon Clowney ... to go down and have that type of game against those type of players is phenomenal.”
For Hand, the chance to go against the best and prove doubters wrong is something he is looking forward to.
"The thing that excites me the most about the Under Armour All-America Game is going against some of the top players in the country -- in pads in an actual game. You don't really get to do that every day. Julio [Jones] and Jadeveon [Clowney], I want to be like the next person. I just want to leave my mark. The doubters out there are what motivate me. There are people that say that I’m just getting by or that I’m getting great stats because certain players aren’t as good as you, or the conference up here isn’t as good. You are in Virginia. You’re not in Florida or Georgia, Alabama or Louisiana. Those things fuel my engine and motivate me. I want to prove them wrong.”
The 6-foot-4, 262-pound Hand is the sixth-ranked prospect overall and the No. 2 defensive end in the class. He is considering Michigan, Alabama and Florida.
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