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Sunday, August 4, 2013
Da'Shawn Hand sets decision date

By Tom VanHaaren

The No. 4-ranked prospect in the country, defensive end Da'Shawn Hand (Woodbridge, Va./Woodbridge) will announce his college decision at his high school on Nov. 14.

Hand has narrowed his list down to a top three of Alabama, Florida and Michigan, but says there is no order to the final three. LSU and USC are two schools Hand continues to say are schools on the outside. According to his mentor, John Harris, those programs might continue to be on the outside.

"Those two are secondary right now. It would probably be difficult for us to get out there for visits," Harris said. "I know he wants to get the first three (Alabama, Florida and Michigan) out of the way. He'll be at Michigan on September 7, and we haven't figured the rest out yet."

Hand has taken control of his process and has kept a firm grasp on it the entire way. The 6-foot-4, 245-pound lineman had been saying he was going to commit at the end of December, but it's no surprise the process has grown tiresome. He's not the type of recruit to embrace the spotlight and tends to stay out of the public eye.

Harris told Hand to pick a date when he knew he would be done with the process and would also be able to fit in his three official visits. They decided on Nov. 14 to give them plenty of time to visit the three schools.

Hand likely won't narrow his list down further, so it's either the SEC or the Big Ten for the monster prospect.

His versatility, explosiveness and overall talent have lead him to this point with nearly every program in the country hoping to land him. At Michigan and Florida, he would likely play defensive end. At Alabama, he could end up at the jack position.

A lot will happen between now and Nov. 14, but as it currently stands, Alabama has the No. 3-ranked class with no five stars committed and 11 ESPN 300 commits. Michigan sits at No. 6 in the class rankings with five-star CB Jabrill Peppers (Paramus Catholic, N.J./Paramus Catholic) committed and nine ESPN 300 prospects. The Gators have the No. 13-ranked class with no five stars and seven ESPN 300 commitments.

Adding Hand to any program would be an instant boost and would also have other implications. Hand would give Michigan two five-star commitments in one class for the first time since ESPN's rankings started in 2006. He could help Florida coach Will Muschamp beef up his defensive front -- an emphasis because of Muschamp's background and the competition the Gators play every week. For Nick Saban and Alabama, it could just be the rich getting richer.

Hand has done an extensive research on everything from academics to APR rankings for each school. He wants to know that he fits, so these three official visits will likely be the final selling point to convince the five-star prospect where he belongs for the next four or five years.