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Wednesday, June 12, 2013
New top three for five-star DE Hand

By Tom VanHaaren

Top-rated defensive end Da'Shawn Hand (Woodbridge, Va./Woodbridge) has kept his recruitment under control and organized. He had narrowed his list down to five schools but has since shaken up that group and trimmed his list to three.

Alabama, Florida and Michigan, listed in alphabetical order, make up the final schools he will consider. The No. 4 player in the ESPN 150 said these are the final three, with two more still having an outside shot.

“I don’t want to get anyone’s hopes up, but I want to see what LSU and USC have to offer,” Hand said. “I’ll use my five officials on these schools, and that’s it. This is the final list, and it’s done.”

Virginia Tech is the big omission from his top three, as it was once believed the Hokies were in the lead for the five-star prospect. Hand made it clear that academics are in the front of his mind, which was ultimately why Virginia Tech got cut.

South Carolina seemingly had made a surge for Hand as well but also found itself on the outside looking in.

“That was the hardest thing to get Virginia Tech off the list. [Defensive coordinator] Bud Foster is my favorite coach, so that was really hard,” Hand said. “They don’t have sports marketing at Virginia Tech, though. On top of that, the professor at South Carolina didn’t really wow me at all.”

Hand is unsure if he will be able to take any visits before his season starts but said he would like to do so if possible.

“Me and my dad are talking about that at the moment," he said. "If I can get down to Florida and maybe Michigan, then sure. But I’m going to enjoy my summer then take my five officials and have a stress-free senior season.”

Hand breaks down the top three

Alabama: “I talked to the engineering dean, and he’s actually a football guy. At the time I talked to him, they did a $25 million project with something. I forgot what it was, but they were doing some big things. A lot of people don’t hear about the academics at Alabama -- you just hear football -- but they have good academics. It’s been a year since I’ve been there, so I have to go back up and see it again.”

Florida: “It’s all just rumors right now because I haven’t seen it for myself. I know the degree means something from Florida, and they have sports marketing and engineering. I’ve heard it’s a great school and I’ve been talking to the coaches. Will Muschamp is a great coach. The defense is solid, it’s the SEC, and it’s nice down there with good academics. So I have to check it out.”

Michigan: “The sports marketing professor blew me, my dad and my coaches away. You don’t understand. Dude had us wanting to sign up right now. My dad said he wanted to go back to school again and wanted to learn from that guy.”