- Greg Ostendorf, ESPN Staff Writer
As signing day approaches for the 2013 class, a 2014 standout made headlines on Tuesday when he announced his top five.
ESPN Watch List defensive end Da’Shawn Hand (Woodbridge, Va./Woodbridge), considered by many to be No. 1 player in next year’s class, released his top five via Twitter. The group included Alabama, Michigan, North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia Tech.
“The reason why they’re my top five is I love all the coaching staffs,” Hand said. “The academics are amazing. I’ve already visited three of the five schools. I need to visit South Carolina and Michigan, and those aren’t too far.
“The coaches, they stay in contact with me. They have been the most consistent, and they have all the pieces. I feel like I could fit in. That’s about it.”
Hand also mentioned Ohio State, saying the Buckeyes are No. 6 -- just outside his final group. He isn’t planning to take any visits until after his wrestling season wraps up next month.
Despite releasing his top five so early, Hand says he won’t make a final decision until this time next year, closer to signing day.
“I want to take all five of my officials, but this top five, it’s what I want to go from,” he said. “I really don’t want to make any changes or anything.”
On Monday night, Hand watched Alabama take down Notre Dame in the BCS championship game. He wasn’t as surprised with the outcome, but he was surprised with how the dominant the Crimson Tide looked.
“That was crazy,” Hand said. “I did not expect the game to be like that. I thought it was going to be nitty-gritty, last-minute field goal type of game, but I guess Notre Dame just wasn’t ready for Alabama and what they had coming.”