Woodbridge (Va.) Woodbridge Senior defensive end Da'Shawn Hand is one of the first 10 five-stars for Rivals.com for the class of 2014 and is the leader in the clubhouse for the overall No. 1 slot as we head to our next set of rankings. And the 6-foot-4, 255-pounder is already getting serious about recruiting, narrowing down his list of 10 schools. Who made the cut?
"I don't want the recruiting process to get too crazy or get out of hand, so I want to narrow my list as soon as possible after doing my research," said Hand. "So there are my top 10 right now. This is a jumping off point, but I think this is solid, I think it's probably too late for other schools to jump in."
Hand broke down what he liked about his top 10, a list that is as follows in alphabetical order..
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"It's Alabama, Florida State, LSU, Michigan, North Carolina, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Virginia Tech," he said. "Those are the 10 with the coaches I like the best and the ones I feel most comfortable with after doing all my research."
Hand breaks them down one by one.
Alabama -- "The atmosphere is great there, I got to see the campus for 4 or 5 days during the off-season so it was good to see it while football wasn't going on. During football season everything is fun, so it's good to see a place when things are slower. I also like the coaches there and the defense."
Florida State -- "They have been honest with me and I like that they recruit players from this area. Coach Haggins is a good guy and you'd think they'd just go after players in Florida, but they come up here all the time and recruit kids. I haven't visited but I researched them a lot and they have some great recruiting classes, I think I could play early there and I like their business program."
LSU -- "I like the coaches there a lot, they are diverse there as well. I would have thought they'd just recruit kids from Louisiana but they recruit from all over. And the talent they put out from the defensive line is amazing.I haven't been there yet but have done my research."
Michigan -- "I like the scheme they play and how they'd use me which would be at defensive end most of the time but possibly standing up at times. They have good defensive coaches and everyone I talk to about them says good things. I haven't been there yet but I'll see them play in person this weekend when I go to visit Ohio State."
North Carolina -- "I've been to North Carolina a couple of times and I really like the area, the atmosphere there and it's like a public Ivy League school with the academics. The academic advisors there are great and they have a great Business program."
Notre Dame -- "Notre Dame is recruiting me the hardest along with North Carolina and they have a great defense and excellent academics. A degree from there really sets you up and you have to love that defensive line, they are playing great. I haven't been there but I will get there soon."
Ohio State -- "I like the coaching staff a lot. In fact, my two favorite coaching staffs right now are Ohio State and Michigan which is funny because they are such rivals. I will see them this weekend when they play Michigan and my cousin and teammate, Marcus Boone, has already visited there and he raves about it."
Oklahoma -- "I like their programs there, from the football to the Engineering. I have done my research on them and I like them enough to be interested in checking them out. They have kept it real with me the whole time and they also have a great Business program as well. I haven't visited but I hope to soon."
South Carolina -- "That defensive line is amazing and I've done a lot of research on Jadeveon Clowney since I hear comparisons all the time. He arrived there, played from day one and to step into his footsteps would be interesting. I haven't been there but I will visit."
Virginia Tech -- "Bud Foster has always been my favorite coach and Virginia Tech offers me everything I need, from any kind of Engineering to a good Business school as well. Distance isn't a factor for me at all, but of the two in-state schools I would choose Virginia Tech for many reasons."
Hand has visited Alabama, Virginia Tech and North Carolina on his list of 10 so he has a lot of visits to take.
"I think I want to visit Notre Dame and LSU as my next ones after Ohio State this weekend if I can," he said. "Then during the summer visit Oklahoma, South Carolina, Michigan and Florida State. I hope to get my list down to five schools sooner than later and make my decision right after my senior year of football. I don't want things to get too crazy."
As for his major in college, Hand is still evaluating things.
"I've been talking a lot about Engineering but I could also do Business," he said. "Engineering would be really hard to do along with football, but in the long run it would be worth it. But I have many interests in Business as well so I'm not sure. All of the schools on my list have academic programs that interest me a lot."
Hand is still amazed at how quickly the process has progressed.
"If you would have told me I'd have all these amazing offers from these prestigious schools at this time last year I would have told you that you were crazy," he said. "It's a blessing, but I also don't want to waste anyone's time and I want to be able to focus on a short list of schools I know will be a fit for me."
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