The nation's No. 1 college football recruit according to Rivals.com, Woodbridge (Va.) defensive lineman Da'Shawn Hand, will announce his college decision Thursday at noon on NBCSN. Leading up to the decision, Comcast SportsNet will take a look at his recruitment, where he could end up, and how he would fit at each possible destination.
When taking a look at high school athletes who are headed to play major college sports, sometimes context can help. In the case of Woodbridge (Va.) defensive lineman Da'Shawn Hand, he is in pretty good company.
Over the past four seasons, three times a defensive lineman has been the No. 1 overall prospect in the land, according to Rivals.com. Just last season it was Robert Nkemdiche, who signed with Ole Miss. Two years prior to that, it was a man who is quickly becoming a household name, South Carolina's Jadeveon Clowney.
So how does Hand stack up against those two? Read more below.
Clowney is a physical anomaly, the type of athlete that is incredibly rare on a football field. Chatter about his injuries and supposed lack of drive aside, he still remains atop most NFL Draft boards as he ends his junior season at South Carolina.
Why is he so coveted? He is fast, agile, and explosive and he can deliver a hit or two, as one Michigan running back knows. He can change how an offense operates in the sense that he commands double teams and
His production has dropped, likely because of lingering injuries, this season, but expect big numbers when he gets to the NFL Combine.
The scariest part? He ran track in high school.
Nkemdiche and Hand are similar in height, but the Ole Miss lineman is close to 30 pounds heavier than the Woodbridge senior. But their skill set is similar.
He has struggled with injury during his freshman season, as Clowney has during his junior year, but has accrued 19 tackles.
The future is ahead is what will be bright for Nkemdiche, not necessarily the present.
At 6-4, 260 pounds, it is the combination of size, speed, and balance that makes Hand such a force when rushing the passer. He, too, can draw double teams and disrupt the opposition in the backfield.
He is powerful while also being under control, which is a credit to his balance. Even when going against larger offensive lineman at the college level, his speed will allow him to still be effective.
The Big Ten and the SEC need to be on notice.