Alabama has landed a huge commitment with Woodbridge (Va.) defensive end/outside linebacker Da'Shawn Hand announcing his commitment to the Crimson Tide moments ago in an assembly held at his high school.
Hand committed to Alabama on Thursday afternoon.
The 6-foot-4, 254-pounder chose the Tide over perceived favorite, Michigan and Florida. Today is also Hand's 18th birthday.
"It's been a long process, but next year I will be attending the University of Alabama," said Hand.
Hand becomes Alabama's 23rd commitment and second top five prospect to commit to the Crimson Tide, joining 247Sports Composite no. 1 prospect, Cameron Robinson. The D.C. area standout also gives Alabama commitments from 13 different states.
He cited several factors as reasons for committing to Alabama.
"When I took my visit- I took two visits up there- I wen to a camp and got to really see how campus life is outside of the football season. I went on my official and I've seen how the gameday atmosphere is and see the culture. They have a winning tradition and all the coaches care about their players.
"They don't lie to you- they tell you how it is. I know I'm not going to come in and going to be number one on the depth chart. I know I gotta do a lot of hard work. They had the most freshman playing this year, so anything's possible."
Academics played a big role in the blue-chipper's ultimate decision.
"On top of that, Dean (Charles) Karr-the engineering dean- he's a football guy. I love that guy. Like I said, I love civil engineering and they have that major. A couple of the players that actually play are taking that major. It was hard, but I think I made the right decision. Roll Tide!
"They offer the best of both worlds. I'll start with academics- they have my major, civil engineering. Once again, I can relate with the dean, Dean Karr. I haven't met the professors yet, but I will do that in time. I've seen the labs- I loved it. I've been on campus and the campus life is amazing. The players- I know half the team already. And then the coaching staff is amazing. Why not go where there's a great possibility where you can win a national championship. So I'm just excited and Roll Tide."
Alabama outside linebackers coach Lance Thompson was Alabama's primary recruiter for Hand, who took his official visit to the Capstone on the weekend of October 25 for the Tennessee game.
Hand, who has a grade of 100 from 247Sports, ranks as the no. 5 overall prospect and no. 1 strongside defensive end in the nation. He also checks in at no. 4 overall and no. 1 in Virginia in the industry-generated 247Sports Composite.