Da’Shawn Hand has about all of the accolades a sophomore prospect could have at this point.
The 6-foot-5, 240-pounder defensive end/linebacker from Woodbridge High School (Woodbridge, Va.) already has 30 offers. He’s the only sophomore who has earned an invite to The Opening this summer in Oregon and he’s been rated as the top overall prospect in the 2014 class by one service.
Still, somehow Hand manages to stay grounded.
“I don’t let it get to my head,” he said. “I’m just enjoying my sophomore year and trying to improve on anything.
“Of course it’s fun. It’s always fun, but at the same time you’ve always got to work hard so you can maintain all of the fun.”
He was excited about earning his invitation to The Opening after this weekend’s Nike Football Training Camp in Baltimore.
“It was a good feeling,” he said. “They told me I’m the first person in my class to go. That was an amazing honor.”
Hand’s current offer sheet includes programs like Alabama, Oklahoma, Ohio State, Penn State, Michigan, Nebraska, Penn State, Florida, Florida State and Stanford among several others. Last week, he added Notre Dame to the group.
“Every offer is an honor and it’s always surprising,” he said. “Notre Dame is an amazing school and it has a lot of history.
“I know Justin Tuck and (Jimmy) Clausen went there and I know they’re a good academic school. That’s about it so far. I’m just getting into college football.”
To this point, the only college Hand has visited is Virginia Tech. He plans on getting out a bit this summer.
“I’m going to Alabama’s camp and I’m going to Virginia Tech’s camp,” he said. “I’m going to the Rivals 100 All-Star camp and I’m going to The Opening.”
But he hasn’t thought about any fall visits yet.
“I haven’t thought that far ahead,” he said.
Or whether or not South Bend could end up being a stop for him.
“At this point, I do not know,” he said. “If I feel that I want to go take a visit, then I’ll go take a visit.”
It’s still too early for Hand to have developed any favorites, “Every school is about the same. They’re all good.”
But he does have an idea of the factors that will play a major role in his decision.
“Academics because I want to major in petroleum engineering or engineering period and I want to minor in business,” he said. “A good coaching staff, a great environment, great players and campus life and stuff like that.”
Hand is excited about challenging himself in the classroom in college with engineering.
“I enjoy being innovative and getting down to the nitty gritty of things,” he said. “I just found out about petroleum engineering and it kind of interests me.”
Hand’s complete package on the field is what interests so many college coaches.
“My technique, my tenacity, that’s what coaches tell me,” he said. “They say they like my technique, speed, tenacity and athleticism.”
Hand says he’s being recruited as a linebacker in 3-4 schemes and as a defensive end on 4-3 defenses.