June 12th, 2013 10:47pm

UF makes cut for nation’s No. 1 DE, other top talent


Hand may visit UF sometime this summer. (Photo by Joe Brier/USA TODAY)

Da’Shawn Hand, the nation’s consensus No. 1 defensive end, shocked the recruiting world Wednesday.

The Woodbridge (Va.) five-star recruit named Alabama, Florida and Michigan as his Top 3 and eliminated South Carolina and Virgina Tech, which was thought to be leading for his services.

But since the school doesn’t offer a degree in sports management, Hand’s desired major, he dropped the Hokies from consideration. The 6-foot-4, 248-pounder said he didn’t connect with the professor in the undergraduate program at South Carolina.

Hand, who Rivals.com ranks as the top overall recruit, will officially visit his three finalists in the fall and go to LSU and Southern Cal on his other two officials. However, he insists the Tigers and Trojans are on the outside looking in.

The Wolverines are now believed to hold the edge for Hand, but the fact that UF is one of his favorites and he hasn’t even visited yet bodes well for the Gators. If he’s serious about academics, Alabama may be the odd man out considering the reputation of Florida and Michigan. And if it comes down to those two, UF has the SEC prestige and Sunshine State weather working in its favor.

Lewisville (Texas) Hebron safety Jamal Adams trimmed his Top 12 to a half-dozen Wednesday. The Gators made the cut for the 6-foot, 199-pounder along with Notre Dame, Ohio State, Texas and Texas A&M (no leaders). The Rivals100 and ESPN150 member is the godson of UF receivers coach Joker Phillips and visits Gainesville this weekend. His recruitment is expected to come down to Florida and the Texas schools.

District Height (Md.) Bishop McNamara offensive tackle Damian Prince, a five-star prospect according to Rivals, released a Top-10 list Tuesday of Alabama, Florida, Florida State, Georgia, Maryland, Ohio State, Rutgers, South Carolina, Tennessee and Vanderbilt (in alphabetical order). The Gators are making a move for the 6-foot-5, 292-pounder and will receive a trip from him in July. FSU is the school to beat at this time.

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  1. June 13th, 2013 4:53 am

    Hope he picks us. Would be nice and make a great statement to other prospects.

    by J

  2. June 13th, 2013 4:56 am

    Hope they all pick us to be honest. I know I’m greedy but why not?

    by J

  3. June 13th, 2013 7:22 am

    Pretty good and hopeful news, we need a couple very good prospect to fall our way, it will help draw even more great talent. Hand would be a huge draw defensively. Prince would do the same offensively. Right now things at the least feel pretty good. GO GATORS!!!!


  4. June 13th, 2013 7:47 am

    Someone might want to holler at our Sports Management program and make sure they are ready to roll if and when he visits. Also, if the kid is willing to pick UM, I dont think the weather is a huge factor for him or the conference. The kid seems kind of serious about himself from everything Ive read. I now believe that it wil come down to UF and UM.

    by Gator Champ

  5. June 13th, 2013 9:54 am

    I would bet anything the he doesn’t attend UF. Bama or Mich bound – and that is just my opinion.

    by npgator

  6. June 13th, 2013 10:46 am

    Adams also has ole miss in the mix. So everyone else should just fold their hand$$$

    by Kyle

  7. June 13th, 2013 10:55 am

    I always take recruits academics comments with a grain of salt. Over and over again, these guys spew academic importance such as the desire to pursue a certain degree, and then ultimately select a school that doesn’t even offer that major.

    These guys will pick the school they want based upon reputation, playing time, and the ability to get to the NFL. All the rest of this is just chatter.

    by Mark T.

  8. June 13th, 2013 12:22 pm

    @Mark T.: I mostly agree, but Hand did eliminate VaTech (the favorite) based on the fact that they don’t offer Sports Marketing as a major.

    by Cleveland Gator

  9. June 13th, 2013 12:28 pm

    Zach, are we trying to schedule a visit for Hand at all? It would be really nice to get him on campus.

    by bringemhome

  10. June 13th, 2013 1:58 pm

    Based on another recruiting site, Hand was blown away by the sports management presentation at Michigan. From what I have seen and heard, he hasn’t seen anything yet once Muschamp gets him on campus

    by JohnnyBallGame

  11. June 13th, 2013 4:18 pm

    Mark T & npgator-have you heard this guy in an interview??? Dude is very VERY well versed on the academic side of things and it’s no surprise that he’s into academics. He’s definitely serious and if UF is one of his choices you can bet your butts that he’s looked into their academic situation. With it being a prestigious school academically it bodes well for UF so stop hammering the kid because he’s smart and actually WANTS an education. All this negativity is not warranted so let the young man weigh his options. Just be thankful that for the 2nd year in a row the nations concensus #1 thinks enough of the Mighty Gators to consider them for his choice of school. I for one think UF has an EXCELLENT chance to land his services. GO GATORS!!!!

    by (BRGF) Baton Rouge Gator Fan

  12. June 13th, 2013 10:43 pm

    Florida recruits great…regardless who coaches. Relax, and welcome the boys who commit. Go Gators!

    by T-bone

  13. June 13th, 2013 11:54 pm

    So, Zach, you think we have a good shot with this kid? Don’t want to get my hopes up for a Bama or Mich commit.

    by TJ

  14. June 14th, 2013 2:02 am


    From what you know and heard, how does rate compared to Ronald Powell and the kid from South Carolina? Better? The same coming out of high school or a notch below?

    by Slickgator

  15. June 14th, 2013 6:34 am

    Thanks BRGF for the enlightenment, many of our fellow Gator fans are quick to ridecule athletes for not being able to make the grade (academically) now Champ and his staff are trying to pull in the athlete with higher intelect AND athletic ability and some of us don’t realise the change. I believe many of us subscribe to the myth that ALL athletes are Dumb jocks and are just looking for a way to the Gladiator Dome of PRO football. Guys it’s not TRUE it’s just a myth. GO GATORS!!!!


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