Hand is one of the top players in the country. A five-star defensive end from Woodbridge (Va.), hand chose the Tide over Michigan and Florida. He is Alabama's 23rd commitment in the 2014 class, and the third five-star.
There's still about two and a half months until National Signing Day, when Hand can make it official (and permanent), but he's been so deliberate and business-like throughout the process — heck, he announced this date all the way back in August — that it doesn't feel like a switch is coming. You never know, of course, but sometimes you have a pretty solid idea.
Hand had been thought of as a Michigan lean since March, and he made his official visit to Ann Arbor in September, watching the Wolverines dispatch Notre Dame. But Hand had an excellent visit to Alabama in October, and the sight of Florida fans chanting for their coach to be fired during his UF visit in November couldn't have helped the Gators' chances.
Hand ultimately chose Alabama because of its academics, its championship tradition, and its success in churning out pro prospects. Hand also said that he wants to challenge himself by majoring in civil engineering. He knows that he will not be tops on the depth chart, and will have to work hard for playing time.
Before making his decision, Hand talked about being a nerd, meeting an impactful professor from Michigan, and seeing the earthquake simulator at Alabama, as well a hurricane simulator at Florida. He was also able to speak with Tony Dungy via the broadcast. Hand appeared to be awestruck as Dungy gave him advice on his decision and his college experience.
Alabama is considered the favorite to land the No. 1 overall recruiting class once again, as it has done for most of Nick Saban's time in Tuscaloosa.