Hand gives Gators thumbs up


Consensus five-star defensive end Da’Shawn Hand officially visited Florida over the weekend and came away impressed with what the Gators had to offer.

“It was a great visit,” he said. “Good food. Good people. I enjoyed myself.”

The 6-foot-4, 248-pounder from Woodbridge (Va.) Senior gained a positive perspective on UF’s coaching staff despite Saturday’s loss to Vanderbilt.

“The coaches are very passionate people that care about their players,” he said. “They handle adversity well, even though they didn’t get the win.”

Hand’s host was Florida freshman linebacker and fellow Virginian Matt Rolin, who gave Rivals’ No. 1 overall prospect some important advice.

“We had so many conversations, the list can go on,” he said. “The big thing that stood out is he told me don’t listen to anybody else and make a decision solely based on what I want to do because it’s my life. He chose Florida even though everyone wanted him to go to South Carolina.”

Hand holds offers from all over the country and could have visited any school he desired before his decision this week. So why take a trip to UF given the current state of the football program?

“Well, Will Muschamp is a good guy and he has a great reputation,” he said. “Florida also has tradition and academics. They have every degree you can imagine. They had engineering, they had sports management, and they had journalism and communications, which I didn’t know I was interested in until I visited there. I’m very happy I did.”

Hand will announce his college choice Thursday at 12 p.m. ET on NBCSN’s SportsDash with Yahoo Sports. His finalists are Alabama, Florida and Michigan.


  1. Glad we were able to help him open up his educational plans and show him something new. Need a big rush end to help Bullard and Fowler next year. Probably going to have to go JUCO for this year. Hand is to in love with Michigan. Carter is probably going to Bama but he is not a take over a game DE yet anyway. Have my concern if he could even start for us next year. Sharp is going to UGA. Randolph is going to FSU. Sousa is going to be a Gator flip if they don’t get Eric. JC is 50/50 with Miami. If he goes, Adoree and Jamal will fill that spot.

  2. The true battle is Bama vs. Michigan. Period. He did get out of the cold NE for a weekend in November…..and the food was good as well….at Florida, If Hand was serious about coming to Florida, he would not be making a decision Thursday and would have come for the FSU game instead. It would be world shattering if he picked the Gators on Thursday.

  3. Gator Nation has been overcome by lessened expectations. I don’t know if our HBC turns things around next year or not with a healthy, much more experienced, loaded roster. But I don’t think our recruits look at our program based on a one-year melodrama. They see playing time and each brings lots of optimism about what he’s going to bring to impact the program. So I will be surprised if we don’t wind up with a pretty good class.

  4. Hey J-way to be a positive force on the thread. Real nice.I saw the interview Mr. Hand gave & he sounded very positive in Florida. He got real geeked when talking academics & that was definitely a positive. Despite the negativity of some, I really think he comes the UF. Sounds as if he has a good head on his shoulders as he was shown a good time on his visit. I’m sure Carter will be UF bound & he was definitely make an impact. Heck if Ole Miss can land a top recruiting class with absolutely NO fotoball pedigree why can’t Florida?!!? GO GATORS!!!!

  5. FYI, look over Hand’s shoulder. For those that are insisting the stadium is or will be empty (whether you post here or not), notice that the lightest attended section of the stadium (east stands) is full, save for the blotchy areas in section 35 and 33, approx rows 85-90.

    I read a post in one of the national publications’ blogs where someone was asserting that the UF fans are abandoning the Gators in ‘droves’.

    Even Dooley was stirring the pot with his 10-minutes-before-kickoff tweet. I sat in section 14 and though it filled up into the 1st qtr, the stadium was full in N. and S. Endzone and W stands.

  6. Sroode, Look up the derivation of the word “fan” and then look up the definition of a “fanatic” and then look in a mirror and admit to yourself that you want the same warped “loyalty” mindset as people who hide in caves an commit dastardly acts. I would kinda like to take a reasoned approach and be able to admit when the porterhouse steak at an esteemed restaurant is rancid, it might be a good idea to send it back and not eat it just because you are buds with the owner.

  7. Mike, the guy who’s covering the Gators for the Florida Times-Union intimated that there were 20,000 empty seats at the game. There’s no way attendance was that low. Some lazy journalists are repeating a narrative not supported by facts.

  8. Sroode21 EXACTLY!!!!!!! Well said my man. @Lou Vales, your comments represent your sad sick lil world bro. Don’t put your demented view of reality on me. Go Gators…I like this class. The fact that we only have room for 15 tells you what we inherited from the last coach.

  9. I really want Hand to come to Florida, but I don’t think it’s a possibility. In my opinion it’s really nothing that UF has done bad, I just think that he really likes Michigan. Even if Hand doesn’t commit this class will be fine! I have more than enough confidence in Muschamp to deliver a recruiting class that meets our needs.

  10. Maybe if our fans weren’t so negative all the time we could have recruits LOVE their trips to the swamp. Yes it’s been a rough year but calling for a coaches job one year after we get to a bcs game probably isn’t going to make it better. Quit complaining about our play and go cheer for the team. Period. We won’t impress any recruits with all the crap attitudes going around right now. Can we play better? Yes. But look in the mirror and start putting some blame on yourselves for how the atmosphere is in the swamp. Players don’t make the swamp the best place on earth for football, WE do. Good or bad GO GATORS