07-13-2012, 08:46 AM
Da'Shawn Hand enjoys time at Nike event
By: David Fawcett | Inside NoVA
Published: July 13, 2012
Whether competing against nationally-ranked recruits or chatting up current NFL stars, Da?Shawn Hand felt right at home during his four-day stay at The Opening in Beaverton, Ore.
The invite-only event brought together 152 of the nation?s top high school football prospects, including Hand, who was one of only three juniors in attendence.
With the first opportunity to wear pads since his high school season ended last November, the Woodbridge High School rising junior defensive lineman jumped at the chance to show why he?s already being considered as the nation?s possible top recruit for the class of 2014.
?I was comfortable,? said Hand, who was one of eight players from Virginia at The Opening. ?There was a lot of great competition and you had to bring your A game.?
The 6-foot-5 Hand, who estimates he has over 50 Division I offers now, liked the opportunity to showcase his strength.
?They got to see my power, it wasn?t just finesse,? Hand said. ?And being in pads, it felt good to be out there.?
Hand said a number of NFL players were in attendance there, including Ray Rice, Joe Haden and Ndamukong Suh.
?If you had a question for them, they?d answer it, but they were just chillin with us, like any normal person,? Hand said.
Hand was particularly thrilled to meet Suh, the standout defensive lineman for the Detroit Lions, who was the second overall pick in the 2010 NFL Draft.
Beyond Suh?s run-stopping and pass-rushing abilities, Hand also noted that Suh was an engineering major in college. One of Hand?s priorities in choosing a college is finding one with a reputable engineering program.
?I definitely looked up to that,? Hand said. ?I?d like to follow in his footsteps and be even better.?
Hand?s biggest challenge came after the event finished Sunday. He caught a red-eye flight back that included a stopover in Chicago before arriving home Monday morning.
?That was not fun,? Hand said.
Hand?s next out-of-town trip comes Saturday when he heads to the University of Alabama for a four-day stay. He will attend a camp down there along with Woodbridge teammate Evrett Edwards.
Hand has already made unofficial visits to Virginia, Virginia Tech and North Carolina this summer and plans to attend a camp at Ohio State later this month. He said he also might take an unofficial visit to Clemson as well before high school football practice begins for the Vikings Aug. 1.