Auburn Makes Impact On Five-Star Hand

Five-star defensive end Da'Shawn Hand discusses his visit to Auburn and gives his thoughts on Gus Malzahn, Rodney Garner, and more.

Woodbride, Va.—A dominating defensive lineman and the number one defensive end in the country according to, 6-5, 250 Da'Shawn Hand took an unofficial visit to Auburn over the weekend with Coach Karibi Dede to check out the Tigers. Getting a tour of the campus, facilities, and meeting with the coaches, Hand says he was impressed by Auburn and plans to return to the Plains.

"It exceeded my expectations," Hand says. "I thought the visit was going to be real boring, but it turned out to be good. The people are good and the food was good. Everybody is just so nice there and easygoing. What you see is what you get…I have a different impression about Auburn. I'm definitely coming back for another visit. I'm definitely coming back for the Iron Bowl.

"The highlight was going on the construction site," he says of the new South Donahue Residence Hall. "They are building the new dorms and I got to see that. That was very nice. It's fun. That's the first college dorm I have seen where they have their own bathroom and flat screen TV. They have a queen size bed and a washer and dryer. It's just insane."

Da'Shawn Hand

Blown away by the facilities, Hand says that one of the best parts about the trip was having the opportunity to sit down with Coaches Gus Malzahn and Rodney Garner. A new staff that is heading into its first season with the Tigers, Hand says he can sense some excitement surrounding them at the moment.

"The coaching staff is good," Hand says. "They've got this swagger. Coach Malzahn has this swagger, a winning swagger. That's all you can say. You just like him. Coach Garner is good. He puts them out there in the league. He's a nice person and a genuine person. You can tell he's going to push you."

In 2012 Hand had a monster year on defense as he finished the year with 110 tackles, 16 sacks, and 40 tackles for a loss. For his career Hand has 259 tackles and 40 sacks. It's no surprise that those kinds of numbers have him a wanted man in the recruiting world, but he says right now he's in no hurry to make a decision and is just enjoying the ride.

"I'm just coasting, traveling, and having fun," Hand says. "I'm going to enjoy this summer. It's like my last summer really. I'm going to take my visits and enjoy my time going on vacation with my family and chilling with my friends.

"I haven't decided when I'll make my decision," he adds. "It depends on how I'm feeling. I know I'm going to visit Florida and I'll probably hit up Florida State and Clemson as well."

With Auburn now firmly on his radar following his trip Hand says that the depth problems for the Tigers after this season definitely have him watching closely to see how things play out in 2013.

"They are losing four seniors at defensive end so they need some defensive ends," Hand says. "For me I want to start early. That's an eye-opener right there. I'm not going to make any sudden moves, but I want to go back for another visit."