"I was just thinking, I should really go ahead and put the list out," said the 6-foot-4, 260-pound Hand. "There was no need to keep colleges waiting. I haven't been talking to any colleges lately because I've been focusing on school and wrestling. I've had the list in my mind for a while, and I just felt like today was the day to get it off my chest."
Each school appeals to Hand.
Alabama : "I like how they are very disciplined and they have great team chemistry," he said. "I also like their intensity. The engineering and the business program are both amazing. The campus and the campus lifestyle are also great."
Michigan : "They have my favorite coaching staff as a whole. They also have a great academic program. I haven't visited yet, but I'm going to soon. I've heard it's a good place, so I just have to see it for myself. "
North Carolina : "I like the tradition of the school. It's like a public Ivy League school. The coaching staff is very young and new. They also have a lot of young players. It is a program in a rebuilding period and they're building something nice."
South Carolina : "Jadeveon Clowney is my idol – I would like to follow in his footsteps. The way they beat Michigan was also crazy. They also have a nice defense and a nice engineering program and I want to visit there soon."
Virginia Tech : "Bud Foster is my favorite coach. I've been there three times and I love it every time I go there. It just feels like home and I just feel welcome there. They have great academics, too."
For now, Hand will approach the recruiting process slowly.
"I'm just going to focus on school and wrestling," he said. "I'm not even worried about football. I'm just going to focus on being a kid and enjoy life because I want to enjoy the time I have left in high school."
"I'm not making any cuts for about a year. I'm going to definitely work on the relationships with these five schools and take visits. I'm still keeping recruiting open, but I want to stick with these five and go from there."
Although he named a top five today, the Woodbridge star did mention two other schools that could possibly have a chance.
"Ohio State and Notre Dame are close behind those five," he said.
As for the rest of the spring and summer, Hand said he will attend a few combines. He also said he will definitely head to Michigan and South Carolina because those are the only two schools in his top five that he has not visited. Then when fall comes, he will focus more on recruiting.
"I'm definitely going to take all five official visits," said Hand. "After all the football stuff and academic stuff, it has to be a place where I can live and enjoy staying there for three to five years of my life."
Hand finished last season with 110 tackles, 16 sacks, 40 tackles for loss, two pass deflections, four forced fumbles, and three fumble recoveries.