Hand Spends Full Day on the Hill

While most recruits didn't arrive on campus until 5pm for North Carolina's Junior Day, Da'Shawn Hand, the nation's top recruit, reached campus a few hours earlier to spend time with UNC's newly hired defensive line coach, Keith Gilmore.

"He's a great guy," the 6-foot-4, 245-pound defensive end from Woodbridge (Va.) said. "He coached a lot of great defensive linemen, so the guy knows what he's doing. We talked football for a little bit."

Hand's early arrival also allowed for a full campus tour.

"When we got there, they showed us around the business department," Hand said. "That was cool. I love the campus – the campus is beautiful."

Once the tour ended, UNC's Junior Day began.

"The junior day was fun," Hand said. "They had this one part where we all sat down in the press conference room and a couple of us went to the podium and the coaches were asking us stupid questions. It was real funny. I had a good time with that."

Throughout the day, Hand spent a lot of time with Walt Bell, his primary recruiter, and Larry Fedora.

"My dad was there so they were mostly talking to my dad, because I've already met them so many times," Hand said. "When they talk to me, it's just saying ‘Hi' and catching up."

Hand's stay concluded with the UNC-Duke basketball game in the Smith Center.

"I had a feeling Duke was going to win, but I didn't think it was going to be like that," Hand said of the double-digit defeat for the Tar Heel hoops team.

"The fans have a lot of school pride. They're really passionate about their college."

Approximately a month ago, Hand announced a top five schools list that excluded UNC.

"I'm not making any sudden changes any time soon," Hand said. "It was a great visit. It gave me something to think about, but that's about it. I'm not changing that top five.

"Of course, I'm still considering North Carolina. I'm still open in my recruitment, but my top five is my top five."

Different attributes have allowed each member of Hand's top five – which consists of Alabama, Florida, Michigan, South Carolina, and Virginia Tech – to rise above the countless other schools that have offered him.

"I like Alabama, because it's Alabama – it's a football factory," Hand said. "They win football championships and they send people to the NFL. What's not to love? The engineering dean is a football God. If I go to Alabama, I'm probably going to be studying engineering.

"Florida, I still have to go down there. But Brad Lawing, he coaches the D-line there, and every D-linemen he touches goes to the [National Football] League. He has a good background, so I'd like to be coached by him."

"With Michigan, I like their entire coaching staff and they seem like they have a lot of character there. So I think I would enjoy playing for them. Plus, they have one of the top business schools in the country.

"With South Carolina, that was because Brad Lawing was there, but now they have Coach [Deke] Adams and I like him from when he was at UNC. I definitely want to get to South Carolina a little more.

"And then Virginia Tech, of course, has Bud Foster. It's the home town pick. If I play there, I'll get a lot of love. "

Hand's next recruiting trip is Michigan next weekend.

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