At 6-foot-4, 254-pounds, Hand is considered the nation’s top defensive end prospect. Hand, from Woodbridge (Va.) Senior High, made his decision live on the NBCSports Network.
Alabama now holds 23 commitments for its 2014 recruiting class and is ranked No. 1 by Rivals.com, Scout.com, 247.com and ESPN.
Hand said his visit to Alabama for a summer camp earlier this year and his official visit in October helped sell him on the school’s campus life and academic offerings.
“I took two visits up there, went to a camp, and I got to really see how the campus life is outside of football season,” he said during the broadcast. “I went on my official and I saw how the gameday atmosphere is and saw the culture.”
Hand mentioned the coaching staff’s honesty as another factor that helped him make a decision.
“They have a winning tradition. All the coaches care about their players, and they don’t lie to you,” Hand said. “They tell you how it is. I know when I go in, I’m not going to be No. 1 on the depth chart, and I know I’m going to have to do a lot of hard work. They have the most freshmen playing this year so anything is possible.”
Seeing defensive ends A’Shawn Robinson and Jonathan Allen play significant roles as true freshmen likely helped Hand’s decision.
Hand also cited academics as a big selling point for him, as he’ll likely be an engineering major.
“Dean (Charles) Karr, the engineering dean, he’s a football guy,” Hand said. “I love that guy.”
Hand is rated the No. 1 player in the nation by Rivals.com, No. 5 in the nation in the 247Composite rankings and No. 6 overall by ESPN. Hand will play in the Under Armour All-America Game in January.
Finally, he said it was the lure of future national championships that may have been the biggest draw from an on the field perspective.
“Why not go where there's a great possibility you’ll win a national championship?” he asked.
Hand chose the Tide over Florida and Michigan. He is the Tide’s 23rd commit for its 2014 class.
“It was hard, but I think I made the right decision. Roll Tide,” Hand added.