Easily the biggest development in Virginia football recruiting this week was the report that coveted defensive lineman Da’Shawn Hand from Woodbridge High School had a top three of Alabama, Florida and Michigan.
The big news for state football fans was the absence of Virginia and Virginia Tech from Hand’s list, although the Cavaliers already had been eliminated. Earlier in the spring, Hand had named a top five that included the Hokies and South Carolina.
Out are the Hokies and Gamecocks and slightly in are Southern California and LSU, although Hand is placing those schools on a different level than his top three.
Preston Williams of The Washington Post quoted Hand on his decision to drop the Hokies: “I did not have that gut feeling that I was going to go there.”
Hand had to break the news to the Virginia Tech assistant who had recruited him, longtime defensive coordinator, Bud Foster.
“It was hard, man,” Hand was quoted in Williams’ piece. “But, I just had to get it done. He was surprised. He was upset. … I’ve got the utmost respect for him and the Virginia Tech staff, and the same with South Carolina, but it just wasn’t the place.”
Hand also said that Tech did not have his desired major, sports marketing or sports management.
(Just as an aside, one of these years when I have nothing else to do, I’d like to go back and see how many of these athletes actually end up majoring in the majors they talk about at the time of their commitments. I’d be surprised if it’s more than 10 percent).
And, as if there’s any question, I’d be surprised if the Hokies DON’T continue to pursue Hand. They’ll no doubt be in the area to keep tabs on Travon McMillian, the quarterback from Hylton High School in Woodbridge, who has committed to the Hokies.
Speaking of Tech and quarterbacks, one of the nation’s top quarterback prospects, David Cornwell from Edmond, Okla., was in Blacksburg this week on an unofficial visit.
Rivals.com has Cornwell (6-5, 235) rated the No. 3 pro-style quarterback in the country behind Kyle Allen from Scottsdale, Ariz., and uncommitted Keller Chryst from Palo Alto, Calif.
Allen has committed to Texas A&M.
Another Tech target, Jacob Park from Goose Creek, S.C., is ninth on that list. The fourth-rated pro-style quarterback is Virginian Caleb Henderson from Lake Braddock High. Henderson has committed to North Carolina.
HAND IS RATED the No. 1 strong-side defensive-end prospect in the country by rivals.com, while Tidewater products Andrew Brown and Derrick Nnadi are ranked 1-2 at defensive end. Brown plays for Oscar Smith in Chesapeake and Nnadi for Ocean Lakes in Virginia Beach.
Nnadi is being recruited heavily by Virginia and Virginia Tech, with his father an alumnus of the latter. The Hokies are also recruiting Brown, who has UVa higher on his list by most accounts.
The Cavs and Hokies also have offers out to 6-5, 235-pound Jalyn Holmes from Lake Taylor in Norfolk. Holmes, rated the No. 3 weak-side defensive end in the country, reportedly has a top three of Ohio State, Florida State and Clemson.
In its state rankings published June 3, the top six prospects in Virginia (in order) according to rivals.com are Hand, Virginia commit Quin Blanding, Brown, Nnadi, Holmes, and Henderson.
Offensive lineman Steven Moss, also committed to UVa, is seventh. Thomas Dale defensive back C.J. Reavis, at No. 10, is one of five Tech commits between 10 and 18.
The others are No. 14 Xavier Burke, No. 15 Marshawn Williams, No. 16 Vinnie Mihota and McMillian (No. 18). Terrell Edmunds from Dan River is 30th and UVa-bound J.J. Jackson is 33rd.
Also, Boston College has taken a commitment from Kam Moore, a 5-11, 191-pound “athlete” from Bishop O’Connell in Arlington, whom most list as a safety.
He is the 20th rising senior from Virginia to make an oral commitment to an FBS program.
The Boston College site indicates significant interest in Virginia from new coach Steve Addazio and his staff,