Hand could join South Carolina Gamecocks star Jadeveon Clowney and 2013 Ole Miss Rebels signee Robert Nkemdiche as defensive ends to garner top overall recruit projections across the board. Hand’s commitment remains open, but fellow FanSided 150 top 10 selection and Commonwealth of Virginia product Quin Blanding has given his verbal pledge.
The highly touted defensive back out of Virginia Beach is currently committed to Mike London’s Virginia Cavaliers. Should London keep Blanding with the navy-and-orange until next February’s National Signing Day, he will be the second five-star recruit to ink with the Cavaliers in as many years. Virginia landed Taquan Mizzell this year.
Virginia has produced talented defensive backs in recent years, including Ras-I Dowling. Blanding would follow that tradition nicely, and should fit London’s tenacious defensive philosophy. The Cavalier offense could also score from the FanSided 150, currently holding a commitment from offensive tackle Steven Moss.
Moss is another talent within the commonwealth (Fredricksburg, Va.). Winning those local battles against Frank Beamer’s Virginia Tech Hokies is critical for London reestablishing UVa. as a player in the ACC.
Of note is that in the college football recruiting arms race that is the SEC, Butch Jones and the Tennessee Volunteers, as well as Kevin Sumlin’s Texas A&M Aggies are off to strong starts for 2014.
Jones already made waves when Tennessee landed a commitment from Jalen Hurd. The Vols also have a pledge from defensive back Todd Kelly. Like Hurd, Kelly is an in-state target.
No SEC program currently has more verbal commitments in the FanSided 150 than Texas A&M with its three. Each — defensive backs Nick Harvey and Dylan Summers-Gardner, and linebacker Hoza Scott — is from the Lone Star State. Having that distinction as the only Texas-based program in college football’s premier conference is paying dividends for Sumlin.