Da’Shawn Hand is deciding his college future: You need to see it live

Cameron Smith
Prep Rally
Da'Shawn Hand is expected to be a breakout star at the collegiate level — Rivals.com
Da'Shawn Hand is expected to be a breakout star at the collegiate level — Rivals.com

Fans of the Alabama, Florida or Michigan football teams may be celebrating an early holiday gift in less than 24 hours.

Throughout the 2013 football season, Prep Rally has chronicled the trials, tribulations and on-field dominance of Da'Shawn Hand, Rivals.com's No. 1 overall recruit. On Thursday the defensive lineman will finally make his long-awaited college decision in an announcement that will be broadcast live on NBC Sports Network and streamed live right here on Prep Rally and at Rivals.com starting at 12:40 p.m. EST.

Hand could play at any college football program in the nation, but he's choosing between three finalists: Alabama, Florida and Michigan. The Woodbridge, Va., native is geographically closer to Alabama than the other two programs, but he also has strong Michigan ties via both Woodbridge assistant football coach Prescott Burgess, a former Wolverines star, and his friend Jabrill Peppers, the second-ranked prospect in the Class of 2014 who has committed to Michigan.

In case you haven't seen any of Hand's highlights, check them out here at Rivals.com or just consider analyst Mike Farrell's take on the Virginia defensive end.

Hand is an elite pass rusher with great balance and agility and an amazing work ethic. While he's also a guy who could stand up or play down like [Class of 2014 defensive end Lorenzo] Carter, he's not a high-risk guy because he can do it all and could even hold his own inside if needed.

So far, Hand has been cagey about which way he's leaning. He spoke glowingly of the food at Alabama but also said that he enjoyed Ann Arbor. The 6-foot-4, 260-pounder insists that academics are a key factor to his decision.

Which school wins out? You'll have to come back here or to Rivals.com to find out. Again, it starts at 12:40 p.m. EST on Thursday. In the meantime, read Farrell's best guess and let the world know where you think Da'Shawn will land by tweeting with the hashtag #HandPicks.

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Cameron Smith is the editor of Prep Rally on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at preprallyblog@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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