Preseason American Family Insurance ALL-USA selection Da'Shawn Hand is only a junior but has played up to his potential, leading Woodbridge (Va.) to the playoffs.
For the rest of the season, we’ll give a weekly look at football players who have either backed up the preseason hype or played their way into American Family Insurance ALL-USA consideration.
The postseason All-USA team will be announced in December.
This week’s player: Woodbridge (Va.) junior defensive end Da'Shawn Hand
2012 stats thus far: The 6-foot-4 Hand has 100 tackles, including 69 solo tackles, 29 for loss and 15 sacks through 10 games. He's also caused two fumbles and recovered two fumbles. Facing frequent double and triple teams, he's alternated between defensive end and nose guard to throw offenses off. He's also playing on the offensive line for the first time.
Best Games: In a 41-0 homecoming defeat of Freedom (Woodbridge, Va.) on Oct. 12, Hand had 10 tackles with a sack and three tackles for loss. In a 17-7 defeat of Stonewall Jackson (Manassas, Va.) last week, he had three sacks and a fumble recovery and helped his team hold Stonewall Jackson to 22 rushing yards.
Others’ Take: “Without a doubt, he's really turning into a good team leader," said Woodbridge coach Kevin Smith. "He's a heck of an offensive lineman and he's still doing his thing on defense. It has been a little tougher this year because teams are doubling him."
Look Out For: Through nine games, Grayson (Loganville, Ga.) 6-5, 260-pound defensive end/running back Robert Nkemdiche, who also was on the preseason ALL-USA team, has 40 tackles, including eight for loss, and has helped the Rams shut out their past four opponents. He's also run for nine touchdowns. According to Grayson coach Mickey Conn, Nkemdiche has backed off from his commitment to Clemson.
Also Look Out For: Milton (Ga.) 6-2, 250-pound defensive end Carl Lawson, who has committed to Auburn. The senior has 42 tackles (28 solos) with 19 sacks, 13 tackles for loss, three caused fumbles and 14 quarterback pressures.
Follow Jim Halley on Twitter @jimhalley.