Da’Shawn made an admirable decision when he signed with Alabama in the 2014 recruiting class. Ranked by many as the top defensive end prospect in the nation, he understood it may be awhile before he started and was able to lead the Crimson Tide defense on the field.

After patiently waiting his turn, while making solid contributions in the meantime, Hand enters his final season in Tuscaloosa entrenched as one of the team leaders eager to prove the defense will remain as one of the most feared units in the nation.

During his Thursday media availability, Hand discussed his opportunity this season of finally getting to be one of the key faces of the Alabama defense.

“Yeah, it’s a very important season for me,” Hand said. “I have to showcase my athleticism, like you said, I’ve been waiting, I’ve been working so I’m just ready to showcase.”

Make no mistake, walking into Tuscaloosa as an All-American recruit having his choice of attending nearly any school in the nation and having his name land at the bottom of the depth chart wasn’t easy for Hand. Despite the challenges presented to him in Tuscaloosa, that experience appears to have proven to be very beneficial to the senior.

“It was a humbling experience but I’m glad I went through it,” Hand admitted. “God has no mistakes in a man’s life so I was just riding the wave, like I said, just kept chopping at the wood and now’s my time.”

After making 44 tackles, 11 tackles for loss, and six sacks in 24 career appearances, Hand is eager to show the Alabama front seven won’t be taking a step back despite the losses of Jonathan Allen, Ryan Anderson, Reuben Foster, Tim Williams, and Dalvin Tomlinson.

“How hungry am I? To be honest, man, I don’t even know how to answer that question,” Hand said. “That’s how hungry I am, it’s unmeasurable, for real.”

Alabama fans hungry to see the former top overall recruit in action have to be satisfied by that answer.

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