TUSCALOOSA, AL -
Da'Shawn Hand has the rare blend of athleticism and speed.
The nation's top-rated defensive end had 94 scholarship offers on the table.
"It was a long process, but next year I will be attending the University of Alabama," Hand said in a televised ceremony on Nov. 14, 2013 at his high school in Woodbridge, Va.
Those words excited the Alabama coaching staff. But, Hand is not your average football player. In fact he's a self-described nerd.
"On top of that, Dean Karr, he's the engineering dean, he's a football guy, I love that guy," Hand added during his announcement. "Like I said, I love civil engineering, and they have that major."
Those words fired up Alabama's engineering department.
"It's not too often that we have engineering kids announce their school on ESPN," Alabama engineering Dean Chuck Karr said.
Hand also mentioned that an earthquake simulator was one of the highlights during his official visit in Tuscaloosa.
"We have a lot of neat toys around here," Dean Karr said. "He happened to see this one."
The department has a "shake table" and a wall system simulator.
"We can actually run, and simulate an earthquake that is a magnitude that we would not to actually be in, a larger magnitude than we've seen in any recent times," Alabama engineering department head Ken Fridley said.
"It's about an 8.0 earthquake, it's rather large," Fridley added.
The engineering professors look forward to having Hand part of their program, while head football coach Nick Saban and the football team look for Hand to cause as much destruction on the football field as does the earthquake simulator to the model house.
"You mention he was a football recruit for Coach Saban, from our perspective he was an engineering recruit," Dean Karr said. "We just hope they didn't screw it up with the football program."
That's how academics helps out athletics, in this case, vise versa.