TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — In his first appearance in the media room this spring, Alabama defensive lineman Da’Shawn Hand shared two stories about how he’s been confused for other people.
One is a Crimson Tide teammate. The other is a former world champion boxer.
The first story came after a reporter asked Hand if people have ever mistaken him for Tide running back Bo Scarbrough. Both wear No. 9, and both are large humans. Hand measures 6-foot-4, 278 pounds. Scarbrough is listed at 6-2, 230 pounds.
“You know what? OK, crazy story,” Hand said, smiling. “When we were — I think it was Arizona — we were at media day. I was going on this little radio thing, and one of the guys was like, ‘Alright, one of the guys that’s gonna be toting the ball next year, No. 9, Bo.’ And then the other guy was looking at him like, and I’m just like, ‘Woah.’ He was like ‘Yeah, Bo Scarbrough, how does it feel to be behind Derrick Henry?’ And then the other guy was like, ‘Well, I don’t know about that, but he might be hitting Derrick Henry in practice. He’s one of the 14 guys on the D-line.’ It was a little mix up, but I mean we both have helmets, we’re both big and we both have No. 9.”
From there, a reporter followed up and asked Hand if he’d ever been told he looks like a young Mike Tyson. After initially blowing it off, Hand played along.
“Aww, man. C’mon. Don’t do me like that,” Hand laughed. “You know, I’ve actually got that before. It is what it is. He was a great, he was aggressive. I like to think I just look like Da’Shawn Hand.”
In terms of his acumen on the field, Tide coach Nick Saban said Hand has “done a nice job.” As a sophomore, Hand played in all 15 games last season. He finished the year with 16 tackles, 6.5 tackles for loss and three sacks. He had four tackles in the national championship game against Clemson, including two made in the backfield.
“He did a nice job when he had a chance last year. He’s doing a really good job this spring,” Saban said. “With Jonathan Allen out, him and Dalvin (Tomlinson) are getting all the reps with the ones. We’re not really rotating anybody else in there with those two guys. He’s made a tremendous amount of progress. He’s gotten bigger and stronger. He can still run. He’s still a good pass rusher. We’re trying to develop him as an inside rusher as well for third downs. We’re extremely pleased with the progress that he made and probably would have been able to contribute even more than he did last year if he’d been given a little more opportunities. I think this is going to be a really productive year for him, and he’s certainly had the right attitude about the things that he needs to do to develop and be that kind of player.”