Hansen finally getting noticed

Linemen aren't the most well known players. Especially redshirt freshmen offensive linemen. When you get a redshirt freshman offensive lineman who happens to be from a mall town in New Mexico. It's sort of a tri-fecta of obscurity.

Dillon Hansen was not well known coming out of Las Cruces, New Mexico. He was one of the state's best players that year, but due to the level of competition in that part of the state he was overlooked by a number of programs.

Arizona was able to nab the big, physical lineman and at the time they signed him they felt he was a steal.

"If he was from Houston or some other big city every school in the country would have been after him," said offensive line coach Eric Wolford on signing day 2004.

Hansen has done little to make anyone change their minds about him. He has done everything that has been asked and will compete for a starting job come fall. "Dillon has done very well, he's heading in the right direction," said head coach Mike Stoops.

While many players discuss their goals in bland terms, Hansen does not dance around the subject of a starting job. He wants to start and he wants to start as soon as possible and is working hard at getting one of the open starting spots.

"My personal goal right now is to earn a starting spot," Hansen said. "Just to get better every day and improve technique-wise. Just try to get out there and do the best I can."

Every description one gets about Hansen is that he is both athletic and strong. A nice combination for an offensive lineman. He has not only impressed his position coach, but his offensive coordinator and head coach have taken notice as well. "He's an athletic offensive lineman," Stoops said. "He needs to continue to get stronger, but I believe he does a lot of positive things for a redshirt freshman."

Mike Canales had similar positive reviews for the young man.

"(He's) a kid that we think can come in and be a factor immediately," Canales said. "He's big and strong, he understands the scheme. He's working on the fundamentals, he's got to continue to understand."

Wolford wants his linemen to be tough and what could be tougher than fighting cancer. Hansen battled and beat testicular cancer several years back.

But that's not on his mind. Right now he is focused on spring ball and improving enough so that he can be on the field for the first snaps against Utah.

"There's been ups and downs, but overall I can tell that I am getting better," said Hansen. "I'm just trying to get in there and do the best I can."

All of the linemen have been pleased with the progress the unit has made and Hansen echoes those sentiments.

"It's been a good spring so far," Hansen said. "We've been improving. We've just got to get better every day. We've got a lot of things to work on."

For Hansen it is his first spring practice at the college level. Of course his high school team had their own spring drills, but they were nothing like what he's experienced this past month. Despite the hard work and long hours, Hansen has enjoyed the process.

"It's been a great experience," Hansen said. "There's been a lot of things to learn from. You just take it as it comes and roll with it. It's been good so far."

It has indeed been good. So good that Hansen is getting a lot of praise and recognition.

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