Alta's Pre-Season All-American

Braden Hansen, Alta High School's big 6-6, 275-pound, two-way lineman has been selected as a pre-season All-American. BYU is still his first school of choice.

The ball is rolling Cougar fans and no it's not a fumble. There is a deliberate reason why the ball is rolling and it comes from two key points. First, BYU is showing flashes of the old days of WAC dominance in the MWC within the first year of employing the new, yet old, offensive system.

The second key reason why the ball is rolling is because BYU's offensive line is dominating opponents on the field with three freshman players either starting or in the rotation. Plain and simple, Coach Grimes is turning heads among BYU's offensive recruits.

"It gets me excited that's for sure," Hansen said. "When I talk to [Grimes] it just gets me excited to play up there, he's an awesome coach and there's no doubt about that. He's just amazing. I don't know what else to say about him. I'm just excited to play for him."

Being a two-way player on both offense and defense, Hansen was somewhat torn on which position he should play at the collegiate level. BYU coaches had initially told him they would recruit him for whatever position he wanted to play. However, after being named a pre-season All-American candidate for the offensive tackle position, and a lighthearted tug of war discussion he was involved with BYU coaches, the decision became clearer to him.

"I do play offense and defense," Hansen said. "It kind of started of with BYU recruiting me for both positions and they just said either way, but since I've made pre-season All-American for offensive tackle, I've just let that be my guide and that's what I'm going to play up at BYU."

"We had a big thing with me and Coach Grimes and BYU's defensive coach, Coach Kaufusi. We were just talking and [Kaufusi] were saying that I should play defense, and Coach Grimes was saying, no, that I should play offense. Coach Grimes told me that if I play offensive line I would be an amazing player, and if I play defensive line I would be an alright player. He was like; "If you want to go the league, if you want to go to the next level you got to play offensive line." I was like, ‘Alright sign me up, I want to play offensive line."

It's easy to understand why Hansen has been selected as a pre-season All-American, and why Coach Grimes wants him to man the offensive tackle position at BYU.

"I don't know my total numbers but I know my highest pancakes for a single game was 18. I played Hill Crest a couple weeks ago and I had 18 pancakes. We actually grade out percentage wise with two points if you do your job, you get one point of you do your job but not very well and you get a zero if you don't do your job. Then you get three if you get a pancake block, and I actually graded out at 104 percent. Against Spanish Fork two weeks ago, I graded out at 107 percent, so I don't know what my total number of pancakes are on the season but my game high on the year is 18.

Hansen is excited about BYU and is 90 percent sure he'll sign his LOI to play for his church school. His older brother, Brock Hansen, is the fourth string quarterback on the Cougar roster. But Hansen wants to keep that 10 percent open to take a few trips to other universities while he has the opportunity to do so.

"My brother's up at BYU right now and he's fourth string, so I kind of want to be with my brother. I'm not 100 percent sure about BYU, but I'm pretty dang sure at around 90% sure that I'll go to BYU. They just have an awesome program. I love the coaches and they're right next to home so my family can watch my home games.

"They've had a really good season. They just choked a little bit on their defense with their defensive backs and secondary, but their offense is putting up some amazing numbers. BYU's offense is solid and they're just rolling. They just need to keep it going and get a bowl game.

"I talked to Coach Doman about two months ago and he just said, ‘Hey, you're going to want to make the right decision and this is the biggest decision in your life right now. You got to make sure that you make the right one, so if you want to look around and talk and stuff go ahead. You have a scholarship here at BYU, so if you want to look around and talk to coaches go ahead.' I'm almost positive I'm going to come here to BYU though. I told him that I'll probably just look around and talk to a couple of coaches, but I'm pretty positive I'll be coming to BYU. I'll probably just take a couple of trips and look around but I really like BYU.

Growing up, Hansen has known another BYU commit Mike Hague since he was little kid. The two have grown up playing against each other in both football and basketball.

"Growing up we just played against football and against basketball. I've been best friends with his neighbor since I was two years old, so I would always go over there and play and then once in awhile I would hang out with him when I was little. I came back to Alta and just growing up we played against each other in little league football and sports league for basketball and stuff he and I just got to know each other."

If one watches highlight footage of Hansen, you'll instantly recognize his footwork and athleticism for a 6-6, 275-pound big man. Hansen feels the sport of basketball has helped him to develop this part of his game. It's also because his mother will have to buy two sets of clothes for him.

"I'm 6-6 and weigh around 275-280 but during basketball season I get down to about 240. My basketball coach [Coach Cannon] is fresh out of the Army kind of guy and he's an awesome coach but all we do is run. I lean down to about 240 and have to buy new pants, so I've got two sets of cloths. I've got my football set of cloths and my basketball set of cloths, also. Basketball helps me with my lateral movement and agility."

Now heading into the semi-finals this week, Alta High School and Braden Hansen will match up head to head with his long time friend of Brighten High School.

"We've had two playoff games so far. We beat Spanish Fork and Freemont in the quarterfinals and now there's four teams left. There's us, Brighten, Skyline and West Jordan. We actually play Mike Hague this week. We play Brighton in the semi-finals up at Utah. We've already played Brighten this year and beat them 21-16, but they're pretty pumped up and Mike Hague has been talking so we'll see what happens. During the Comcast interview this week he was like, "Well, we were at the semi-finals last year and we got beat, but there is no way anyone is going to stand in our way this year, we're going all the way. I was like, "Okay buddy bring it because we're ready," chuckled Hansen.

Good luck to both Hague and Hansen, two future Cougars going head to head as opponents one last time.

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