St. John’s (Washington, D.C.) junior safety Aaron Hansford already had a couple FBS offers from the likes of Duke and Pittsburgh, but Jan. 29 he added what he deemed a “special” scholarship from the hometown school. After Maryland head coach Randy Edsall and offensive coordinator Mike Locksley visited St. John’s that afternoon, Hansford called Edsall later that night.
“I was really kind of surprised, and the offer kind of came out of the blue,” said Hansford, who now holds verbals from the likes of UMD, Duke, Pitt, ODU and Toledo. “I was talking to Maryland a little bit during the football season, and I went to their camp back last summer, but then the last couple months it died down. But then Coach Edsall and Coach Locksley were up here at St. John’s, and my coach told me to give Coach Edsall a call later on. I did that, and Coach Edsall said, ‘We’d like to offer you.’ It was pretty cool.”
The 6-foot-2, 200-pound Hansford was admittedly thrilled. He said Edsall told him how much he liked his versatility, speed, instincts and playmaking ability, and wanted to get him up to College Park, Md., for a visit.
“Basically Coach Edsall was saying how he wants me as an athlete, but we’re mainly talking about safety,” Hansford said. “He thinks I can really help them as a safety in their defense. And then we talked about me coming up for a visit with my parents, and I’ll be doing that at some point this winter. I mean, Maryland is like 10 minutes from where I live, so we’ll get over there one of these days.”
Hansford said it was “really cool” how both Edsall and Locksley came to St. John’s to discuss both he and teammate Terrell Hall. He went on to mention his initial interest in UMD.
“Maryland is the hometown school, and that’s a great offer to have, just knowing that your home school wants you,” said Hansford, who mentioned he isn’t sure what Terrell Hall is thinking, though he acknowledged the primetime defensive end likes Ohio State. “My family and friends can come support me there, so it’s really good in that sense. Then I know some guys there already like Will [Ulmer], and a lot of my friends are looking at Maryland too. I feel like Maryland is on the minds of a lot of guys around here now, so it’s definitely a place I’m going to be looking at too now that I have the offer.
“Plus Maryland competes in the Big Ten, and that’s great because it’s awesome competition. I don’t know too much else beyond that right now, but I’m definitely doing more research.”
Hansford has actually been on campus a couple times before, although never for a formal tour. He attended a one-day camp last summer and later returned for the Maryland-Michigan State game.
“Maryland didn’t win that game, but it was still a good atmosphere with the black out,” Hansford said. “It was a tough game though. The Big Ten competition is no joke; Michigan State won the Cotton Bowl. But Maryland held their own in that conference last year, so I think they’re coming up.”
Maryland isn’t the only program on Hansford’s mind, however. He’s also taking a strong look at early offeree Pitt, and will be visiting Duke for the first time Feb. 7. In addition, he said both Penn State and Ohio State have been in touch, and would certainly have his attention should they make a move.
“I visited Pitt back in December when they played Syracuse, and I really, really liked it,” Hansford said. “It’s a great environment up there, and I thought it was cool how they share a facility with the Steelers. Not every college can say that – that they use the same facility as a pro team. So that was pretty cool.
“Then I’m looking forward to visiting Duke, meeting their coaches and seeing the campus. Duke is a great school with great academics, so they’re definitely on my mind. And I visited Ohio State back when they played Michigan. They’re recruiting me, and I’d love to have an offer from them. It’s really, really nice up there and it’s a terrific program. They just won a national championship.”
As of right now Hansford has no early standouts or offers he’s pining for. He said he probably won’t have any sort of leaderboard until “much later” after going through the evaluation period and discussing matters with his parents. Hansford would like to have his school selected by late summer, however.
“I’m still looking at all the schools to see what’s the best fit and what my parents think as well,” he said. “I’ll definitely be looking at academics, because I plan to be in college for four years and get a great degree. Early playing time is big because I want to be on the field, and location too. I want my parents to be able to see my games. Competition is important, of course, too. I want to play against great competition in a great conference.”
Last year Hansford lined up at receiver, safety and linebacker for St. John’s. He wasn’t sure of his reception or tackle numbers, but he did have six sacks and a forced fumble.
“I think safety is going to be my main position in college,” Hansford said. “I use my speed in the open field and I can cover a lot of ground, so I think safety is where I’m going to fit in. I’ve still got to learn the finer points of the position, but next year I’m lining up just at safety, so I’m looking forward to that.”
Hansford Thrilled With UMD Offer
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