The high school football season didn’t go according to plan for Fred Hansard, but the Princeton (N.J.) Hun standout made it a point to keep a positive attitude.
“Sadly I was hurt a lot of games this season,” Hansard explained. “I tore my meniscus, but I've been a team player and I was at every game. I'm glad I came back on (two weeks ago) against (Hightstown, N.J.) Peddie had a pretty good game.”
Hansard followed that up by helping his team cap off its perfect season last weekend with a 62-0 victory over Mercersburg (Pa.) Academy. Even with an abbreviated junior campaign coaches are still lining up to try to lure the 6-3, 305-pounder into the fold. Thus far 16 programs have seen enough to extend scholarship offers, and more appear to be on the horizon.
"I'd say I'm fast off the ball,” Hansard said describing his game. “I’m quick for my size. People can't believe how fast I move for my size. I also use my hands well."
“My favorite player of all time is J.J. Watt. That's a guy I'm trying to (emulate)."
The jockeying for position in his recruitment by his suitors has been going on for months, bit at this early stage of his recruitment Hansard is focused on maintaining an open mind.
“(No schools are) sticking out to me, but I talk to a lot of schools a lot,” he said. “Like I talk to Tennessee a lot… Ohio State, Michigan… I just keep in touch with a lot of the coaches. I’m building relationships."
The Garden State star began building a rapport with the Maize & Blue last spring.
"Last year Coach Jedd Fisch came to the school and he told my coach they'd be offering me and stuff and they were interested in me."
"It caught me by surprise, I had never talked to Michigan a day in my life."
Since then the Wolverines have made it a priority to stay in consistent contact, and the point man in that effort is former Paramus (N.J.) Catholic coach and Michigan’s current Director of Player Development and Recruiting Chris Partridge. The interest is definitely mutual.
"Every two or three weeks I talk to Partridge, he's like the big guy around here in Jersey. He gets a lot of recruits to go to Michigan, so it's really with him."
"What I like about Michigan is that they're a good football team but they are also a good school academically. That's something that caught my eye. The tradition there is like no other. 109,000 going to almost every game… that's big."
Also aiding the Wolverines’ cause is Hansard’s preexisting relationship with of few of their commits.
"I went to Camden Catholic so I know Ron (Johnson) for a while and I know Brad (Hawkins) I keep in contact with Ron,” Hansard stated. “We've been talking for a while. I know they'd love me if I go up there and play for them, so I keep in contact with them."
One of his recruiting priorities moving forward is to make his way to Ann Arbor for a visit. After that he will be able to better compare the Maize & Blue to some of the other suitors on his list.
"I'm hoping to get to Michigan at the end of the season. I’ve visited Rutgers when Rutgers and Ohio State played. I’ve visited Virginia Tech, Miami, Temple, Penn State, Syracuse… a lot of the East Coast schools."
(On the visits) I see if my major is there. Either forensics or sports broadcasting communications, one of those things. If I can see myself up at that school definitely will visit the school more than once. And like I said before, it's important for me to have a relationship with the coaching staff."