State in the Mix for Hanson

Take a look at Charlotte (N.C.) Latin High School's quarterback Braden Hanson and you might think you are looking at a current collegiate player. The rising senior has three offers as of today, but pull out the pencil because Hanson will get more attention and offers and that may come sooner rather than later.

Hanson is a southpaw who doesn't have the normal windup release you find with most lefties. He's quick to get the ball to the receiver, has great pocket presence and when flushed out of the pocket can throw on the run with accuracy.

The 6-6, 210-pound passing specialist knows his height is a plus, but he also feels he needs to put on some more weight before he suits up in college. The quarterback took time to talk with about that issue and about a whirlwind weekend.

"Lately, it's been pretty busy," Braden Hanson explains. "Easter weekend we went to Alabama on Friday and saw their scrimmage, and then on the way back saw Georgia's spring game."

"We spent Easter in the mountains in Asheville, and then went back to Charlotte. Today [Monday], we went to North Carolina State to see practice and kind of drive around campus a little bit more, because we hadn't really seen the campus. We had just been there for a Junior Day, so that was fun."

"I had been to Alabama before to see a lot of the buildings and the academic support group and the stadium. I've gotten a lot of tours and stuff like that. It was just kind of a chance to go back there and express some interest--say hello to the coaches and just really see them working out. It was great. We got to sit in on that and walk around on the field and saw coach [Nick] Saban. He was pretty animated, and he was getting on a lot of the players."

"I got a chance to see the quarterback throw and all that good stuff. It was a good experience. Alabama is a school that I really like, so I enjoyed that a lot."

We asked Hanson if he could see himself fitting into the yet unveiled Alabama offense. "Yeah, I think so," he said.

With JaMarcus Russell in mind, we asked Hanson if he felt he had the physical traits coach Saban normally looks for in a quarterback.

"I guess my height is kind of an advantage," he said. "I need to fill out my body a little bit more. I have another year of high school, and then my freshman year will be a good chance to do that. But yeah, my height is something that a lot of people point to. That's a good thing."

Hanson's next stop was Athens to watch the spring game 'between the hedges.'

"Georgia was a lot of fun, and it was my first trip to Athens," he said. "I heard a lot of good things about the university and not just necessarily football. Obviously, they have a great football program. Some of my friends have gone there and have said it's a really fun place to be."

"I kind of went in there blind, in a sense, because I really have not had any direct conversations with any of the coaches. I had just gotten some mail and stuff like that, but I just wanted to check it out. It was a good experience."

"I got to meet coach [Mike] Bobo, the offensive coordinator and quarterback coach. He was a really nice guy and was pretty honest and talked a little bit about their quarterback situation as far as recruiting goes."

"It was good that we got to walk around. They had a really pretty campus. A lot of big trees--just really pretty I thought. The University, as a whole, is just really good academically and athletically. It would be fun to play at Georgia."

North Carolina State was next up for Hanson's whirwind tour.

"I had only been there for half of a Junior Day really," he said. "I had toured the big football center and gotten to meet with coach [Tom] O'Brien and coach [Dana] Bible before, but today [Monday] was a good chance to go back up and see them because I haven't seen them in a little over a month."

"I got there around noon, and we drove around the campus a little bit. We got to see a lot of different parts, had lunch and got to meet with coach Bible and coach O'Brien for a little bit. Coach O'Brien and I watched some film and talked about what they really look for and what kind of an offense they run. We got to see a typical, average practice, so it was a good experience."

"The coaching staff is known for developing really good quarterbacks at Boston College, so they definitely have a great track record with that. It was pretty encouraging."

Two of three of the schools Hanson visited this weekend have new men at the helm. We asked what he thought of the progress.

"Actually, if you count (North) Carolina which is the school I'm talking to a lot, and they were the first school that offered me, there is really three schools. Coach Saban at Alabama, coach O'Brien at North Carolina State and coach [Butch] Davis at Carolina."

"They are all kind of big-name coaches, and they've had a lot of success whether it be in the NFL or college at different places. They seem to be doing pretty good where they are. They kind of have to establish, and the players have to get used to the new coaching staff. For all intent and purpose, I think all of them know what they are doing, obviously. I think it's only a matter of time before the players start buying into what they have to say."

We asked the talented signal caller what he thought about the facilities at each school.

"The first one, Alabama, everything down there is about football. It's pretty obvious when you look at the facilities. I had already gotten the chance to see them the first time I went there, but they are obviously pretty unbelievable. Their stadium looks like a pro-stadium," Hanson recounted.

"N.C. State probably has the biggest weight room I've ever seen. It's like 75 yards long. A lot of the things at N.C. State is really brand new. They have a really beautiful football complex. Facility-wise I would say they are pretty high."

"At Georgia I got to see the weight room. They have a really cool display that we got to walk through. A lot of trophies and a lot of memorabilia, a lot of cool trophies and stuff. You can't just choose a school based on purely facilities because every school I've been to has great facilities."

Hanson talked of the biggest determining factor in his college decision.

"I think it's going to be a combination of things," he said. "You know you don't want to make it too complicated because it can get pretty complicated in recruiting."

"At the same time, there are just so many things that can influence you. Obviously, academics is a big thing. I wouldn't mind going out-of-state to play football and go to school."

"At the same time, schools like N.C. State and Carolina are only about two hours away, and Georgia is about three hours away. I guess that's pretty cool, but you want to play for a good program. I want to have good coaches around me that can really help me become a great quarterback and get me to the best that I can be."

Hanson's concentration seems to lean towards the SEC and ACC schools, but he shares his opinion of the conferences.

"No, the conference really doesn't mean that much to me," he said. "I don't think I would really go somewhere just because they have a lot of coverage. I mean it is cool. Places like Alabama and Georgia are obviously huge SEC powerhouse programs. The thought of playing there is pretty cool, but there are a lot of good schools and Carolina and N.C. State have had some success in the past. They have all new coaching staffs that are trying to get where schools like Georgia and Alabama have been. It's just pretty exciting everywhere I go."

We wondered if the visits from the polished, well-spoken Carolinian got him closer to offers or will a summer camp make the difference.

"A lot of schools want to see me in camp," Hansen said. "I know I've talked to N.C. State for a while, and their big thing is they don't really want to offer a quarterback until they see him throw in person. Which I can understand. Quarterback is a tough position to evaluate, and tapes can only tell you so much."

"I think that's kind of the approach Alabama is taking. They want to see me throw in camp. I think a lot of them want to see quarterbacks throw in camp, and that seems to be the case with me."

The question now becomes which camps do you attend.

"I think what we are trying to do now is just do it day-by-day," Hanson said. "There are a lot of schools that I'm talking to right now, and some schools might offer sooner."

"Some schools might want to see you at their own camp. You also have to take into account if there comes a point where I say, okay I know where I want to go, and they've offered me I could commit there."

"I'm not at that point yet, but I don't know when that's going to be. I'm trying to keep my summer as open as possible, so I can go to some of the camps."

"I'm not going to commit to one just yet, because really it's a pretty exciting time and also a pretty busy time. I don't really know. I don't have my whole summer planned out just yet. I'm trying to take it week-by-week."

We asked Hanson how did a high school junior get so levelheaded and business-like in his approach to recruiting.

"I appreciate that," he said. "I guess my parents try to keep me humble just as my coaching staff does. Also, just kind of from my perspective, nobody likes somebody who is arrogant and cocky and especially at the quarterback position. You don't want him to think only of himself. It's kind of a glamour position, but at the same time if you're not doing so well they will bury you and give you a hard time."

Hanson holds scholarship offers from North Carolina, Wisconsin and Missouri. He will attend the All-American Combine in Charlotte May 12.

Stay with as we continue to track the recruitment of Braden Hanson.

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