Midseason Update: Braden Hanson

North Carolina pledge Braden Hanson has his Charlotte (N.C.) Latin team off to an impressive start. The Hawks have posted a 5-0 record and have defeated their opponents by an average margin of 32.2 points.

"I think we've got some talent on both sides of the ball," Hanson said. "Especially in the passing game we've got some guys that can really stretch the field and make some plays after they catch it.

"We've got a good game plan on offense. We know what we're doing. We're able to get in and out of plays that are good for us."

Hanson, a 6-foot-6, 190-pound quarterback, has passed for 1,189 yards and 14 touchdowns, while completing 71-percent of his passes (74-of-104). He also ran in a score.

"Looking at some of my films from last year while I've been preparing, I can see differences in my game," Hanson said. "I can see that I'm a little bit smarter than I was last year in some of the throws that I'm making and some of the reads that I'm making."

Only two of Latin's first five opponents own winning records. So is Latin really that good or have its opponents been just that bad?

"I think it's been a little bit of both," Hanson said. "I think that we are a very good team – I really do. But I know like last week we played a team that we were up 51-0 on at halftime.

"But Victory Christian has a lot of talent. They might be more physically imposing then we are… And then Charlotte Catholic has a great program and they've been really good for years, and we beat them pretty bad.

"I know we haven't played Independence or Butler, but I think we can hold our heads up high. The teams we've played with talent we've pretty much dominated."

Regardless, the meat of Latin's schedule is found in the second half of the season. All but one of the Hawks' five remaining opponents are undefeated, including conference rivals Charlotte (N.C.) Christian, Charlotte (N.C.) Providence Day, and Charlotte (N.C.) Country Day.

"Ultimately, we don't expect to lose," Hanson said. "…We know we have a lot of talent, but it's just a matter of practicing really well each week and really wanting to win more than the opponent."

Hanson, who verbally committed to UNC in July, remains in constant contact with the Tar Heels' coaching staff. Both Sam Pittman and John Shoop call him regularly.

"[Shoop] tells me how they're doing, we talk about how I'm doing," Hanson said. "We talk about a little bit of everything. We just have a friendly conversation."

Earlier in the month, Hanson attended the Tar Heels' season opener against James Madison.

"I couldn't be anything but impressed," Hanson said. "It was just so alive. There was excitement everywhere. The fans were into it. The team was into it and they just came out and dominated."

Hanson, who plans to be on hand for both the Miami (October 6th) and South Carolina (October 13th) games, hasn't attended any games since. However, he has still paid close attention to UNC's season, which has taken a downturn since JMU.

"I'm sure they'll turn it around," Hanson said. "They've got some talented guys. It's not really my place to judge how they're doing. I think only they really know how they're doing and hopefully they'll get it turned around."

While following UNC's season, Hanson has found it hard to ignore the success of red-shirt freshman quarterback T.J. Yates.

"I'd be lying if I said it doesn't make me think about things," Hanson said. "Having him as a starter as a red-shirt freshman and then having Mike Paulus a year behind him and a year in front of me. It will be a little tougher in terms of playing time, because of course everybody wants to play. The way I'm approaching it now is I'm not trying to worry about that…. I'm just really trying to work on my high school year."

Regardless, Hanson made it clear he's in no way wavering in his decision to sign with UNC in February.

"I can't ever envision a situation where I would de-commit from Carolina," he said.

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