Three-star outside linebacker Aaron Hansford has popped up on the recruiting radar of dozens of college programs across the country. Notre Dame and Florida both offered last week, pushing the 6-foot-2 ½, 210-pounder’s offer total to nearly 20.
According to Hansford’s father, Adam, the Irish coaching staff visited St. John’s College High in Washington D.C., earlier in the spring and made the offer a short time later.
“They came up to visit the school at least once,” Adam Hansford said. “I think they had an opportunity to do an eye test and see how he measured up to what they see on a Hudl highlight or something like that. Evidently they felt in terms of his character and quality of person that he would be a good fit for the program. He was very, very excited to hear from Notre Dame. He was probably a little surprised but at the same time a little excited.”
Most schools project Hansford as an outside linebacker in college, although a few see him as a safety.
Hansford, who also excels at track, hasn’t had the opportunity to visit many of the schools on his offer list. That’s something the Hansford family hopes to do this summer.
“They’re just finishing school and as of last week they finished their final exams,” Adam Hansford said. “He had a really good year academically but during the school season he’s running track as well and they just finished up their conference championships about a week or two ago too so he’s been very busy. He hasn’t had the time or chance to really get out and visit. Hopefully we can do a little bit of that over the summer and going into the fall.”
Deciding which schools to visit will be just as difficult as finding the time to make the trips.
“We would like to see them all if possible because they’re all really great schools,” Adam Hansford said. “Every opportunity a kid gets at this level is definitely something you want to take advantage of. It doesn’t come every day. There are a lot of kids out there who would like to have an opportunity like this. You can’t look past anybody. This is a chance to get a premium education and play football, the game you love at a high level. I wish we could take a look at them all but we’ll have to sit down at some point and try to prioritize our time and look at the programs that best match Aaron in terms of what he wants to study as well.”
Hansford has an interest in Kinesiology and Sports Medicine. He could also study business.
Hansford hasn’t identified an early list of favorites. That’s something that could happen later in the year after he has had the chance to further evaluate his options.
“All of these schools, all 20, are great, great, great schools,” Adam Hansford said. “I’ve been talking to Aaron every day about it. It’s a very difficult choice. The most important thing is to try to get a chance to visit these schools and basically look at the campus life and see where he would fit in and make sure the culture of academic work and social life and things like that really suits him. Beyond football we just want to make sure it’s an environment that he would feel comfortable in and an environment he would relish and have great success in as well. It’s really, really hard.”
The spike in his recruitment hasn’t made it any easier on Hansford.
“It’s one of those things as a family we just have to sit down and discuss, especially as we start to look at life beyond football,” Adam Hansford said. “What’s going to give him the best opportunity to learn and grow as a professional?”
Hansford’s parents both ran track in high school and college.
His father was a two-time high school All-American and his mother won a Louisiana state championship and held the state record in the 400-meters for 32 years. Her time of 54.11 seconds was broken in 2013. She went on to run track in college and she also competed during her enlistment in the Navy.
Florida’s track coaching staff has recruited Hansford, who is considering competing in both sports at the next level.
“Collegiate sports are very demanding,” Adam Hansford said. “It’s a full time job either way. It’s a lot of pressure and a lot of stress so it’s a matter of whether or not he wants to be able to maintain that kind of athletic career throughout college. Running track in Division I is highly, highly competitive. Any sport in college you’re going to have to be pretty much fully dedicated to it. At some point he has to make the choice whether or not he wants to do both or if he just wants to focus on football or track. I think right now he’s leaning more towards football.”
Scout.com ranks Hansford as the 46th best outside linebacker in the nation.