BEAVERTON, Ore. – The Opening let more than 160 of the nation’s top prospects test themselves against elite competition. Three-star outside linebacker Aaron Hansford shined in that spotlight with a pair of interceptions and inclusion in The Opening’s all-tournament team. He also picked up positive feedback from coach Chris Gizzi, a former NFL linebacker.
Hansford helped his Superbad team into the 7-on-7 semifinals.
“My confidence is through the roof right now,” said Hansford, a 6-foot-2, 210-pounder from St. John’s College High School in Washington D.C. “It really is up there. I can’t wait to get back to St. John’s and ball out and try to win a championship.”
“I learned a lot. Coach Chris Gizzi taught me a lot at the outside linebacker and the Mike position that I didn’t know. I kind of cleaned up my weaknesses of looking at the quarterback and looking more at my man and playing your zone and stuff. He taught me a lot and what he taught me helped me get those interceptions. I can’t complain.”
Matching up against the nation’s top prospects challenged Hansford to improve his own game.
“It was great competition and showed me the level it will be when I get to college. I had a lot of fun here,” he said. “I did pretty good against the matchups here. I got two interceptions on (Thursday) and I played some lock down at outside linebacker against the tight ends and wide receivers. I think I matched up well and can’t wait to get to college.”
Where he’ll play his college ball should become clearer in the next several weeks.
“I know Ohio State will be on that list and Penn State will be on that list,” he said. “I know Oregon, UCLA, Florida and I know Notre Dame and some other schools out there like Maryland and some others.”
Notre Dame assistant Scott Booker has remained in close contact with Hansford, who also has had some regular communication with Irish head coach Brian Kelly.
“They said they’d use me as a field backer or outside linebacker that covers slots and gets the majority of the field to play in space more,” Hansford said. “That position has a lot of speed and athletic ability and they see me at that position.”
The Irish have something else going for them as well.
Hansford’s father is a lifelong Notre Dame fan and the two are eager to visit South Bend.
“I love the academics at Notre Dame and the tradition of football,” Hansford said. “My dad is a big Rudy fan. When I was a little kid we’d watch that movie every day. I promise you every day we watched that movie. I’d like to go out for a visit up at Notre Dame. I’ve never been to South Bend, Indiana before. It will be a good experience for me.”
Scout.com ranks Hansford as the 35th best outside linebacker in the country.