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4-Star 2017 DT Fred Hansard's 'Explosiveness' Commanding National Attention

Tyler Donohue@@TDsTakeNational Recruiting AnalystMay 19, 2015

Credit: 247Sports

Fred Hansard fights the grip of sleep to wake up at 5 a.m. twice a week for speed and agility training. The 6'4", 310-pound lineman admits it isn't always an easy process.

"I really wasn't digging those workouts too much at first," he told Bleacher Report.

Then college coaches began showing up to see him at The Hun School in Princeton, New Jersey, and it became a bit less difficult to answer his morning alarm.

"When I saw these coaches showing up, I understood how important every morning run can be," Hansard said.

The sophomore defensive tackle doesn't need to search for proof. It arrived earlier this month in the form of several scholarship offers.

Hansard, who entered last season with just one offer from nearby Temple University, witnessed his recruiting process accelerate in a hurry. He received six offers from Power Five programs during a scintillating stretch that spanned May 6-12, altering his outlook about future possibilities. 

"It feels like my life pretty much changed in about a week," Hansard said.

Ohio State, Iowa, Virginia Tech, Boston College, Michigan and Arizona State each extended scholarships. His head coach, Todd Smith, warned him that a whirlwind was coming.

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"Coach told me to be ready for a busy spring evaluation period," Hansard said. "I wasn't sure if that would turn out to be true, but the offers started rolling in and I knew he was right."

Smith recalls the first time he caught a glimpse of his eventual two-way starter. Hansard was considering a transfer from Camden Catholic High School, a move he eventually made.

"I've been doing this for a pretty long time, and I remember already seeing all the tools when I was watching his freshman film," Smith said of Hansard. "His violent first step, the natural strength and just God-given talent. It was all there."

Rated 12th nationally among class-of-2017 defensive tackles in 247Sports' composite rankings, Hansard's recruiting eruption was only a matter of time.

He recorded 34 tackles, including 23 for loss, and five sacks last fall, helping his squad secure a Mid-Atlantic Prep League title. A school that once produced top overall recruit and Florida State star Myron Rolle now has a new big man on campus.

That became apparent on May 6, when Hansard momentarily stepped out of chemistry class to receive some good news. Ohio State wanted him and wasn't willing to wait any longer to pull the trigger on an offer.

"The first thing that came to my mind was, 'That's the national champion,' and then I didn't know what to think. I'm just glad there were only about 10 minutes left in chemistry, because I was too excited to focus," Hansard said. "When the national champs offer you early, it makes you feel blessed. It's an opportunity to play for one of the best coaches ever."

By the end of the next day, Iowa had also offered. That Sunday—Mother's Day—it was Arizona State's turn to join the party.

"I was pretty psyched about that offer because I really liked Arizona when I visited before," he said. "It's my first Pac-12 offer, so it kind of shows that teams in different parts of the country want to recruit me."

Hansard returned to school Monday, May 11 with news that Virginia Tech offered.

The next morning—one of those especially early ones that await him each Tuesday—the avalanche of collegiate interest gained even more momentum. 

Michigan and Boston College both extended offers. The Wolverines actually sent an assistant coach to one of his bright-and-early training sessions, presenting the opportunity in person.

"I think Michigan is going to have some big seasons coming up," Hansard said. "[Head coach] Jim Harbaugh went to a Super Bowl, and there aren't many coaches who can say they've done that. I think he's going to be really successful at Michigan."

An offer list that featured five teams (North Carolina, Miami, Temple, Syracuse and Rutgers) just one week before had suddenly more than doubled in size.

"To be honest, most of those offers were a surprise," Hansard said. "It was the first time I really communicated with some of the schools."

That communication continues to expand.

Alabama assistant and ace recruiter Mario Cristobal met the fast-rising defender on the morning Hansard spoke with B/R.

"Hopefully, I can start to get some opportunities at SEC schools," he said. "Auburn and Alabama have both stopped by, and it feels like I have a pretty good relationship with them." 

It turns out those pre-dawn speed and agility drills are paying off in a big way.

"A lot of coaches like how I'm able to move well at my size," Hansard said. "They like the way I fire through my hips with my hands shooting up. I think my explosiveness stands out."

He's in good company as a coveted defensive tackle in New Jersey, home of top-rated 2016 recruit Rashan Gary.

"I got to talk to Rashan at a recent camp. He's a cool guy and told me all about some of his recruiting experiences and visits so far," Hansard said. "He told me stay humble with every offer that I get."

Hansard appears primed to follow Rashan Gary, pictured, as New Jersey's next star defensive lineman.
Hansard appears primed to follow Rashan Gary, pictured, as New Jersey's next star defensive lineman.Credit: 247Sports

If this month is any indication, those offers will continue to stack up as his upperclassman career nears.

"Fred moves like a 220-pound kid, so he has that rare blend of size, speed and athleticism that every college coach is looking for," Smith said. "At this point, I don't think he needs to do the camp circuit. We're going to let his film speak for itself for right now."

Hansard will fill just about every role along the defensive front in 2015 while serving as the team's left offensive tackle. Smith said the focus is on developing a well-balanced repertoire of moves, particularly in pass-rush situations.

"He won't be just a bull-rush guy," the coach said.

Hansard hopes to visit multiple campuses this summer. His previous college trips include Syracuse, Temple, Virginia Tech and Rutgers.

He is in no rush to make a decision and will let upcoming offers dictate how this recruitment progresses.

"I'm definitely enjoying the process, and I'm very excited to see what happens next," Hansard said.

All quotes obtained firsthand by Bleacher Report National Recruiting Analyst Tyler Donohue.

Recruit ratings courtesy of 247Sports.

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