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4-Star DT Fred Hansard Discusses His Rise in Recruitment, Latest Offers & Visits

Tyler Donohue@@TDsTakeNational Recruiting AnalystSeptember 16, 2015

Credit: 247Sports

New Jersey defensive tackle Fred Hansard entered his sophomore high school season with a single scholarship offer from nearby Temple University.

What a difference one year can make.

Days shy of his junior season opener, the 6'3", 310-pound playmaker is approaching 20 offers and commands constant attention from some of college football's most prominent coaching staffs.

"Some teams hit me up to check on me almost every day. It's a great feeling," Hansard told Bleacher Report.

The Hun School of Princeton kicks off its 2015 campaign Friday night, and its most coveted athlete understands that spotlight will shine brighter than ever before. 

"I definitely can feel all the eyes on me entering this season. My goal is to just go out and show out," Hansard said.

He aims to build off a 2014 effort that featured 34 tackles—23 for lossand five sacks.

This autumn started in exciting fashion last weekend, when Hansard traveled to Michigan State for the Spartans' highly anticipated Top 10 showdown against Oregon:

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Fred Hansard @Fred_Hansard53

Michigan State is too lit 🔥❇️⚪️ #V4MSU http://t.co/u26EQm6sq8

Michigan State won the matchup, 31-28, and hosted approximately 200 high school prospects in front of a raucous crowd. 

"The atmosphere was out of control," Hansard said. "Those fans were hyped, and there were a ton of recruits in the stadium. It was crazy throughout the entire game, and the outcome made things even more insane."

He took in the action alongside his parents, who made the lengthy journey with him. Hansard compared the experience to a past Penn State game-day trip.

"Even though Michigan State doesn't have as many seats (Spartan Stadium capacity is approximately 30,000 people fewer than Beaver Stadium), the environment was still really similar because of how pumped up everyone was. That surprised me," he said.

Penn State welcomed Hansard to Happy Valley this summer for its "Lasch Bash" event and could see him on campus again in a few days. He is considering visiting Saturday for the team's game against Rutgers, though he admits the trip isn't set in stone because of logistical uncertainties. 

Despite its stunning loss to Temple in the season opener, Penn State remains a persistent presence in this recruitment process. 

"I really don't even care about that [defeat] right now. I just know that I have a great relationship with the coaching staff there, and that's very important," Hansard said. "I feel the love every time I go up there, and I talk to a lot of other Penn State recruits."

He speaks with 4-star quarterback commit Sean Clifford, the Nittany Lions' lone 2017 pledge, "almost every other day."

Hansard, rated seventh nationally among defensive tackles in 2017 composite rankings, has also spent multiple campus visits at in-state Rutgers. He plans to expand his Big Ten horizons soon, eyeing trips to Ohio State and Michigan.

"I can't wait to get to Ohio State. They're one of the schools that talks to me the most. It seems like they reach out every day," Hansard said. "I hope to be up there for a game, so I'm excited to meet the coaches and players."

Fred Hansard @Fred_Hansard53

THE 🅾HI🅾 STATE UNIVERSITY ❗️❕ #GoBucks http://t.co/cXbDYEiVto

His communication with the Buckeyes staff has included defensive line coach Larry Johnson, offensive coordinator Ed Warinner and head coach Urban Meyer.

Meanwhile, Michigan continues to target the Garden State's top talent. The Wolverines hold three 4-star New Jersey commitments in the 2016 cycle and look like a strong contender for top overall recruit Rashan Gary, who played for first-year Wolverines recruiting coordinator Chris Partridge at Paramus Catholic last season.

Partridge continues to play a prominent role in the program's regional recruiting success.

"He calls it 'The Pipeline,' and Michigan already picked up a few really good New Jersey players," Hansard said. "I'd like to go check out the school with them. I've known [4-star defensive end pledge] Ron Johnson for a while, so maybe I'll make a trip with him."

Beyond the Big Ten, Hansard identified Pittsburgh, Miami and Clemson as programs that maintain consistent contact. The Tigers haven't extended an offer yet, but he believes one may be on the way soon based on numerous conversations with defensive coordinator Brent Venables.

"They've been showing me a lot of love, which is really great since I haven't actually met all their coaches in person yet," Hansard said. "I'm really hoping for that Clemson offer."

Aside from Clemson, Hansard mentioned Alabama, Florida and Notre Dame as intriguing possibilities he plans to explore moving forward. Tennessee became his latest offer earlier this month:

Fred Hansard @Fred_Hansard53

Extremely exited and blessed to say I received my 15th offer tonight from Tennessee !! 🐶🔶⚪️🏈🙌🏾 http://t.co/KAfvRJ2mkw

Hansard understands a busy in-season schedule could prevent him from spending extensive time on campuses in the coming months, but his goal is to visit as many programs as possible before announcing any favorites.

Expect his list of collegiate options to expand throughout the fall.

"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," Hun School head coach Todd 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."

Quotes obtained firsthand by Bleacher Report National Recruiting Analyst Tyler Donohue. All player ratings are courtesy of 247Sports' composite ratings. Follow Tyler via Twitter: @TDsTake. 

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