PRINCETON, N.J. – On Tuesday, May 7, Fred Hansard–a sophomore defensive tackle at Hun School–learned that good things come to those that venture outside of their comfort zones. For Hansard, his comfort zone did not previously consist of a rigorous cardio schedule each morning, but the dividends are already starting to pay off.
“It’s definitely been good,” Hansard said of his offseason. “I’ve been doing track for the first time this year, so that’s something new for me. The morning running, that’s been new to me too, but it’s been real good.”
What is also new to Hansard is the experience of receiving two college scholarship offers on one day. That, however, was the product of his hard work on Tuesday morning.
“I woke up for morning runs and stuff,” Hansard said. “So I wake up at like five o’clock, and get down to the field at 5:45 and workout running and agility in front of coaches and stuff. That’s when Boston College offered me right there after I did that. Then I went up the stairs and the Michigan coaches came pretty late, but they offered me right on the spot.”
At 6’4” and 310-pounds, Hansard is a quickly-rising sophomore prospect in the state of New Jersey. Hansard says that Boston College has been recruiting him for quite some time. His recruitment has been spearheaded by BC wide receiver coach Brian White.
“Definitely coach White,” Hansard says of his primary recruiter. “I’ve been talking to him. I called him yesterday after they offered me to thank him. He told me they want me to get up there and see Boston College, so I said that sounds good.”
In 2014, Boston College finished with a 7-6 record and a bowl appearance. Coach White says that the Eagles are building on last year’s success and he wants Hansard to be a part of that.
“They are definitely a great school for academics most importantly, and that’s the biggest thing for me for a school like that to offer me,” Hansard said. “It feels good. He just told me the program is on the come-up, trying to make it to more bowls, higher bowls. They got picked for the Pin Stripe Bowl, which was a pretty good game against Penn State.”
Michigan, however, is entering Hansard’s recruitment with some ground to cover as it was his first interaction with the Wolverines’ staff under head coach Jim Harbaugh.
“That was like the first time they talked to me yesterday,” Hansard said. “It was coach [Jedd] Fisch. He came down early in the morning. When he was talking to my coaches, I came up the stairs and he offered me right on the spot. It feels amazing to get that offer.”
As for Michigan, Hansard is not as knowledgeable about the Maize and Blue given his location on the East coast. Still, Hansard is aware of the lofty goals that Harbaugh and his staff have set.
“I just know that they are really on the come-up,” Hansard said. “They are trying to be the best team and trying to win the National Championship this year. I believe they will have a really great season with coach Harbaugh and the staff there. I think they will have a great season.”
After picking up offers from Boston College and Michigan, Hansard says that he intends to visit each program in the next couple months. That time is still up in the air, but it will come after the four-star defensive tackle, rated as the No. 12 DT in the country on 247sports.com, goes on a countrywide swing.
“I plan to visit both of these schools this summer,” Hansard said. “I am going to a lot of the colleges in the summer and the spring, so it’s going to be a busy spring. Pretty much all the schools that offered me like Arizona State, North Carolina, Iowa, Penn State, Miami, and I will definitely have to get up to Michigan State and Michigan.”
Hansard says that he had visited the Arizona State campus back in 8th grade for a junior high All-American game, and that his trip to the Sun Devils’ campus “definitely” made an impact on him.
In order to keep appearing in All-American games, Hansard is idolizing football’s elite in order to keep his skills sharp.
“I look up to JJ Watt,” Hansard says. “Ever since I saw him play, I feel like every day I’m trying to parallel his techniques and try to use my hands like he uses his and be fast for my size.”
Much like Watt, Hansard sees himself as a versatile athlete that is capable of playing on both sides of the ball.
“I can definitely play the ball on both sides, especially on defense. I move quick for my size, I can use my hands and I get to running backs pretty quick.”