Friday, March 1, 2013
OKPreps 14 for '14: QB Justice Hansen
By Bob Przybylo
Is the Class of 2014 crop of in-state talent the best Oklahoma has seen since 2006? With six recruits in the ESPN Watch List, it’s shaping up to be a busy recruiting year in the Sooner State. For the next three weeks, SoonerNation is going to profile the OKPreps’ 14 for ’14: a look at some of the top names and where they stand with OU.
Watch List QB Justice Hansen (Edmond, Okla./Santa Fe, 6-3, 205) 2012 stats: 185-of-318 for 3,079 yards with 36 touchdowns, 9 interceptions. 134 carries for 773 yards, 14 touchdowns.
Watch List signal-caller Justice Hansen is Josh Heupel's first offer at quarterback for 2014.
Edmond Santa Fe coach Lance Manning doesn’t mince his words. He doesn’t want to sound too cocky about his quarterback. But when he thinks about Hansen, one word comes to mind.
“Dominant,” Manning said. “He can dominate a high school football game. He is that good of an athlete.”
Manning can say that without hesitation because he has seen Hansen do it for two seasons, and he’s excited to see what Hansen has in store for his finale.
Hansen was known more in recruiting circles than the Oklahoma high school scene after his freshman season. But he became a name to watch in his sophomore campaign. The numbers were nice, but the only number Edmond Santa Fe cared about was 10. The school went from 1-9 the previous season to 10-2 and a district championship.
The hype was intense for Hansen as a junior. He has been on Oklahoma’s radar since his freshman season and has camped there the last two seasons. He didn’t disappoint in leading Edmond Santa Fe to another district championship.
“His numbers were good as a sophomore, but I didn’t know how he would respond this last season,” Manning said. “They were even better. He was bigger and stronger. He matured more. You couldn’t ask for somebody to manage a game better, and he has the perfect demeanor for a quarterback.”
OU fans had been clamoring for a while for Hansen to get that Sooners offer. It happened four weeks ago at junior day, but Hansen isn’t an under-the-radar prospect. Missouri was the first school to offer him following his sophomore season. Arkansas soon followed. And as his junior film has gotten out there more, he has added big-time offers from Texas A&M, Auburn and Ole Miss.
The Arkansas coaching staff went through several changes. But Manning said when first-year coach Bret Bielema saw Hansen’s film, there was no doubt the offer from the Razorbacks was still valid.
Hansen is 6-foot-3 and has been for a while. That might be a cause for concern for anybody hoping for a 6-5 or 6-6 quarterback. Manning sees it another way.
“He’s not that really tall quarterback, but he runs really strong,” Manning said. “He’s a lot better athlete than he’s given credit for, and he’s a real student of the game. He ran for 700 yards this season, and I think that gets overlooked sometimes when talking about what he brings to the table.”
Lately, Hansen has been busy with basketball and has only attended junior days at OU and Oklahoma State. He received an offer from OU, while he said the Cowboys staff told him they liked what they saw but want to see him in the spring before making an offer.
The A&M connection comes from quarterbacks coach Jake Spavital, who liked what he saw from Hansen when Spavital was at West Virginia. After taking the same job with the Aggies, Hansen said Spavital feels he has a much more realistic chance of getting him to campus.
Coincidentally, Spavital’s father is Broken Arrow (Okla.) High coach Steve Spavital. Broken Arrow is in the same classification as Edmond Santa Fe, so the Spavital family is quite familiar with what Hansen can do.
Hansen said he would like to have the recruiting process done pretty soon. He’s not looking to drag it out. He wants to be able to concentrate on his senior season, and he also understands how important it is to have the quarterback of the class start recruiting other members to join him.
It’s that leadership quality Manning cannot talk enough about.
“He’s so humble, such a great leader,” Manning said. “He has never once said he needs to touch the ball more. A real unselfish kid with so many intangibles.
“When college coaches ask, I really can’t think of anything. I have nothing bad to say about Justice. He’s a special one.”