Aaron Hansford was one of two players at St. John’s College High presented with an Under Armour All-America jersey on Monday afternoon, in a ceremony attended by friends and family.
The fact that only 90 players per season, out of the thousands that play high school football, are selected to play in the prestigious game is not lost on the ESPN 300 prospect with more than 30 offers.
“This honor that I have been granted has been very special to me,” said Hansford. “It’s means a lot for my family, my teammates and coaches because not a lot of players get this opportunity. It really displays how my hard work and dedication this past offseason has prepared me for this season and beyond. It’s a real honor to receive.”
The 6-foot-3, 209-pound outside linebacker with exceptional coverage skills and athletic ability sees Monday’s ceremony honoring him and teammate Terrell Hall as a strong indicator of where St. John’s College High is headed as a football program.
“It’s never been done before here," Hansford said. "It shows how far this school has come athletically as a football program. We have accelerated the expectations people have for us as a football program because a lot of people tend to look down on us and still think that we are the little guy in our league. We are quickly rising though, and this lets everybody know to watch out for us,”
Along with being a playmaker on both sides of the ball, with a huge hand in St. John’s College High’s success on the field, Hansford is balancing his senior season on the field and the recruiting process. A task that can prove to be tough for some is seemingly effortless for Hansford, who continues to trim his list of schools.
“Right now, I’m looking at about eight schools pretty heavily," Hansford said. "Some schools are still in the background that I have interest in too. There are three closer schools I have already taken unofficial visits to -- Ohio State, Penn State and Maryland. The schools that are farther, I will take officials to. Michigan State Sept. 12, Notre Dame Sept. 19, Oregon Sept. 26, and I know I will take visits to Florida and UCLA after the season,”
The three closer-to-home schools remain squarely in the mix, including hometown Maryland.
“Maryland is a good school. They provide a lot of opportunity. They are on the rise too. They just joined the Big Ten, which is a big deal for the football program because they will play a lot of competition.”
Hansford is taking the decision-making portion of the process slowly, with a goal to ensure his decision will come without regret.
“I don’t really have a timetable,"Hansford said. "I want to make a decision as soon as I feel like I’m comfortable with the school and the environment. I don’t know when that will fall. It could be after the season, around the Under Armour Game or close to signing day. I don’t really know because I want to make the correct decision and not regret it later.”
Six questions with Aaron Hansford:
What player are you looking forward to competing with or against in the Under Armour All-America Game?
To be honest, I’m hoping I’m on the same team as Terrell [Hall]. Playing against? I guess any of the top quarterbacks. They will try me in coverage, but they don’t know how good my coverage skills are, as I displayed at The Opening with two interceptions. Also, some of those downhill running backs.
If you could start a team with any player in your class, who would it be and why?
I know this might sound cliche', but I would go with my teammate Terrell Hall. He’s a great player, and one of my best friends. Who wouldn’t want to start a team with a good friend that is also a great player? It’s a great vibe from the start
What is your earliest football memory?
That was a log time ago when I played Pop Warner football. When I was nine years old in a playoff game to get to the championship game against the Emory Soldiers, there were seven seconds left in the fourth quarter -- I ran the ball, cut across the whole field and scored the game-winning touchdown. That was probably my best football memory so far.
Which football player did you watch as a kid?
I really liked Vernon Davis. He’s like a hometown hero for me. He’s from DC, plays for the 49ers now and I looked up to him a lot. He was probably my biggest role model that is in the NFL now. He also knows my dad very well. My dad used to work for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, and they built a really close friendship through that.
If you could take on any pro in their sport, who would it be and why?
I guess I would choose Usain Bolt in a track race. I would like to see how far behind him I would be.
What number do your wear, and why?
I’ve been sticking with 23 the past couple of years. I was 22 before, but 23 is the date of my birthday, and it’s the number of Michael Jordan -- and he’s a great one.