The culmination of the recruiting season is just around the corner, as National Signing Day 2017 is only days away. Here at Black Shoe Diaries, we’ll have coverage of Penn State’s recruiting class, taking a player-by-player look at each member of the class, and taking a bigger picture look at the class as a whole. Thanks for stopping by, and if you aren’t already following, please follow @BSDTweet on Twitter for more recruiting news and notes.
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Penn State has been churning out tremendous defensive tackles for some time, and may have its next great in Fred Hansard. The Princeton, NJ native originally committed to become a Florida Gator, but had a change of heart and announced he would instead go to Penn State right after the regular season. Hansard was one of the most sought-after defensive linemen in his class, fielding offers from Alabama, Ohio State, Michigan, Tennessee, Texas A&M, USC and many, many more.
Position: Defensive Tackle
High School: Hun School (Princeton, NJ)
Height/Weight: 6-3, 310 lbs.
247 Composite Rank: 0.9171
Position Rank: No. 207 overall, No. 11 defensive tackle, No. 4 player in NJ
Hansard enters the program with excellent size at 6-3 and 310 lbs. He also has outstanding explosiveness to go along with such a large frame. With some work on his first step and technique, Hansard could become a tackle in the mold of Austin Johnson- a massive run-stopper with the athletic ability to get in the backfield and make plays.
Sean Spencer and Brent Pry served as Hansard’s main recruiters and there is little doubt that Spencer will do a fine job of developing him as one of the newest “Wild Dogs.” Penn State has a young, deep and talented defensive line that is quickly developing into one of the nation’s best, and Hansard will be a big part of these efforts for years to come.
While Hansard already has ideal size for a defensive tackle in the Big Ten, he will likely need a year to work on his frame by losing some “bad” weight while gaining more muscle. Hansard also had some struggles academically in high school, but was able to work his way into good standing. With this in mind, the coaches may want to also give him some time to adjust to college life and focus on starting out on the right track in the classroom.
Fortunately, Penn State returns plenty of young talent at defensive tackle to allow Hansard to take a redshirt year and prepare for the collegiate game. Hansard figures to enter the rotation along the defensive line to start the 2018 season, and should develop into a truly special player in the future.