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November 16, 2011Four star athlete Chase Hansen has not only led his team to the 5A state title game, he has done it while playing the one position that everybody thinks he can't play in college; quarterback. Rated as the 16th best athlete by Rivals.com in the class of 2012, Hansen was only offered scholarships by BYU, Utah State, and Utah. So one would ask, what justifies the four star ranking?
For starters, Hansen is a pure athlete. He has the ability to play at least three positions (quarterback, receiver, and linebacker). He has the size (6-foot-3, 200-pounds) that scouts look for when searching for legitimate D1 talent. Most importantly for Hansen however and to the benefit of Utah, Hansen has developed the swagger of a gun slinging QB on the verge of becoming the best in state.
Much of the scrutiny on Hansen's inability to be a productive QB in college was derived from his junior season, which saw him rely more on his ability to make plays with his legs and improvise as a mobile threat than on his playmaking abilities with his arm. For a young man like Hansen to be told he can't do something might have been the right formula for his motivation to prove the world wrong.
Fast forward a year, and Hansen is now regarded to be the best football player in the state of Utah by most media outlets. Hansen is the wheelhouse for the Lone Peak offense. He is the straw that stirs the drink for the Knights' improbable 13-0 record, who now are only one victory away from greatness. In spite of the inspired season Hansen has crafted, many still wonder if he can play QB in college.
"It's definitely made me want to go out and prove them wrong," said Hansen when asked about his critics.
"There's not much more motivation (than) when people say you can't do something. That's easily one of the biggest thing's that's motivated me all year. For quite a while, people were doubting whether I could play quarterback at the next level, and for me personally I know I still have a long way to go till I'm the quarterback I'd like to be."
Hansen is about as intelligent as they come, and realizes that playing quarterback might not be in his future, but it's a decision he says will be his.
"Until I feel like I can't play (quarterback), and that's me saying that and not someone else, that will be the day I decide defense will be my choice," he said.
About playing QB Hansen said, "I love the position and it's something I'm going to pursue, and as far as what other people say and think, it's really just putting a chip on my shoulder. Being able to use that is something to go out there and play with."
So with the stellar season, does the senior phenom feel vindicated for leading his team to the state championship?
"I don't want to get too caught up in proving people wrong," he said. "It just feels awesome to win. Coming from a team perspective, I think proving those critics wrong that said Lone Peak doesn't have the guys or the skill set to compete with the Binghams and Altas feels good."
Hansen has accounted for 49 touchdowns as a senior (35 passing, 14 rushing), passed for 2,824 yards and rushed for 1,171. By himself he has accounted for 3,995 all-purpose yards on offense - It's safe to say he has silenced most of his critics.
"The experience my junior year couldn't be replaced first of all," relates Hansen.
"That was just my second or third year playing quarterback, so just being somewhat new to the position I think I needed to work on a lot of things. After that season I decided what was most important to work on. That's exactly what I did all summer and all spring and I just focused on getting better."
Being able to train with a quarterback trainer in California, in addition to the offseason preparation for an expanded offensive role has paid major dividends for the future Ute.
With the future of the quarterback position at Utah being somewhat murky, Hansen is ready to rise to the occasion and prove that he can not only hang, but flourish under Norm Chow's offense in the Pac-12. The only problem for Ute fans is that they might only get one year of Hansen before he heads off on a two-year mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
"I'm not sure if I'm going to do a mission first, or if I'm going to play a year and then go on a mission," said Hansen.
"It's something I'm still kind of debating. For me personally I'll miss the football, but it won't be too hard for me to head out on a mission. That's just kind of how I am - what I've expected in my future and I think I've been more excited about a mission than anything.
The coaches have told me I have a great opportunity to be the number one guy, and I don't know how realistic that is. But if that is the case and I do have a good freshman year then it will be tough (to leave on a mission). I don't think it will affect my mission plans. It will be a tough decision but my mind's kind of set and a lot of people won't agree with it, but it's just how things work. I'm just hoping that first year I'm there I can learn a lot and grow as a quarterback because I still have a lot to learn."
For now, Hansen plans on playing basketball for Lone Peak until the season ends in late February, and then an early high school graduation in time to enroll at Utah for spring camp.
Regardless of whether or not Hansen goes out a state champion, he will go down in history as one of the most talented football players to ever grace the game of high school football in the state of Utah.