By DAN ALBANO
The Orange County Register
Austin Hansen entered the valley of his recruiting odyssey in early January.
The Valencia offensive lineman was so discouraged about his chances of securing a Division I-A scholarship that he checked out a few local community colleges and told his parents his recruiting efforts had been in vain. "I told them it wasn't going to shake out," Hansen recalled. But at the constant urging of his father, Jon, Hansen stayed in the recruiting game. He kept e-mailing, calling and following up leads. And by mid-January, about three weeks before national signing day, one of his recruiting lines from late December finally got a strong tug.
Hawaii assistant coach Wes Suan had seen some of Hansen's game tapes and wanted the 6-foot-4, 285-pound senior to visit the university. With signing day approaching fast, Hansen made the visit the last weekend of January. The Warriors didn't offer Hansen a scholarship on the trip but a few days later they did. Hansen committed last Wednesday. Two days from now, he will be one of an estimated 30 Division I-A football recruits from Orange County who will sign national letters of intent. "It's a blessing," Hansen said. "I'm really, really happy to be a Warrior."
Before Hawaii's interest, Hansen experienced his share of frustration with the recruiting process. He received interest from San Diego State and Colorado State as a junior. San Diego State showed even more interest this past fall. Hansen said he received regular phone calls from the Aztecs and tickets to some of their home games. A scholarship offer, however, never arrived. Because of his 3.2 grade-point average and impressive 1960 SAT score, Stanford seemed like a possibility in mid-December, but that didn't materialize either.
Hansen sought out Hawaii after hearing positive reviews from workout buddy Bryce Runge, a former Hawaii long snapper who attended Valencia. Hansen e-mailed Suan in late December with a highlight video that showcased his aggressive blocking style and ability to stay on his defender. From there, Hansen was on his way out of his recruiting valley, though he didn't know it at the time. In the end, he credits his father for encouraging him to keep trying. "He definitely believed in me" Hansen said. "(And) I think he wanted to save money on college)." Here's Hansen's Recruiting Video