Connor Hansen became the second commitment in Georgia Tech’s 2017 recruiting class when he committed on June 5, 2016 on an official visit to the Flats -- about three months following the commitment of Pressley Harvin III. He added a ton of size to the recruiting class, listed at 6’2”, and a whopping 325 pounds. He played both offensive and defensive line in high school, but is slated to play offensive guard at Georgia Tech. He attended Lawton Chiles High School in Tallahassee, FL. He’s rated a three-star prospect by Rivals (5.5) and the 247Sports Composite (0.8294), and he committed to Georgia Tech over offers from numerous other FBS programs.
In one of the better stories I’ve heard from Georgia Tech’s National Signing Day celebrations, Andy McCollum spoke of the visit in which Hansen visited, competed in on-field drills, and committed. He mentioned that Hansen received a scholarship offer after dominating in the trenches during drills, and committed on the spot. Except, in a spot where most would be ready to call it a day and celebrate with their family, Hansen asked the coaches if he could go back out and compete in some more drills. That love of football and physicality are very promising for his future on the Flats.
Hansen’s film shows an amazing level of athleticism for his size. His speed and acceleration seem like someone about 50 pounds lighter, while his strength and power are consistent of a man of his size. He’s shown hitting defensive tackles as well as making it to the linebackers on several plays — again, showing athleticism beyond what would be expected from someone of his size. (McCollum also mentioned on National Signing Day that Hansen’s not far from qualifying for his school’s 4x100 relay team — AT NORTH OF 300 POUNDS — which seems to back up the athleticism his highlights show.) He played center in high school, meaning there will probably be some sort of transition to playing guard in college — but his skill set fits in perfectly with what the Yellow Jackets look for from interior linemen.
Hansen’s biggest point of development in college will be adjusting to the level of competition, particularly in terms of the size of defensive linemen he’ll be facing. His highlights seem to show him blocking players in situations where he has a considerable size advantage. Now, while Hansen is plenty large enough to compete with the opponents he’ll see at the college level (or even the pro level), the size advantage he’ll enjoy will shrink and his success will depend more on technique than it did in high school. No longer will he be able to seemingly knock opposing players over at will — he’ll need to even more effectively use his strength, leverage, and footwork to make it happen.
What to Expect
Although both starting guard spots are accounted for heading into 2017 (by Will Bryan & Parker Braun), and there are a trio of more experienced players set to play reserve roles on interior line spots (Shamire Devine, Brad & Scott Morgan), I wouldn’t be surprised to see Hansen get some playing time as a true freshman — especially if injuries occur to one or more of the aforementioned players. Hansen’s size simply can’t be taught and would be valuable in short-yardage situations. (You saw a similar strategy with Brandon Adams on defense last year — his exceptional size and strength provided immediate situational value, regardless of limitations that prevent him from playing a majority of plays over the course of full games.)
Long-term, I expect to see Hansen become a key backup, and eventually a starter at guard. His physical stature and ability, combined with his apparent love for the game, bode very well for his future at Georgia Tech.