Jake Hanks was worried an injury last season might cost him a shot at a football scholarship. He’s proven this summer that’s far from the case.
Hanks, a senior-to-be at Fort Collins High School, has performed well at college program summer camps and has earned three offers to this point. Tulsa, Wyoming and Northern Colorado all have offered scholarships.
“I missed half my junior season and thought re-cruiting might not happen at all,” Hanks said. “A few teams offered right after the camps. It’s happened pretty fast, but it’s always really exciting.”
It’s his size, athleticism and strength that seem to be driving the interest. Hanks is 6-foot-2, 228 pounds with good speed and agility. Lambkins coach Eric Rice timed him at 4.44 seconds in the 40-yard dash. Hanks said he ran a 4.5-second 40 at Tulsa.
In addition, Rice said Hanks’ bench press is near 330 pounds and his squat nears 450 pounds. He showed that strength by winning the Class 5A state shot put title with a toss of 56 feet, 7 ¾ inches.
“I call him the freak,” Rice said. “I’ve never had a kid who can lift like he can. He’s also fast and athletic. I knew once someone was able to see him that he’d get an offer.”
Hanks missed the second half of his junior season at Collins with an injury to his right shoulder. Still, he managed 34 total tackles and four sacks from his linebacker position. On offense, Hanks rushed for 276 yards and three touchdowns on 42 carries.
Hanks said most teams have projected him as a linebacker at the next level. He said Tulsa also has interest in him as a fullback or H-back.
Rice said he plans to play Hanks at defensive end this season, utilizing that speed and strength to get into the opponents’ backfield on a consistent basis.
“There’s not a lot of people who can block him,” Rice said. “He’s versatile and can play anywhere they want him to. And he looks the part. Physically, he looks like a Division I player.”
Hanks will participate in a camp at Washington this weekend after already attending camps at Tulsa, Wyoming and Air Force. He said the Falcons also showed interest.
There is no timetable set for making a decision. More offers likely will roll in as schools see him perform in the fall.
“If I’m getting offers, I’ll probably wait and see what comes along,” he said. “If they start dying down, I’ll look to make a decision. Right now, I’m open to everything.”
Rice said senior Chase Thurgood had a strong showing at the Wyoming camp from his defensive back position. He expects Thurgood to potentially draw scholarship offers this season.
Fossil Ridge coach Steve Vechhio, Rocky coach Mark Brook and Poudre coach Dan Reardon said no players from their teams have yet to receive Division I offers.
Follow reporter Jeff Bersch at twitter.com/Coloradoan_JB