Notre Dame gets chance to impress four-star LB Aaron Hansford

Tyler James
South Bend Tribune

Speed follows Aaron Hansford closely.

When recruiting analysts are asked to describe the four-star prospect, his ability to move from point A to point B quickly is likely to be mentioned.

Notre Dame would like to bottle up some of that speed. The Irish are set to host the 6-foot-2, 210-pound senior linebacker this weekend on an official visit.

“He’s the fastest linebacker in the country when you look at the testing numbers,” said 247Sports director of recruiting Steve Wiltfong. “He also brings good size to the position. He can help you on special teams in addition to the front seven with his ability to run. He’s a smart kid so he should be able to play in complex defenses.”

Hansford recorded a 40-yard dash time of 4.47 seconds at The Opening Finals in July. It was the fastest time of the 16 linebackers at the national camp and only 18 players regardless of position were credited with faster times.

“He’s a good, solid linebacker,” said CBS Sports Network recruiting analyst Tom Lemming. “He needs to fill out and get stronger, but Notre Dame likes his athletic ability.”

Rivals ranks Hansford as the No. 14 outside linebacker in the 2017 class. 247Sports slates him No. 22 at the position.

Hansford may move fast on the football field, but his recruitment is expected to take some time. He made an official visit to Michigan State last weekend and has plans for a trip to Oregon for next week, according to the Washington Post. He also wants to make visits to Florida and UCLA.

But at the top of Hansford’s list, Wiltfong said, are schools Hansford has already visited and built connections with like Ohio State, Penn State, Duke and North Carolina.

“His interest with Notre Dame coming into the visit is just intrigue,” Wiltfong said. “I think he understands the opportunity at Notre Dame as a football player and as a student, but he’s never seen it. He’s had a chance to see some other places multiple times.”

Notre Dame may also try to make a run at one of Hansford’s teammates at Washington (D.C.) St. John’s College High School, the alma mater of Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank. Four-star defensive end Terrell Hall has received an offer from Notre Dame, but has yet to schedule a visit to South Bend since withdrawing his commitment from Ohio State.

Hansford and Hall will both be playing in the Under Armour All-America Game in January. Adding both would be ideal for Notre Dame, but settling for only one would be welcomed. A chance to make a strong impression on Hansford starts Friday.

“I know he’s going to be a fit at Notre Dame,” Wiltfong said, “but his recruitment is expected to go the distance. For Notre Dame, it’s just about making an impression and trying to climb up the board quicker.”

VISITORS LIST

The following recruits are also expected to visit for Saturday’s game against Georgia Tech.

2016 commit

Julian Love

2017 prospects

ATH Brendon White

QB Chris Katrenick

QB Jairus Grissom

QB Brandon George

WR Jamire Calvin

QB Andrew Tovar

TE Trevor Kent

RB Ivory Kelly-Martin

2018 prospect

RB Markese Stepp

Four-star linebacker Aaron Hansford will visit Notre Dame on Saturday. (Photo courtesy of Rivals)