By Ray Hamill — Former Eureka Logger Jake Hanson has what it takes to succeed in the NFL, according to his former head coach Jason White.
White, who coached Hanson for three years during his time with the Loggers, admits the offensive lineman will have his work cut out for him after being drafted by the Green Bay Packers, but is confident his former player has a chance to make it in the NFL.
“He can make it,” White said. “It’s a not a sure bet. He’s going to have to bust his butt. Guys at that level are a different breed. But he can make it.”
A lot of it, White says, has to do with the situation a player is drafted into.
Last weekend, Hanson was chosen by the Packers in the sixth round of the NFL Draft, becoming the first H-DNL player to be drafted since another former Eureka Logger, Rey Maualuga, was taken by the Cincinnati Bengals in the second round in 2009.
“It’s a big deal when somebody makes it to that level coming out of here,” White said.
Hanson, who was a three-year varsity player with the Loggers before graduating in 2015, made a name for himself as a four-year starter at center at the University of Oregon.
He was the seventh center taken in this year’s draft and is expected to compete for a back-up spot on the Packers’ roster behind starting center Corey Linsley.
He joins legendary Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who went to high school in Chico.
White says he knew Hanson was going D-I after watching him dominate before his senior season and felt anything was possible for the Loggers star.
“When I coached him as a junior I knew he was going to be a Division-I kid, he was so dominating,” White said. “And any time you make it to Division-I, you give yourself a chance (to make the NFL).
“He kind of brings everything to the table. And he has great football intelligence and he’s tenacious.”
A check of Hanson’s high school highlights on hudl.com shows just how dominating he was as a senior, with what is essentially eight minutes of pancake blocks.
“It’s like watching Blindside,” White joked.
One thing White expects to see from his former player when he heads to camp with the Packers is a professional approach.
“He’s all business,” White said. “He approaches everything like he’s going to work. And he loves the game, he’s passionate about it.”