The 2016-17 high school year started with some incredible sports stories. In this class you have over 60 football prospects who are slated to be first year starters when they arrive on the campuses of their respective colleges of choice. You also have a basketball class that includes eight prospects that NBA scouts predict will be in the 2018 NBA draft. So with that I thought the better high school athlete stories had been written or reported. There has been a quiet yet steady mumble taking place in central Illinois and it’s about Caleb Hanson. He’s a 6’1, 182 pound quarterback playing for the undefeated Monticello Sages. The Sages are one game away from a visit to the state championship but the stories behind their success include how this budding star has helped his team arrive to the most important game in school history.
So what makes this prospect stand out so late in the recruiting stage and more importantly why are division one schools making him a prime target for signing day in February. At his size he is what you would expect from most student-athletes desiring a chance to play on the college level. As an outsider looking in and only with the mindset of recruiting, game film showed the story of a strong arm, good pocket presence, and a gritty style of competing. A further look into the story of this young prospect made it very clear on why he has moved onto the list of targeted prospects by major conferences including the MAC, AAC, and even Sun Belt conferences. Now it would be a travesty to miss the main storyline of Caleb Hanson’s high school football career. He has been a backup quarterback for the past three years and finally got his chance as a senior. He stepped in as an instant leader and already had the respect of his teammates and peers. Before seeing him in real-time action, the interest was at best what you have for a grade B movie and at worse what you would expect for an end of list recruit. But after watching Hanson in live action, I couldn’t help but to compare this young man to quarterbacks that have made some big time impressions at the division one level. His release, his movement in and out of the pocket, and the way he led his team throughout this season had blaring likenesses to that of University of Hawaii legend Colt Brennan.
When the Monticello Sages face off against their opponent this weekend, Caleb Hanson will be in a win-win situation. The winner of the contest will advance to the Illinois class 3A state championship and college scouts will get another look at how Hanson handles big pressure moments. After ICC Catholic High School leaves Monticello this weekend their defense will have a newfound respect for the Sages and the utmost appreciation for the Sages’ quarterback who has earned the right to play on the next level. Stay tuned. www.besquadsport.com