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Year in Review: Hassenauer says Roll Tide

East Ridge senior center J.C. Hassenauer, right, became the talk of the town after committing to play college football for Alabama – arguably the nation’s top team over the past decade. (Bulletin file photo)

East Ridge senior center J.C. Hassenauer became the talk of the town after committing to play college football for Alabama – arguably the nation’s top team over the past decade.

Hassenauer, a 6-foot-3, 295-pound center, committed to play for the two-time defending national champion Crimson Tide the summer before his senior season.

After being an undersized offensive lineman as a freshman Hassenauer worked his way to being ranked the No. 1 center prospect in the country and was the No. 2 overall prospect in Minnesota according to some scouting websites prior to his senior season. He has a max squat of 550 pounds, can bench 225 pounds 26 times and ran a 5.35 second 40-yard dash. He also has a 29-inch vertical and can grab the rim on a basketball backboard easily.

Alabama has won three national championships in the past four seasons — 2009, 2011 and 2012. Last year, the Crimson Tide went 13-1, winning the Southeastern Conference and claiming their 15th national championship with a 42-14 victory over Notre Dame in the 2013 Discover BCS National Championship Game.

“It was my goal to play for them,” Hassenauer said just after making the commitment official. “It’s a great school, both academically and athletically. Playing college football has been my main goal growing up. I’ve always wanted to play college football and be the best center in the country.”

Following a stellar junior season for the Raptors, Hassenauer was the offensive line MVP at three combines last spring: the Adidas combine in Detroit, the Nike combine in Memphis, and the combine in Chicago. He worked out in Tuscaloosa last summer for Alabama coaches before committing on Monday, June 17.

East Ridge head coach Mike Pendino said Alabama is getting “a high-character and hard-working kid.” 

“He does all the right things,” Pendino said. “He’s undoubtedly the best pure center in the country. Absolutely. He’s very athletic and he’s a nasty S.O.B when he’s playing. He understands how to play the game, keeps a great base, uses leverage and uses his hands nice. He really doesn’t have a flaw in his game.”

Hassenauer, who picked Alabama over Minnesota and Vanderbilt, is expected to sign his national letter of intent this February.

-Patrick Johnson

Patrick Johnson
Patrick Johnson has been the South Washington County Bulletin’s sports editor since 2008. He reports on and oversees coverage of high school and amateur sports in south Washington County and Woodbury. Prior to joining the Bulletin, Johnson worked for other Twin Cities suburban newspapers. He is a University of Minnesota graduate.
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