J.C. Hassenauer: Growing into a player as big as his Alabama dream

  • Article by: JIM PAULSEN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: September 17, 2013 - 6:05 AM

East Ridge’s J.C. Hassenauer improved size, speed to be top recruit.

hide

East Ridge center J.C. Hassenauer was only 5-10, 180 pounds as a freshman, but he transformed himself into a 6-3, 300-pound force to dazzle Alabama coaches.

Photo: Kyndell Harkness • kyndell.harkness@startribune.com,

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

 

Walking off the practice field, with helmet in hand and dirt and sweat smeared across his face, East Ridge center J.C. Hassenauer fits the mold of a high school football lineman.

He’s prototypically big — 6-3, 300 pounds — and carries himself with respect. He answers questions with the humility of someone whose football gratification is derived from pounding physical contact, play after play, all in the name of helping flashier athletes achieve yardage and stardom.

Less obvious is the vision that Hassenauer always has carried, one he’s had ever since he can remember: to play college football at national powerhouse Alabama.

What sets Hassenauer apart from many with a similar dream is that he’s turned his into a reality. In August, Hassenauer verbally accepted a scholarship offer to play center for Alabama.

When he officially signs with the two-time defending BCS champions in February, Hassenauer will be on a path to become only the second Minnesotan — and first since 1925 — to letter in football for the Crimson Tide.

Not bad for someone who, as a freshman, was two inches shy of six feet and weighed under 200 pounds. He worked on his dreams since then, and it paid off when he earned MVP honors at several spring football camps and later stood out at an Alabama camp.

“That’s always been one of the places I wanted to go,” Hassenauer said of the storied football program at Tuscaloosa. “Might as well give it a shot.”

Bigger, stronger, faster

After his freshman year, with dreams much bigger than his then 5-10, 180-pound frame, Hassenauer approached East Ridge coach Mike Pendino, wondering how he could take his game to another level.

“I knew I needed to get bigger, stronger and faster if I wanted to play college football,” Hassenauer said.

Pendino recommended he work with Ray Hitchcock, a former Gophers center who later played for the Washington Redskins. Hitchcock is currently the offensive line coach at Cretin-Derham Hall.

“He’s been my position coach, and he’s helped so much,” Hassenauer said, “it’s unbelievable.”

Hassenauer added speed and strength training at the ETS Gym in Oakdale, furthering his development. He would not have gotten a sniff from Alabama, Hassenauer said, without his training programs.

“They’ve helped me tremendously,” he said. “No way I would have gotten this far without them.”

Getting Alabama’s attention

After his sophomore season, Hassenauer decided it was time to make a mark in the football-rich Deep South. He enrolled at an Alabama football camp and immediately stood out.

“They thought I performed well and wanted to see me again after I got a little bigger,” he said. “That was one of my big motivation factors.”

  • related content

  • Chart: J.C. Hassenauer at a glance

    Monday September 16, 2013

    About J.C. Hassenauer

  • Prep athletes of the week

    Tuesday September 17, 2013

    ZOE LINDBLOOMOrono • TennisThey are longtime friends and have played each other a half-dozen times at various levels of...

  • East Ridge coach Mike Pendino on center J.C. Hassenauer: “He’s tough, nasty, physical. He gets after it and has a passion like nobody else to get it done.”

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Oakland - LP: D. Otero 8 FINAL
Kansas City - WP: J. Frasor 9
Minnesota 10/2/14 7:25 PM
Green Bay
Buffalo 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Detroit
Chicago 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Carolina
Cleveland 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Tennessee
St. Louis 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Philadelphia
Atlanta 10/5/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
Tampa Bay 10/5/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Houston 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Dallas
Baltimore 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Indianapolis
Pittsburgh 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Arizona 10/5/14 3:05 PM
Denver
Kansas City 10/5/14 3:25 PM
San Francisco
NY Jets 10/5/14 3:25 PM
San Diego
Cincinnati 10/5/14 7:30 PM
New England
Seattle 10/6/14 7:30 PM
Washington
NY Islanders 5 FINAL
Boston 3
NY Rangers 2 FINAL
Philadelphia 4
Ottawa 1 FINAL
Winnipeg 2
Carolina 1 FINAL
St. Louis 3
Tampa Bay 5 FINAL
Dallas 1
Colorado 0 FINAL
Calgary 2
Los Angeles 4 FINAL
San Jose 1
Fla Atlantic 10/2/14 6:00 PM
FIU
UCF 10/2/14 6:00 PM
Houston
Arizona 10/2/14 9:30 PM
(2) Oregon
Louisville 10/3/14 6:00 PM
Syracuse
San Diego St 10/3/14 9:00 PM
Fresno State
Utah State 10/3/14 9:15 PM
(18) BYU
(6) Texas A&M 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(12) Miss State
Ball State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Army
Iowa State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(21) Oklahoma State
Marshall 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Old Dominion
Southern Miss 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Middle Tennessee
(20) Ohio State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Maryland
Purdue 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Illinois
Florida 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Tennessee
SMU 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(22) East Carolina
Virginia Tech 10/4/14 11:30 AM
North Carolina
Eastern Mich 10/4/14 1:00 PM
Akron
North Texas 10/4/14 1:30 PM
Indiana
Massachusetts 10/4/14 1:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
Tulsa 10/4/14 2:00 PM
Colorado State
New Mexico 10/4/14 2:30 PM
TX-San Antonio
(3) Alabama 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(11) Ole Miss
(14) Stanford 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(9) Notre Dame
(17) Wisconsin 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Northwestern
Navy 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Air Force
(7) Baylor 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Texas
(4) Oklahoma 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(25) TCU
Wake Forest 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(1) Florida State
NC State 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Clemson
Buffalo 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Bowling Green
Ohio U 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Central Mich
Oregon State 10/4/14 3:00 PM
Colorado
Vanderbilt 10/4/14 3:00 PM
(13) Georgia
Kansas 10/4/14 3:00 PM
West Virginia
Kent State 10/4/14 4:00 PM
Northern Ill
South Alabama 10/4/14 5:00 PM
Appalachian St
Texas-El Paso 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
(15) LSU 10/4/14 6:00 PM
(5) Auburn
UAB 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Western Ky
Texas Tech 10/4/14 6:00 PM
(23) Kansas State
Michigan 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Rutgers
Hawaii 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Rice
Toledo 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Western Mich
ULM 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Arkansas State
Georgia State 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Louisiana
Idaho 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Texas State
Memphis 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Arizona State 10/4/14 6:30 PM
(16) USC
So Carolina 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Kentucky
Pittsburgh 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Virginia
Miami-Florida 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Georgia Tech
(19) Nebraska 10/4/14 7:00 PM
(10) Michigan State
UNLV 10/4/14 7:00 PM
San Jose St
Ga Southern 10/4/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico St
California 10/4/14 9:30 PM
Washington St
Utah 10/4/14 9:30 PM
(8) UCLA
Boise State 10/4/14 9:30 PM
Nevada
Winnipeg 10/3/14 6:00 PM
Ottawa
Calgary 10/3/14 9:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Edmonton 10/4/14 3:00 PM
Toronto
Brt Columbia 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Hamilton

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Is Paul Molitor the best choice to manage Twins?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close