High school football notebook: Nazareth’s Daine Hanson picks up offers, updates from Brother Rice, Antioch

When Daine Hanson got his first scholarship offer last month, it was an emotional moment.

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Nazareth’s Daine Hanson.

Nazareth’s Daine Hanson.

Provided photo.

When Daine Hanson got his first scholarship offer last month, it was an emotional moment.

”I just started to cry,” the Nazareth junior said. “I thought, ‘Wow, I’m going to college for my education, I’m doing it for free. My parents don’t have to worry about me.’”

That offer from Iowa State was followed a few weeks later by one from Iowa, making Hanson the latest Roadrunner to make a splash on the Power Five recruiting scene.

The 6-foot-7, 235-pound defensive end is one of several returning players for the Class 7A runner-up Roadrunners with big-time offers. 

Quarterback JJ McCarthy, the state’s top junior in the 247Sports.com composite rankings, is committed to Michigan. Receiver Tyler Morris, ranked No. 1 among Illinois sophomores, has Power Five offers from Notre Dame and nine other schools.

Junior defensive end Ryan Keeler has more than 20 offers, including seven from the Big Ten, and junior receiver Landon Morris has offers from Michigan and Iowa State.

Hanson has been playing football since fourth grade, but his athletic focus was elsewhere till recently.

”It was really basketball for me maybe till end of freshman year, beginning of sophomore year,” Hanson said. “I wanted to go to college, I wanted to go D1, I wanted to go to the NBA.”

That’s why the Iowa State offer made such a profound impact on Hanson.

”My whole life just changed in a few seconds,” he said. “It’s a crazy feeling.”

Now Hanson will pair with Keeler to give the Roadrunners a pair of rangy, athletic defensive ends. It’s a competitive, and friendly, rivalry.

”We always go against each other in practice,” Hanson said. “(And) he gives me these moves over the summer.”

Antioch’s Athan Kaliakmanis back

Just over three months after a broken collarbone ended his junior season after six games, Antioch quarterback Athan Kaliakmanis got the OK this week to resume full football activities.

”Honestly, it was just such an exciting feeling,” the Minnesota recruit said. “It was like winning a championship. I put in so much work just to come back.”

In truth, he never really left entirely.

”Even a couple days after surgery, I was throwing the ball around,” Kaliakmanis said.

Many of the throws are to his brother Dino, also a junior and a Minnesota recruit.

Kaliakmanis, who threw for 2,084 yards and 26 touchdowns in his last full season in 2018, has the physical side of the game down. Next up on his list is the mastering the mental aspect.

”For my senior year, I want to be the smartest person on the field,” he said.

Decision time nears for Crusaders

Two of the area’s top unsigned seniors are teammates on Brother Rice’s defensive line: tackles Denver Warren and Justin Jefferson.

”We’re still working on that and trying to finalize what they’re looking at,” Crusaders coach Brian Badke said of the pair’s recruiting.

Warren, the No. 8 senior in Illinois, gave recruiters something to think about when he returned an interception for a touchdown in the O-D All-American Bowl in Miami last weekend.

”That’s why he’s one everyone’s board,” Badke said.

Among Jefferson’s options are a preferred walk-on offer from Michigan State,

”Whoever’s going to get him, it’s a steal,” Badke said.

The late signing period begins on Feb. 5.

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