October 24, 2006

Buckeye junior favors Pitt

A host of recruits were on hand this past weekend for Pitt's game with Rutgers. Despite the loss, a number of recruits came away impressed with what they saw. One of them was junior Christian Hanna, a tight end at Cleveland Benedictine High School He has been a member of the varsity team since he was a freshman, and has started since his sophomore year. Ohio Magazine ranks him as the top tight end in the state of Ohio for 2008. Hanna has no offers, but is starting to make his visits, and already likes what he sees at Pitt.

"I just took an unofficial visit for the Rutgers game," Hanna said. "The city of Pittsburgh is one of the nicest cities I've been to. Heinz Field is a state of the art facility. I'm friends with Joe Thomas, and he says it's a great school, and that you're playing for a great coach like Dave Wannstedt. I really liked the atmosphere at Pittsburgh. Pitt talks to me all the time. I talk with Coach Rhoads once a week, and we text message every day."

It is very rare for a Cleveland native to feel comfortable in Heinz Field.

"I'm a Browns fan," Hanna added. "However, I don't take NFL football as seriously as college football. I'm a much bigger college football fan. Just for fun, I went into the team shops at Heinz Field and cracked a few jokes, asking for Browns stuff."

Hanna is a 6-3, 237-pound tight end. Benedictine runs the ball 90 percent of the time, so he hasn't had the ball thrown his way. He said he only has three receptions this season, but that apparently colleges don't need to see him catch the ball. He's heard from other schools such as Ohio State, Virginia, Cincinnati, Vanderbilt and Akron. Akron is the only school to show interest in him as a defensive player. The Panthers and Buckeyes are looking at him as a tight end or h-back. Virginia, Vanderbilt and Cincinnati all see Hanna as a tight end as well.

"I'm 6-3, and I have a dad that's 5-5 and a mom that is 5-4, so I'm not sure how I got to be 6-3," Hanna added. "Coach Rhoads sees me as a tight end or h-back. Some schools see me as a fullback. If it was up to me, I'd be totally fine playing the tight end, h-back position. Some schools have thought of me bulking up, playing defensive end or linebacker"

As far as factors in a school, Hanna is looking for a place he feels comfortable. Talking to his friend Thomas, he sees an opportunity for early playing time as a factor. Though he has some time to figure out where he's going to attend, this past weekend's visit to Pittsburgh obviously left an impression on him

"My favorite school has always been Ohio State," Hanna said. "After I went to Pitt this past weekend, Pitt ranks right up there with the Buckeyes. I've been going to Ohio State games my whole life."

Hanna has taken unofficial visits to the Ohio State-Cincinnati game already this year, and will attend the Ohio State-Michigan game on Nov. 18, for another unofficial visit He also plans to be back in Pittsburgh for the "Backyard Brawl" on Nov. 16, which should make for an exciting weekend for Hanna.

Tony Greco can be contacted at pittpath@hotmail.com..

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