In some WTF news that came out of Utah’s pro day a couple of days ago, Chase Hansen announced that he played much of the 2018 season with a herniated disk in his back. According to the new former Ute, the injury happened in mid October in the USC/UCLA swing of games. Hansen was taking shots in his back after that to keep him going for the Utes, but that was not the injury that kept him out of the bowl game. That was a hip strain that he endured in the Pac-12 Championship game against Washington. Hansen did have a procedure to get his back fixed in January, but will be missing much if not all of the pre-draft activities.
The fact that Hansen was able to play to his level of ability for basically half the season with an injury like that is a major credit to his toughness. For the season Chase pulled in 114 tackles, 5 sacks, 1 fumble recovery and 2 interceptions. The dude was just a machine, and he helped anchor an incredible defense with Cody Barton.
The question now, especially with a back injury, what will that do to his potential draft stock, and potential free agency should he not get drafted? I think if healthy he would have been a pick for sure, but now teams may be scared off due to the back injury. For a guy that loves to hit, especially as a linebacker, that could be bad news for Chase. His history of injury issues can’t help him either. Hopefully he can address those questions and get the call for the NFL.
To give some context on how productive Hansen was this past season, here is a run down of some of his accolades, thanks to UtahUtes.com:
Second-team All-American by the FWAA, Sporting News, The Athletic and Phil Steele … first-team All-Pac-12 … started 13 games at rover linebacker, missing the bowl game due to injury … second on the team with 114 tackles and led Utah with 5.0 tackles per game (No. 7 Pac-13) … fifth in the nation and first in the Pac-12 in tackles for loss (22.0) … 22.0 TFL is the second-most in a season at Utah … tied for fifth in the Pac-12 with 5.0 sacks … led or tied for the team in tackles in nine games … two interceptions (1 for a touchdown) and four pass breakups … two-time Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Week (Northern Illinois, USC) … career-high 13 tackles vs. Washington in the Pac-12 Championship game, Oregon (3.5 TFL, 1.0 sack) and BYU (3.0 TFL, 1 PBU) … named the Chuck Bednarik Award Player of the Week, Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Week and Rose Bowl Game Pac-12 Player of the Week for a 12-tackle (2.5 TFL, 2.0 sack) game against Northern Illinois … clinched the win against NIU with a 40-yard interception return for a touchdown and also recovered a fumble … 11 tackles (3.0 TFL) and an interception against USC … 11 tackles (1.5 TFL) against Washington … nine tackles (2.0 TFL, 1.0 sacks) vs. Stanford and Arizona (1.0 sack) … three pass breakups against UCLA … quarterfinalist for the Lott IMPACT Trophy … two-time Lott IMPACT Player of the Week (Oregon, BYU).