Streetsboro graduate shines at two positions for Sioux Falls

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by Colin Harris | Reporter

It's one thing for a college football player to earn all-conference honors at one position.

Sometimes, players are even talented and versatile enough to earn honors on both offense and defense.

But what you hardly ever see is a player that is recognized for his play at two positions on the same side of the field.

Streetsboro graduate Carrington Hanna recently completed his senior season at The University Sioux Falls (S.D.), a Division II program, and made history by earning two offensive spots on the first team of the all-Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference South Division team.

"This year, I didn't have the best season individually or statistically, but I'm happy that I was able to help my team out at various positions," Hanna said of his historic season.

Aside from humility, versatility was apparently another one of Hanna's god-given gifts.

The NSIC Pre-season Player of the Year following a junior year that saw the standout finish with 69 catches for 898 yards and 10 touchdowns, Hanna earned first-team honors in 2013 after catching 44 passes for 491 yards and three TDs.

Injuries at the quarterback position, however, forced Hanna back under center at the mid-point of the year -- and the two-time All-Ohio selection at Streetsboro showed no signs of rust.

Despite not taking reps at the position since the 2010 season, Hanna still put up 1,085 yards on 99-for-162 passing to go along with seven TDs.

His time as the signal caller at Streetsboro, Hanna said, proved to be valuable in his switch back to his original position.

"I just reverted back to the things I learned about being a team leader from high school," Hanna said.

"Playing the receiver position helped as well because I understood the playbook better and I knew what all of the players on offense were going to be doing."

In performing well at two positions, Hanna became the first player in the history of the NSIC, a stretch dating back to 1973, to be selected as both an all-conference wide receiver and all-conference quarterback in the year.

Ironically, it was an opportunity to play quarterback that brought Hanna to Sioux Falls in the first place.

Hanna played his first two years at California University of Pennsylvania, where the former high school QB was looked at as an athlete and asked to move around the field.

"After my redshirt year, I was moved around as a athlete, playing running back and receiver, then they eventually they wanted to move me to defense," Hanna said.

"I just wasn't happy [with the constant shuffling] so I prayed about it and God told me to give up a full ride and that was when I ended up at Sioux Falls."

Hanna said Sioux Falls initially contacted current Streetsboro head coach John Arlesic regarding another player, when Arlesic brought up his former standout.

"Coach Arlesic sent them my film and [Sioux Falls] fell in love with me," Hanna said. "They gave me an opportunity to play the game I love again."

Hanna entered Sioux Falls in 2011 as a QB, throwing for 785 yards and seven TDs before being moved to the receiver position -- a change that would ultimately prove to benefit the team at two positions.

"I ultimately fell in love with playing the receiver position," Hanna said. "I guess it's ironic that I played all of last year at receiver and loving it, but I ended up coming back to the QB position and having a big season."

The move to Sioux Falls has benefitted Hanna in more ways than one. He is set to graduate from the university in January with a degree in biology.

As for what's next, Hanna said that he hopes to spend the next year preparing for a shot at playing professional football, whether it be in the NFL or a smaller league like the Canadian Football League.

If his pro dreams don't work out, though, the two-time Academic All-American said that his experience at Sioux Falls has prepared him well for life in the real world.

"I plan on eventually going to medical school down the road," Hanna said.

"I don't want my life to come down to just football. I want to prove a lot of people wrong and I know that my education and my experience at Sioux Falls is what I'm going to eventually have to lean on.

"Coming all the way out here has made me a better man. It's gotten me out of some things and taught me to believe in my capabilities, both on and off the field."

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