WT: 215 lbs
Year: Redshirt Senior
High School: East Lake (Tarpon Springs, Florida)
Accolades: 2019 All-Big Ten Honorable Mention.
Summer Scouting Notes: LB Jake Hansen, Illinois
Speed/Athleticism: Jake Hansen is an excellent athlete, and is able to truly play as a sideline-to-sideline player. He was oftentimes utilized out of the slot and asked to cover wide receivers in zone coverage.
Strength/Power: For his size, Hansen is incredibly strong and plays low, giving him more power in most situations. Has the power to get off of blocks and hold his own with NFL level offensive linemen.
Tackling/Pursuit: Hansen is an excellent tackler. He does extremely well to make big plays despite his smaller frame. Sometimes his pursuit angles are poor because he is aggressive toward the ball carrier. He very oftentimes makes the aggressive angle. Sometimes, he tries too hard to force a fumble and loses contain. He has some force when coming downhill to make a tackle.
Coverage Ability: Hansen is able to cover tight ends and running backs with ease. Man coverage wasn’t something that he was asked to do a lot of, but he’s an effective piece in zone coverage. Plays smart, disciplined football and stays true to his assignment.
Pass Rush Ability: Jake Hansen has an ability to get into the backfield and disrupt pass plays with such ease. Attacks gaps with great technique and is looking to force a fumble. Works around blocks pretty well.
Football IQ/Instincts: Hansen is an incredibly smart player. Positions himself very well on the field. Diagnoses play concepts quickly and will recognize his assignment. Sometimes, he is a bit too aggressive and will miss on the play as a result, so you’d like to see him get smarter about that.
Jake Hansen was asked to play a role in the defense much like Clemson played Isaiah Simmons last season, and that’s not the best role for him to play in defense. Hansen definitely projects much better as a mike linebacker and should be a solid box defender, with the potential to play with great range. I don’t think that his athleticism is top-notch, and it will limit him and his role to an extent in the NFL, but he has great intelligence and instincts, and because of that he can make an impact on an NFL roster.
What I want to see in 2020: I do want to see Jake Hansen clean up some of his tackle angles. Supposedly, Illinois intends to move him to MIKE linebacker this season, where he needs to be. I’d really like to see him play that position as effectively as he was outside as a ROVER. I also want to see him focus on the tackle a little bit more and to be smart about trying to strip the football. He gave up a lot of big plays last year because of his efforts in stripping the ball instead of tackling.
Grade: Future Impact.