Utah Utes football: Injury, mission to delay start of Chase Hansen's Ute career until 2015
Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News
SALT LAKE CITY — Shoulder surgery and an LDS Church mission will keep Utah quarterback Chase Hansen from playing for the Utes until 2015.
The highly touted freshman from Lone Peak High is scheduled to have an operation Wednesday and depart for a two-year mission in late December or early January, putting his college football career on hold.
Hansen will remain with the team this season, however, while rehabilitating his throwing shoulder. A decision on applying for a medical redshirt will be determined down the line.
"Obviously, this is tough, but it's a part of football. The best way to look at it is that it's an opportunity to learn from Jordan (Wynn), Jon (Hays) and coach (Brian) Johnson," Hansen said. "I'm going to go to school, rehab my shoulder and be with the team for the next few months, and after the semester, I plan to serve an LDS Church mission.
"Hopefully I'll be healthy and strong when I come back in two years and I'll have four years to play when I return," he added.
Utah coach Kyle Whittingham said the shoulder has bothered Hansen for a couple of years. Soreness has prevented Hansen from participating in preseason camp, and an evaluation by team doctors determined there were enough things to fix to recommend surgery.
"We're following their lead," Whittingham said. "Any time there's a medical decision to be made, it comes from our trainers and that was what we decided."
Although the Utes planned to use Hansen before his mission, they're still in good shape depth-wise at the position. They'll enter the upcoming campaign with four quarterbacks — Wynn, Hays, true freshman Travis Wilson and redshirt freshman Adam Schulz.
The loss of Hansen, though, has altered the landscape.
"I can't wait to get him back. Obviously I'm proud of him making the commitment to go on a mission and serve a church mission after the season," said Johnson, Utah's offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. "He's everything that you look for when you talk about recruiting a student-athlete, and he's going to be a very integral part of our program in 2015."
Hansen was named Mr. Football by the Deseret News in 2011 after leading Lone Peak to a 14-0 record and the 5A state championship. He completed 60 percent of his passes while throwing for 3,066 yards and 38 touchdowns. Hansen also ran for 1,404 yards and 16 more scores and was also a contributor on Lone Peak's state championship basketball team.
UTAH CAMP REPORT
Day 4: The Utes resumed practice Monday morning with a two-hour session in helmets and shoulder pads at Ute Field. They'll be in full gear on Tuesday.
Standouts: Utah coach Kyle Whittingham praised the defense as a whole. He noted that defensive tackle Star Lotulelei was in the backfield every other snap disrupting things. Whittingham also singled out strong showings by cornerback Mo Lee and safety Eric Rowe.
Injuries: Junior center Vyncent Jones could be on the shelf for a while with a bad hamstring. Junior wide receiver Anthony Denham spent practice in "The Pit" with tendonitis. Shoulder surgery will sideline freshman quarterback Chase Hansen for the season.
Overheard: "I think we need to wait a couple of more days before we start to see some depth-chart changing type of separation." — Whittingham.
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