As a junior, Tampa (Fla.) Gaither defensive end Chad Hannah was nothing more than a lanky athlete that played sparingly. As a senior, he had a breakout season and began to show flashes of the potential that the 6-foot-5, 215-pound defensive end possesses.
Needless to say, Hannah was not expecting to be signing a letter-of-intent to a Division I school at this time a year ago, but on Wednesday that is exactly what he did when he signed with Big East member, Cincinnati.
"Definitely not," Hannah said. "It is truly just a blessing to go from nine tackles to seven sacks in two years and have all of these colleges after me. Now I am going to Cincinnati and I am fulfilling a dream."
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Hannah took official visits to Cincinnati and Rutgers, and an unofficial visit to USF, but at the end of the day he wanted to be a part of Butch Jones' program.
"I just felt like it was my home away from home," Hannah said. "They have a good team. They have 11 people on defense coming back and none of them are seniors, so the defense is getting stronger, faster, and bigger. I think for the next couple of years we are going to get a lot better."
Another reason why the three-star prospect opted for the Bearcats was his relationships with a couple of assistants on the staff.
"It was Coach (Jahmile) Addae and Coach (Steve) Stripling," Hannah said. "They were just really, really honest. They talked about the potential that I have and that they were going to put me in position to do great things. They said it was just up to me to do it, that is position I wanted to be in."
Hannah held offers from Bowling Green, East Carolina, Illinois, N.C. State, Rutgers, South Florida, Texas Tech, Vanderbilt, and Western Michigan.