Terran Hasselbach only had one season of high school football to prove himself, but did he ever.
The senior defensive end got to play just one year for Regis Jesuit in the wake of a near-fatal car crash and two major injuries, but he played his way into a Division I football scholarship at his ideal place, the University of Colorado.
A lot of athletes around Aurora flashed a lot of smiles on National Letter of Intent signing day — Feb. 5 — but none shone as bright as Hasselbach’s as he donned a white CU hat and sat among a glittering class of signees in Regis Jesuit’s Tradition Hall.
“I’ve been waiting for this my whole life; it’s been a long journey, so I’m definitely excited to finally be in this position where I thought I might never be,” said Hasselbach, who faxed his signed NLI to Boulder early in the morning and then enjoyed the signing ceremony with friends and teammates.
An outstanding defense played a large part in the Regis Jesuit football team’s 9-2 showing in the fall and Hasselbach’s addition was a big part of that.
After missing his junior year because of a shoulder injury, the 6-foot-1, 235-pounder racked up a whopping 11 sacks and finished third on the team with 78 total tackles, including 13 for loss.
The DI offers came quickly — numbering in double figures — and Hasselbach verbally committed to Western Michigan in December. Colorado came calling after bowl season, however, and it was easy for Hasselbach to switch to the Buffaloes.
“They watched the bowl games and saw every team had a smaller defensive end that could come off the edge and that’s what they forsee me as,” Hasselbach said. “When they offered me, I just couldn’t resist. They told me I have a chance to play as a freshman, it’s close to home and the coaching staff is awesome.”
Hasselbach’s father, Harald — a former Denver Broncos defensive lineman and current Regis Jesuit assistant coach — got an up-close-and-personal look at how hard his son worked to get back to health, which made the signing even more sweet.
“It’s been a tough road for Terran; in just one year of ball to be able to get a Division I scholarship is unheard of, so I’m proud of him,” Harald Hasselbach said.
“I’ve trained him since he was in eighth grade. He’s a lot stronger than the average high school kid because he worked his butt off and he knew what the ultimate goal was. He had one year to do it and he just exploded onto the scene.”
Hasselbach’s future Colorado teammate — Cherokee Trail safety Evan White — has been healthy and performing at a high level for several seasons for the Cougars.
The All-Colorado safety committed to the Buffs way back in July, prior to his senior season, so he was relieved to get his letter of intent signed and sealed.
“It was like getting a bunch of weight off my shoulders, it feels great,” White said. “It’s been a long wait, but I’m really glad I’m a Buffalo.”
Regis Jesuit’s Jalen Williams (preferred walk-on at Colorado State) and Cherokee Trail’s Jacob Martin (Temple) also signed DI offers among Aurora’s huge class of football players, including 11 from five schools headed to Colorado State-Pueblo.
Three of those were Hasselbach’s teammates — Grant Neal, Quinn VandeKoppel and Daniel Talley — who have all played together since they were little kids.
“It’s great to sign with your best friends on signing day; it doesn’t get any better,” VandeKoppel said.