Holly Ridge (N.C.) Dixon senior two-way standout C.D. Hansley took his game to another level down the stretch this fall, helping the Bulldogs put together one of the best seasons in school history.
The 6-2, 180-pounder, playing quarterback in Dixon's spread offense, ran for 265 yards and threw for another 76 yards in the Bulldogs' 41-16 triumph over Morehead City (N.C.) East Carteret in mid-October, earning Jacksonville Daily News Player of the Week honors for the second time over the course of the season.
He followed that up a week later by running for 204 yards on 34 carries to lead Dixon past conference rival Camp Lejeune and securing Dixon's first seven-win season in over 40 years.
"The last three games of the year he rushed for between 500 and 600 yards. He just got better. It was unreal to watch. You're talking about that point in the season, he was getting 10 yards a clip. Every time he touched the ball it seemed like he was getting 10 yards," said Dixon head coach Ray Swaney of Hansley.
"It (this past season) was a lot of fun," Hansley added. "It was great to be a part of it, growing as a quarterback, as a leader, and as a team. It was definitely good, you know. I don't have any regrets."
Due to the NCHSAA's controversial (and newly-scrapped for all levels but the 1-A level) pod system, Dixon was relegated to a game against 9-1 Goldsboro on the road in the first round of the NCHSAA 1-AA state playoffs, a 40-0 loss which ended its season at 7-4.
But it was a banner year for Hansley, who ran for 1,287 yards and scored 86 points (13 touchdowns and four two-point conversions) as well as passing for approximately 500 yards, while getting 53 tackles with two interceptions on defense at safety.
"I'm going to be honest with you. With the skill set he has, I'm telling you, I feel like he's a great player. I wish you could have watched him the last three games of the season. He's got more learning and more growing to do. He's not peaked out," said Coach Swaney.
In addition to starring on the gridiron this fall, Hansley is also one of the more accomplished track runners in the eastern North Carolina's 1-A ranks in the 400 meters.
This past spring as a junior Hansley finished fourth in the NCHSAA 1-A state track meet in the 400 meters (51.67 seconds) and comes back this year as one of the favorites to return to states and have a chance at winning the title in 2013.
"He's No. 4 in the state I think in the 400s. He's real fast. He's got long strides," said Swaney.
This summer Hansley made his way to North Carolina for one of the program's one-day June camps, where he worked out and got tutelage with UNC secondary coach Dan Disch.
By that point the Tar Heels had filled up with four scholarship players in the secondary and didn't have a scholarship available for Hansley, but Disch gave his coach some complementary feedback.
"He (Disch) told me that C.D. was a Division One player," said Swaney.
So far The Citadel is the school that has shown the most interest in Hansley, and those Bulldogs were happy to welcome this Bulldog to Charleston for a game this fall.
"I've been to a few games and stuff, and pretty much I'm just looking for the best offer," said Hansley. "The school showing the most interest has been The Citadel."
Safeties coach John Hauser is recruiting Hansley on behalf of The Citadel, and the Bulldogs are interested in him as a defensive back.
"The majority of the coaches that have talked to me said they like me at safety, and a couple have said wide receiver," Hansley told us. "Mostly they (college coaches) like my height, my frame."
"I know he likes The Citadel," Swaney said. "He's fine with the military aspect of it."
Other schools that have showed interest in recent months include Appalachian State, Western Carolina, and Elon.
"(Elon) came by and talked to him," Swaney said.
"Western Carolina, Appalachian State (have shown interest), and I've talked to Elon," added Hansley.
UNC-Charlotte has also shown some interest in Hansley, but because they're trying to compete right away as a startup program, they've indicated that they're going to fill out their secondary scholarships this year mostly with JUCOs.
"UNC-Charlotte is going to be playing FCS, and they've looked at other teams that have been startups, and some of these other teams have focused solely on bringing freshmen in," Swaney said. "The problem with that is the time it takes to get them ready to play."
"To make a long story short, they (UNC-C) decided as a staff and as a school that they were going to have to go after some Junior College players, and quite a few of their scholarships (in the secondary) are Junior College players."
But UNC-Charlotte's staff added that if they were taking a full freshman class this year like they will be in the future, they would have liked Hansley to be a part of it.
"(UNC-C's staff added), 'We'll tell you this. He (Hansley) was one of our top prospects. We really did want him, but the path we're having to take, looking at some other programs, we're going to have to pull in a lot of Junior College prospects for now.'"
So while Hansley probably won't be making his way to Charlotte, he could potentially be an opponent of the 49ers someday, with schools on both the 2013 and 2014 schedules possibilities for him.
In addition to the talent he brings to the field, Hansley is a mature team leader who stands to benefit whichever college program he chooses because of his ability to be coached, as well as his positive attitude.
"He's been a tremendous asset to us in terms of his leadership skills, and he has impeccable work ethic. He doesn't complain. He really gets after it. He goes hard all the time," said Swaney.
"He's very coachable and he listens to what you tell him. He does a tremendous job of applying the things you're trying to teach him."