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Smarts and skill, but no major DI offers for Utah’s best high school football player

Smarts and skill, but no major DI offers for Utah’s best high school football player
Yale University commit Cole Hagen, No. 7, and his brother, Cody, celebrate their 2019 Class 6A Utah State Championship. (Courtesy: @_colehagen_/Twitter)

DRAPER, Utah (BVM) — Some things just make no sense. Take Corner Canyon High School quarterback Cole Hagen’s recruitment for example.

The three-star senior quarterback just led the Chargers to an undefeated state championship season and did so in style. Hagen threw for 3,655 yards and 43 touchdowns in 2019 and earned All-State honors for the second time.

A 6-foot-2 quarterback who put up video game-like numbers en route to being named the first Gatorade Utah Football Player of the Year chosen from Corner Canyon should have Division I programs clamoring for his commitment, right? Wrong.

Hagen’s only non-Ivy League offers are from Dixie State and Weber State, so there must be some sort of explanation.

Corner Canyon head coach Eric Kjar said he and Hagen try not to let the senior’s underrecruitment bug them, but the questionable reality is frustrating for them both.

“I just don’t get it,” Kjar said. “I think our quarterbacks in our state don’t get enough credit. I see a lot of the quarterbacks in other states, California being one, where there’s kids who don’t even start for their high school program who have offers. There were so many things that were there that didn’t add up recruiting wise for him (Hagen).”

In a new era of the quarterback position where mobility is almost a necessity, perhaps Hagen doesn’t possess the athleticism that Division I programs want in their signal-caller. Negative.

To go along with his gaudy passing numbers, Hagen rushed for 1,069 yards and 11 touchdowns on just 137 carries for a near eight-yards-per-attempt average.

Well, then maybe Hagen’s lack of Division I interest stems from there being more to be desired from him academically. But that’s something no one can ever say about Hagen.

While Hagen has excelled on the gridiron – in addition to the basketball court and track where he’s helped the Chargers win Class 5A state titles in both sports – he’s also been an exemplary student. Hagen has maintained a 4.0 grade point average in the classroom and even scored a 35 on his ACT; a perfect score is a 36.

Kjar said Hagen’s supreme knowledge of the game, not just of his studies, also made things easier and helped the signal-caller be more prepared on gameday.

“From a scheme standpoint, you could throw everything at him,” Kjar said. “We were able to do a lot with him because, intellectually, he can handle everything. Knowing routes, concepts and all those types of things. It was all easy to install with him.”

Hagen’s skill and smarts, although confusingly not enough for the interest of top-tier programs, is a perfect match for one of just four schools who extended an offer his way: Yale. The third-oldest institution of higher education in the United States will be Hagen’s home for the foreseeable future after he committed to the Bulldogs in February.

While Hagen may have flown under the radar throughout his recruitment and missed out on the opportunity to showcase his talents on a national stage, Kjar said the fit at Yale is a silver lining.

“I love it,” Kjar said. “That’s probably the good thing that’s come out of his recruitment is that I think the fit there is as best as you can find for what he brings. It’s great for him. I love their program, love their coaches and Cole loves them there. It’ll be a really good fit.”

The Ivy League voted on Wednesday to postpone all fall sports, with no date set for resuming the conference’s athletic events.

The conference hopes it can move fall sports to the spring, including football, but the Ivy League will not entertain any sports being played until after January 1.

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