LOS ANGELES (BVM) – Xaverian Brothers’ quarterback Henry Hasselbeck has had a unique high school experience. He transferred twice during his prep career, from Lipscomb Academy in Tennessee to Belmont Hill in Belmont, Massachusetts, and finally to Xaverian Brothers in Westwood, Massachusetts.
Much like his playing career, Hasselbeck’s recruitment has seen its fair share of movement as well. Hasselbeck originally committed to the University of Maryland lacrosse team last December. However as football offers began to flood in, he changed his commitment to the Michigan State football program. But, with a change in coaching staff this fall, Hasselbeck made the decision to decommit from the Spartans and committed to the UCLA Bruins on Dec. 20.
“I could not be more excited,” Hasselbeck said. “I feel wholeheartedly that I’ve made the right decision and I’ve been on cloud nine since I committed.”
While the winding road took him across the country and through multiple commitments, Hasselbeck feels he has finally found his next home.
“It’s been a great process having so many opportunities to play whether it be lacrosse or football, it’s been a blessing in my life,” Hasselbeck said. “But now that it’s all over I’m just excited for the next chapter to start. It’s been a big weight off my shoulders.”
Despite all the off-field transitions, Hasselbeck still excelled during his time as the Hawks signal caller. During his senior year this past fall, Hasselbeck threw for 1,349 yards and 19 touchdowns while rushing for 735 yards and 11 more scores, earning Catholic Conference MVP honors.
“I would give a lot of credit to Xaverian,” Hasselbeck said. “Xaverian has been an amazing school for me and how they welcomed me into the community has been incredible and I can’t thank them enough.”
He also led Xaverian Brothers to the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association Division I Super Bowl championship, going 7-of-13 passing for 101 yards and three touchdowns while also rushing the ball 13 times for 122 yards, helping the program maintain its tradition of excellence.
“Joining this community junior year was awesome and the friends I’ve made will be brothers for life, and keeping the tradition here at Xaverian of winning state championships,” Hasselbeck said. “We have a huge poster here at the office of the rings we’ve won and we’re going to have to add one more. It’s just our tradition at Xaverian Brothers to win and I’m just glad to be part of that story.”
Two of Hasselbeck’s biggest supporters were on the sidelines to share the moment with the quarterback. Henry’s father, Matt, served as the team’s quarterbacks coach. Matt is a former Hawks signal caller who spent 17 years as a quarterback in the NFL, most notably spending 10 years with the Seattle Seahawks. Henry’s grandfather, Don, was also on the Hawks’ coaching staff as the team’s tight ends coach and he also spent a decade in the NFL, winning Super Bowl XVIII with the Los Angeles Raiders.
“Having them there was incredible, not many people can say they can do that,” Henry said. “Being with them was something special that I will never forget.”
Football runs deep in the Hasselbeck family. Not only did his grandfather and father both make it to the NFL, but so did his uncle Tim.
“I could never escape it my whole life and I see it as a good thing,” Henry said. “I grew up around it as my father played, both my uncles played and my grandfather, it’s just been a part of my life since I was 4. Now it’s my love. I’ve played lacrosse, I’ve played hockey, I’ve played baseball, but I never really wanted to escape football and now that I get the chance to keep doing that I feel blessed.”
At UCLA, Henry feels he can accomplish his dreams of making it to the league, especially while learning from former NFL head coach Chip Kelly.
“The NFL is not too far away and if I can control the controllables and just listen to all the advice people have given me on the way, listen to coaching and be the best person I can be, I can get there,” Henry said. “Chip Kelly has done an amazing job as a coach. He has an amazing track record with winning and producing great quarterbacks so just trusting that and UCLA.”
While Henry is thrilled with his decision to join the Bruins, that doesn’t mean it was an easy decision. Most of Hasselbeck’s family, including his father, uncle and sisters Annabelle and Mallory, have attended Boston College, making it the family school. Henry was heavily pursued by the Eagles, even making an official visit to the program earlier this month, but he knew UCLA was the right fit for him and his future.
“Turning down BC was a big factor for me, it was a very hard conversation I had to have, it was a very tight call for me,” Henry said. “I have all the respect in the world for [Boston College head] Coach [Jeff] Hafley and everyone over there so I wish them the best.”
While he ultimately didn’t choose his family school, the Hasselbecks were still eager to celebrate Henry’s decision.
“They’ve always been supportive of me,” Henry said. “Immediately they were already looking for UCLA gear to buy, so we have a great connection in our family.”
At UCLA, Henry feels the culture is second to none. When he visited the school in early December, he immediately felt connected not only to the football program, but the campus as a whole.
“Everything about UCLA, their campus, their traditions over there, I just fell in love with the college,” Henry said.
With his college decision finally made, Henry will look to bring similar success he had at Xaverian with him to Los Angeles. Though Henry has goals of winning and leading the Bruins to success in the Big Ten, he is more focused on improving himself and becoming the best player he can for the program and the campus community.
“I don’t like talking too much about headlines like I want to win this or do this,” Henry said. “I would just say as a person, if I can control who I am in the quarterback room, be the best student of the game I can be, then it will all figure itself out. My dad always tells me to control the controllables and the score will take care of itself. I feel if I’m able to do that we will win a lot of games at UCLA.”