Offensive Line, Class of 2023
North Cross, Roanoke, VA
After he saw the interest his friends had in watching football, Hannes Hammer didn’t want to feel left out. A little more than three years ago, in his native Cologne, Germany, he watched, too.
Two and a half years ago, Hammer became interested enough that he began playing as well. First as a wide receiver, then tight end and finally quarterback. But once Hammer got stateside last fall for the first time, coaches moved him to the offensive line. Now he’s set to continue his football career next year at Virginia Tech, where he committed to play on May 2.
The decision was another step in the swift acceleration of Hammer’s career. Two years ago, Hammer joined Gridiron Imports, a 501(c) organization that specializes in getting European players exposed to high school and college football coaches and programs in the U.S. He chose North Cross School (Va.) and moved to Virginia late last summer before the start of the season and school year.
“I had four or five high schools reach out and I just liked Roanoke in general,” Hammer said. “I really like the mountains. Roanoke was a bit of a downgrade from my city (Cologne), but the rest is pretty damn cool.”
Less than an hour from Blacksburg, the Hokies’ staff noticed Hammer earlier this year. After a few visits on campus, Hammer said he was sold.
“It’s a lot of factors,” he said. “I really like the staff. Coach (Joe) Rudolph is awesome. It fits perfectly academically. Virginia Tech is one of the few with the major I want to study, smart and sustainable cities (architecture). Then, with the stadium and the facilities, it just all fits together, really. Being from a city, I’m just so fascinated with how to make cities modern. I like the city, but a nature environment, too. I’ve always been like that. I’m just fascinated, and I can talk about it for hours.”
Through multiple visits by Hammer to Virginia Tech and Rudolph to North Cross, a strong relationship developed. Hammer said from their first conversation he felt like he had a good bond.
“I don’t know how to describe the relationship,” Hammer said. “I’d say he’s a bit of a tough guy, the teacher you want. A lot of college coaches have this huge ego and they let you know that you’re lucky to talk to them. With Coach Rudolph, you feel like you’re on the same level. You talk, and I learned a lot from talking. I get along with him great and I feel like I can train with him good. We’ve talked about technique, and I love how he approaches everything.”
Rudolph has also discussed how he sees the three-star offensive lineman fitting in within the Hokies’ scheme.
“He sees me as a tackle, and then I know he likes my quick feet, athletic ability and just my potential,” Hammer said. “I just started playing O-line last summer. As a tackle, being able to move around, pull, I’m happy to do whatever. I’ll even do special teams if they want.”
“They saw 6-foot-6 and I was 223 (pounds),” Hammer said. “They said, we’re going to get you adjusted to American food,...
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