Colorado State: Extra work pays off for Hanada – Japanese transfer sees first action

Definitely after practice. When a game is finished. Heck, even when a soccer match is being played on the practice fields, Hidetora Hanada was hard at work.

On a craft which was new to him just eight months ago. To a sport which was as foreign to him as he was to the United States. The sumo champion was determined to bridge the gap between himself and his teammates who grew up playing football.

Especially to see game action, which he finally did on a snowy Saturday night at Canvas Stadium. A nose guard, he entered in the second half and registered three assisted tackles against Air Force.

“I was so excited. That was fun,” Hanada said. “That felt good. Really good.”
He came to Fort Collins a bit of a novelty, having won an amateur national championship in sumo wrestling back home, being introduced to football less than a year ago. His athleticism was undeniable however, and getting a recommendation from a trusted source, Colorado State defensive line coach Buddha Williams was more than happy to take the chance.
Ever since, his teammates have been fascinated by his willingness to put in the work, take advice and then work some more.

“Hanada has become one of our brothers. We love Hanada,’ safety Henry Blackburn said. “He works hard; he works as hard as anybody on the team, and it showed up this past game against Air Force, he was out there making plays, getting reps, and that’s a tough game for an interior D-lineman to start in. He had a great game. It’s showing up the work he’s putting in. You can see it and he’s our guy. We love him.”

It’s not just the work he puts in, but when he puts in the work. Late at night, possibly after team meetings. Saturday, after seeing his first game action, he was back on the field after many of his teammates were dressed and gone. He was in uniform, setting cones down on a snow-covered field in an effort to improve.

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