Chad Hansen leads Southland players selected on third day of NFL draft

Eric Sondheimer
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It was four years ago as a senior at Moorpark High that Chad Hansen had only one college scholarship offer — from Idaho State. He ran 100 meters in 10.91 seconds, was a 22-foot long jumper and caught 12 touchdown passes as a receiver.

Fast forward to Saturday and the third day of the NFL draft. Hansen, who became one of the nation’s top receivers at California, was chosen in the fourth round (141 overall) by the New York Jets.

Called a “late bloomer,” he certainly has surpassed lots of former high school receivers from the class of 2013. He left Idaho State after one season and transferred to Cal as a walk-on in 2014. Last season, he caught 92 passes for 1,249 yards and 11 touchdowns.

“I should have thrown him more passes,” former Moorpark coach Tim Lins said. “We had 11 of the 12 Pac-12 recruiters come in and for the life of me, they didn’t think he was a player of that caliber and he has certainly proved them wrong.”

Hansen watched the draft from his home in Fillmore. He got a text message congratulating him from his former Cal teammate, quarterback Jared Goff of the Rams.

Tedric Thompson, a Valencia High grad who was one of the best safeties in the Pac-12 at Colorado, was the fourth pick of the fourth round by the Seattle Seahawks. As a sophomore at Colorado, Thompson suffered a concussion against UCLA in the eighth week of the season. He was carried off the field on a stretcher and sat out the final three games of the 2014 season. It was a scary moment but he moved on.

Now there’s a distinct possibility of two Thompson brothers playing in the NFL. Older brother Cedric is a safety with the Minnesota Vikings.

“Very cool,” Valencia coach Larry Muir said of Thompson’s selection.

Colorado assistant Gary Bernardi recruited Thompson out of high school. He was one of his first recruits after leaving San Jose State for Colorado.

“It’s guys like Tedric — that is the reason we’ve gone from 2-10 to 10-4,” he said. “You could see he had the potential. He had size and he was explosive. He came back from his concussion injury and is on track to graduate. I’m excited for him.”

In San Clemente, offensive lineman Sean Harlow was watching the draft on television with his father, Pat, the football coach at San Juan Capistrano JSerra. Pat was the 11th player taken in the 1991 draft by the New England Patriots out of USC. When Sean was chosen by the Atlanta Falcons with the 136th pick, Pat reacted the way you’d expect a proud father would.

“I was crying like a school girl,” Pat said.

Sean, a San Clemente grad who started for four years at Oregon State, had risked plenty to play last season. He had three offseason surgeries and most thought he would use a redshirt season to get healthy. But Sean wanted to play for his team.

“The belief he has in himself — I’m extremely proud of him,” Pat said.

USC’s team captain, 6-foot-9, 350-pound offensive lineman Zach Banner, was taken 137th by the Indianapolis Colts. Asked where the moment ranks, the 23-year-old Banner said, “I think it ranks as No. 1, sir.”

The Washington native put into perspective what he learned in five years at USC.

“I think the best thing to learn is it’s business and you need to make sure you perform well at a high level all the time and build great relationships,” he said.

Banner could be back at the Coliseum this fall, because the Colts play the Rams in Week 1 on Sept. 10.

In Round 5, linebacker Blair Brown of Ohio, a Rancho Verde grad, went No. 148 to the Jacksonville Jaguars. Linebacker Jayon Brown of UCLA, a Long Beach Poly grad, went 155th to the Tennessee Titans, and former Santa Margarita running back Jeremy McNichols from Boise State went to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at 162. Offensive lineman Conor McDermott of UCLA went to the Patriots in the sixth round at 211.

Miami quarterback Brad Kaaya, a West Hills Chaminade grad, went to the Detroit Lions at 215. That’s considered a surprise considering he skipped his senior year.

Safety Leon McQuay of USC was taken as the last pick of the sixth round by the Kansas City Chiefs and became the 500th USC athlete chosen in draft history. In the seventh round, with the 223rd pick, the Buccaneers took USC nose tackle Stevie Tu’ikolovatu.

Running back Khalfani Muhammad of Cal, a state track champion in the 100 meters at Sherman Oaks Notre Dame, was chosen in the seventh round by the Titans at 241.

eric.sondheimer@latimes.com

Twitter: latsondheimer

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