Football or lacrosse? Henry Hasselbeck sorting through ‘weird’ recruiting process

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. — Henry Hasselbeck rattles off the names of the schools he’s attended, 10 in all. There were the early years in Seattle, where he was born and lived for six years. Two separate stints in Tennessee account for three more years, one of which included his freshman season of high school when he played football for Trent Dilfer at Lipscomb Academy in Nashville.

Add in three years in Indiana and five in Massachusetts — which is now home — and Henry believes he has hit all the stops.

“If you need me to do a hardcore Boston accent, I can,” Hasselbeck, a Class of 2024 quarterback who now plays at Xaverian Brothers in Westwood, Mass., says with a smile as he nails the impression. “Home for me is anywhere. It could be West Coast. East Coast. South. Midwest. We’ve been everywhere.”

If six years in Seattle for a kid with the last name of Hasselbeck wasn’t enough of an indication, yes, Henry is Matt’s son. But on this afternoon, one would be hard-pressed to connect the dots, as the three-time Pro Bowler and 18-year NFL vet blends in with the other parents watching from the bleachers at the Elite 11 Regional event held at State College Area High.

Having a former NFL quarterback for a father helps explain the numerous geographic moves as well as Henry’s affinity for the position. But this spring, as the 6-foot-3, 170-pound three-star quarterback’s offer sheet has grown and now includes schools such as Pitt, UAB, Georgia Tech, Boston College, UConn, Rice, Army, East Carolina and a few Ivy League programs, Hasselbeck has had to rethink his recruitment.

He has been through this process before — just not with this sport.

“It’s a little weird, right?” Matt concedes, laughing.

Henry is committed to the University of Maryland to play lacrosse. Ranked as a four-star midfielder, according to Inside Lacrosse, Hasselbeck announced his commitment to the Terrapins in December. At the time, he didn’t have any football offers. UAB came through first in January, followed by Pitt. Whether he’ll ever suit up for the lacrosse powerhouse will be decided in the coming months. For now, football recruiting is his focus.

“I’ve been very transparent with every team that’s been recruiting me,” Hasselbeck said. “I said, ‘Hey, if I commit to you for lacrosse, you have me for lacrosse and I’ll play nowhere else. But if football does come down the line, I’m probably going to take that offer.’ Lately this spring, I’ve gotten some great opportunities. I believe in my future. It could be football. It could be lacrosse.”

Hasselbeck is not the only lacrosse standout in the family. His sisters play the sport at Boston College — the same place where Matt played college football and where his wife, Sarah, starred in field hockey (both are in Boston College’s Hall of Fame). It’s where Matt’s brother Tim, also a quarterback, played as well.

The Eagles extended a football scholarship offer to Henry in March.

“I love coach (Jeff) Hafley,” he said. “Boston College is always going to be in my heart no matter what. If you ask me, I’m gonna say, ‘We just beat this team or whatever.’ I always grew up cheering for them. If I go there, I’m going to love it. If I don’t go there, I’m still always going to be a fan of Boston College.”

Hasselbeck is working to finalize his visits this summer but plans to take officials to Pitt, Boston College and UAB, the latter giving him a chance to reconnect with Dilfer, the Blazers’ new head coach. He’d like to visit an Ivy League school or two as well. He has offers from Dartmouth and Harvard.

He knows after going through this process with lacrosse that getting a feel for the players on these visits is critical. At Maryland, he said he knows his (potential) future lacrosse teammates well after they gathered this spring to hang out and watch a scrimmage. It’s also easier to know the entire team because of the smaller roster size.

Though the Terrapins haven’t offered for football, they have a bit of a blueprint for how to play both sports thanks to sophomore Dante Trader Jr., who was among the best Class of 2021 lacrosse recruits in the country. The midfielder is also a defensive back at Maryland, but Hasselbeck knows everything is different for quarterbacks. The preparation, the leadership, all that goes into the position, would make playing both sports difficult. That’s why his future school will get him for one sport — and if it’s lacrosse, it’s Maryland. If it’s football? That’s what this summer is for.

“If I was at Maryland (for lacrosse), I’d have no issue. I’d have the best friends in the world, and the coaches, they’re awesome,” Hasselbeck said. “But if football is the future, then I think I could find something just as good.”

Hasselbeck said he doesn’t want to put a time frame on making a decision but that given his relationship with Dilfer, who is also Matt’s close friend and former teammate in Seattle, UAB will always be in the mix. Henry moved back to Nashville as a freshman to play for Dilfer at Lipscomb Academy because his school in Massachusetts wasn’t offering football. His season spent holding a clipboard provided a crash course in quarterbacking.

“I learned more football than I ever have in my life. I was drinking from a fire hose, and I loved every part of it,” Hasselbeck said. “It got to the point where I was doing signals for the varsity team. Coach Trent is awesome. No matter what in my recruitment, they will be in the top two. I’m going down there with the complete ability to commit.”

Whether it’s Maryland for lacrosse or a yet-to-be-determined school for football, Matt has made it clear the decision is Henry’s.

“Kids would always say, ‘Well, you’re gonna be a quarterback, right?’” Henry said. “‘You’re gonna be a quarterback and go to Boston College.’ The best thing that (my dad has) done is that there’s no pressure. He’ll support me with whatever. If I love lacrosse, he’s gonna help me with lacrosse. If I love football, we’re gonna go in the backyard and throw for however long and then watch film together. He supports me all the way.”

(Photo: Audrey Snyder / The Athletic)

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