Nevada Union’s Tanner Vallejo and Cole Hannum signed national letters of intent Wednesday to attend and play football at Division I schools.
Both student-athletes play middle linebacker, both are bruising running backs, and both grabbed headlines throughout their senior year. Despite these similarities, their paths to playing D-I football were very different.
Vallejo will attend and play linebacker at Boise State University, a member of the Mountain West Conference, after three stellar years on the Miners’ varsity squad. Vallejo is one of the most decorated and highly recruited athletes to ever come out of Nevada Union.
As a sophomore, Vallejo accounted for 132 tackles; he tallied 158 as a junior and wrapped up 129 in his senior year. Vallejo was also the Miners’ second leading rusher in his senior year with 414 yards and eight touchdowns.
Through the years, Vallejo has been an All-Sierra Foothill League first-teamer three times and the SFL Defensive MVP twice and has been a Sacramento Bee All-Metro team member three times.
“Boise State is extremely fortunate to get Tanner,” Nevada Union head football coach Dave Humphers said with a proud smile on his face. “He’s one of the top linebackers in the country, he has a great nose for the ball, he’s an outstanding tackler, but what really sets him apart is his work ethic. His work ethic is tremendous and he will continue to develop and get better over the next few years, and if he stays healthy, he’s going play on Sundays.”
Hannum who will attend and play football at Sacramento State, a member of the Big Sky Conference, never played a down in a Nevada Union uniform.
Hannum transferred to Nevada Union in the summer of 2012 after back-to-back 1,000-plus-yard rushing and 100-plus-tackle seasons at Marysville High School.
But due to allegations of recruiting from the Marysville High School principal, Hannum was given a season-long suspension by the Sac-Joaquin Section, preventing him from playing in his senior year.
“This is a great day for Cole,” Humphers said. “This is just another step in a remarkable story about a young man who chose to transfer to Nevada Union for what he saw as opportunities, and he didn’t play a single down, and still two schools offered him scholarships.
He is going to help Sacramento State go to the next level.
He is a really, really good football player, one of our most improved.”
Vallejo, a 6-foot, 3-inch, 225-pound tackling machine, made a verbal commitment to Boise State before his senior season started and said he never wavered on the decision.
“I was committed the whole way through and never had a second thought,” he said. “I was committed the whole way through.”
Vallejo said he isn’t sure if he will red shirt his freshman year or be asked to make an immediate impact.
“They told me to come in ready to play, so I’m going to come in the best shape of my life and see what happens,” Vallejo said. “What ever they want me to do, I’ll do.”
Vallejo received 15 D-I full-ride scholarship offers.
Hannum, a 6-foot, 2-inch, 225-pounder, said he will look to suit up for the Hornets as a freshman.
“It is real close to my family, and I feel like I fit in real well to their program,” Hannum said. “I’m going to get a chance to come in and play as a freshman, and that was a big deal to me.”
Hannum also had an offer from Army.
In attendance for the signing were about 60 family, friends, coaches and teammates of Vallejo and Hannum.
To contact Sports Editor Walter Ford, call 530-477-4232 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.