No. 41 Dan Hansen – Defensive Back – 1969-1972
Dan Hansen was the kind of player that was ahead of his time. If he could have played in 2019 he would probably have 50 interceptions in a season, okay maybe 12. Hansen was a ball hawk and while he only played for three seasons, his interception returns are what make him stand apart from the rest of the defensive backs.
I’ve mentioned this probably a dozen times throughout the countdown, but in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s passing was still trying to find itself in the game as a regular option, and not just a third down and long or a two minute offense kind of playing style.
Back then, to get a few interceptions in a season was considered really special because the opportunities were not as common. After all, a defender may only see 20 passes an entire game and have only four or five of those come his direction. Hansen makes this list because of what he was able to do in those limited opportunities.
The BYU Football team from 1970-1972 was a combined 15-18 overall meaning that the impact that any player did make during that time was, limited and didn’t lead to many wins. Hansen however kept the Cougars in quite a few games such as against Wyoming when he had two interceptions including a pick six and the Cougars won 35-17.
Remember these are statistics from a player who played in the early 1970’s: 369 tackles, 29 pass breakups, 18 interceptions, two touchdowns and four tackles for loss. And this is a player who only played two and a half full seasons. Hansen was all over the place with 18 interceptions and 29 pass breakups. While I don’t have any footage to go back and watch of him, that has to be at least 20% of the targets that he defended. Also, Hansen is the BYU all-time leader in interception return yards with 421 yards and two touchdowns. In fact, in 1971 he 233 yards which would have made him second on the team in receiving yards. Not bad for a guy who was never thrown the ball.
Memorable Moments B+
This is a player I really wish I could have watched. He appears to have the kind of Kyle Van Noy effect that if the ball is going in his direction you just feel like something good will happen. While the team was pretty bad while he was on the team and there weren’t a lot of close games, his interception returns are memorable with the long ones being 93 yards against Wyoming and a 86 yard return against UTEP. Finally, the 29 pass breakups had to have been fun to watch and he got under the receivers skin over and over throughout the game.