JACKSONVILLE – Bishop Kenny defensive end Mark Hanania believes that three core principles, trust, love and commitment help you succeed on and off the football field.
The 2018 prospect shares the same principles with second-year Crusaders head coach Bobby Raulerson.
At 6’3″, 215 lbs., Hanania enters his third year on varsity and second as a full-time starter.
He started every game a year ago switching from right tackle to defensive end from week to week. As a sophomore, he was a rotational tight end and defensive end.
Hanania says playing both tackle and defensive end last season certainly gave him an edge in practices and games.
“On defense, I know what the offensive tackle is trying to get me to do and on offense, I know what the defensive end is trying to do,” he told Prep Sports Scouting. “I know the inside scoop and the tendencies to where it can benefit to me in the game.”
Switching his main focus to defensive end, Bishop Kenny employs a defense that runs a 3-4 or 4-3 look depending on the opponent. Hanania has been training since last season on his pass rushing moves.
In last year’s Class 5A region quarterfinal, Bishop Kenny lost 14-13 to Ribault in a nail biter.
“The seniors were awesome. They left a big imprint on the team, they were there forever,” he said. “During the game fighting for one another and being there for their teammates was a surreal experience.
“We were playing for each other, everything that we had there was awesome. At the end, it was heartbreaking of the final score.”
Hanania says his ability to use his hands to get around offensive linemen was something that got better for him last season.
“Going up against and watching other teammates and trying to be a sponge from everyone who is going to the college level to play football,” he said.
Switching from right tackle to defensive end, his final stats for 2016 were 20 tackles, two sacks and a fumble recovery.
Hanania began playing football at age 5. He was a wide receiver and tight end since he was one of the biggest kids on the field. After that, he dabbled with some running back which he said was fun and then in 7th grade playing tackle, he moved to defensive end.
Although he says he loves defensive end. However, there have been plenty of athletic pass rushers who have switched to tight end at some point in their careers. With experience in tight end, I asked Hanania what he thought of that.
“I think tight end is the best of both world,” he said. “You get to block and go out for routes. In the future, if that’s what it takes me to, then it will definitely be something to think about.”
In the season opening loss 34-14 against Bartram Trail, Hanania says he came out nervous but took the game as a learning experience. He met with his coaches and watched a ton of film to give him the confidence of saying ‘I got this.’
The Crusaders have one of the toughest districts in all of Florida. 5A-4 includes the likes of 4-time defending champion Trinity Christian, Ponte Vedra, Westside, Parker and now Bolles, who moved into the district this year.
Bishop Kenny will host Bolles on Oct. 13.
“Bolles is one of our major rivals. I think that it will bring even more energy,” Hanania said. “It will be a great game, we’ll see how it ends up. I know me and my teammates are grinding for that game. Saying that we are excited is an understatement. It’s going to be awesome.”
Hanania called playing for coach Raulerson absolutely awesome. Raulerson served as the Bishop Kenny defensive coordinator from 2012-15 before taking over for long-time coach and current athletic director Mark Thorson. He was the head coach at Providence previously.
“I’m blessed to have the opportunity to play for coach Raulerson. He’s kind of like that coach who can scream you but not downgrade you,” Hanania said. “He’s always there when you need and someone you can go to. “
He pointed to his desire and love for the game, speed around the edge and counter move as his biggest strengths. Hanania is aiming to get stronger, learn new moves and figure out which ones work best for him.
No offers have come yet, but he says Princeton and Campbell have shown interest and have been two schools staying in contact with him.
As for Hanania’s ultimate goal with that game that is to go to college and play football
“I want to play it as long as I can, I absolutely love the sport and don’t want it to stop after my senior year,” he said. “Off the field, I want it to continue to make me a better man and take life lessons from it.”
He plans to study business management in college.
For now, Hanania is working hard to add pass rushing moves to his arsenal, get stronger in the weight room and faster on the field. Determined and focus there is no reason why he won’t shine playing as a full-time defensive end.
Favorite players to watch – Texans DE J.J. Watt and Jaguars DE Dante Fowler
Playlist before games – AC/DC’s “Thunderstruck” and “Back in Black” and Eminem’s “Till I Collapse”
Favorite movies – The Sandlot, The Blindside, Benchwarmers
Favorite TV shows – ESPN, NFL Network, The Office
Fun fact about you that you think no one knows – “I love to work no matter what it is and how hard it is. Hanging out with my friends is my happy place. Friends or family.”
Game film: Hanania’s Hudl tape
Jake Perper is the founder of Prep Sports Scouting. Make sure to follow along for all the updates on Twitter: @JakePerper.