Hannes Hammer. Photo by Doug Doughty.

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Just because he came to North Cross School in Roanoke County from Germany, college football programs haven’t shied away from Hannes Hammer.

Hammer has been recruited by a host of in-state programs, most notably Virginia Tech after visiting Blacksburg last weekend, where he was extended a full scholarship offer.

Hammer, listed at 6-foot-6  1/2 and 272 pounds, said he has developed a bond with Joe Rudolph, listed as the Hokies’ run-game coordinator and offensive line coach.

Other offers have come from Elon, Eastern Michigan, Massachusetts, Dartmouth, Pennsylvania, William  and Mary and Richmond. Tech would be the highest level at this point, he agrees.

“I would like to [commit] early so I would have some more security,” he said Wednesday. “I’m obviously not a big, big-time recruit so the wait would be gone.

“We’ll see what the next week holds and maybe that will help me decide.”

Although he has been in the U.S. for less than a year, his acclimation to football has been steady.

He played American-style football in  Germany but he was a quarterback, tight end and defensive back.

“This was his first year on the  line and he really worked hard to absorb all these is about the position,”  North Cross coach Stephen Alexander said Wednesday. “We’ve had some momentum with international kids over the last couple years. We had a German student come to us two years ago and had a really good experience and things have really snowballed since then.”

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The future

A younger North Cross player who has raised eyebrows is Kwalei Carter, a wide receiver and defensive back for a 10-2 Raiders team last year.

Carter has a bond with North Cross defensive coordinator Shannon Taylor, who played with Carter’s father in high school at Patrick Henry.

“I’ve coached [Kwalei Carter] through rec league and before he got to North Cross when he was real young,” said Taylor, noting that Carter played on the Patrick Henry Middle School team in 2020. “He had a great season last year for North Cross and helped us get to the state championship [final].”

Carter was described as the state’s premier cornerback at one point, but that was for freshman.

“I’ve told him to stay away from that kind of stuff,” said Taylor, a quarterback at Patrick Henry before going to Virginia, where he played on defense before a six-year NFL stint as an outside linebacker.

“Some things have to happen where he has to grow up physically. He’s getting good feedback but I feel this is all kind of premature for him right now.”

Doug Doughty

Doug Doughty has been writing for more than 50 years starting as a high school student in Washington, D.C., through his undergraduate years at the University of Virginia, and 47 years at the Roanoke Times...