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Chad Hanaoka to wear No. 1 jersey in 2018

Northwestern football’s smallest player earned its biggest honor.


Senior Chad Hanaoka has been chosen by his teammates to wear the No. 1 jersey for Northwestern in 2018, the team announced on Tuesday.

“The jersey represents so much more than just me, it’s the legacy of the incredible players and even better people who wore the jersey before me,” Hanaoka said via press release. ”It’s this team, this family, that embraced a kid from Hawaii and truly became my ‘ohana, celebrating with me in times of triumph and laughter and lifting me up in times of hardship. To them, I owe it all.”

The selection of the No. 1 jersey is a Northwestern tradition that started in 2011. The team votes on the player who “truly embodies the values and character of the Northwestern football family.” Previous recipients include Tyler Lancaster (2017), Anthony Walker (2016) and Max Chapman (2015).

Hanaoka, a running back from Honolulu, Hawaii, began his Northwestern career as the video intern for the team. We profiled his journey to the roster in August 2016 and there’s no doubt that Hanaoka fully deserves this accolade for the work he’s put in on and off the field. Pat Fitzgerald talked about his impact on the team for our feature:

“He’s a guy that has filled a million roles behind the scene,” head coach Pat Fitzgerald says. “It’s not Chad the ballcarrier, it’s Justin Jackson the ballcarrier. But at practices, it’s Chad the ballcarrier, because he’s in there taking scout team reps. He’s doing his thing. Unbelievable guy. Unbelievable.”

Hanaoka is certainly a busy guy: he studies biological sciences, leads NU’s Wishmakers organization, and plays Big Ten football. He’s also the Vice President of Northwestern’s Uplfiting Athletes Chapter.