Champion sumo wrestler shifts to American football, joins Colorado State Rams

Champion sumo wrestler shifts to American football, joins Colorado State RamsChampion sumo wrestler shifts to American football, joins Colorado State Rams
via underarmourjapan
Ryan General
July 21, 2023
A former sumo champion from Japan is set to join the Colorado State Rams. 
The details: Hidetora Hanada, a 21-year-old athlete from Nippon Sport Science University, announced during a press conference in Tokyo on Tuesday that he will be playing for the NCAA Division I team.
Hanada was an amateur yokozuna, the highest rank in sumo. He was also notably an all-world sumo wrestler, having won the all-Japan title in 2020 and gold in the 2022 World Games open-weight division.
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Major shift: The 6-foot-1-inch athlete first played American football in March 2022. He quickly immersed himself in the sport after participating in an X League open tryout, and his dedication and swift progress soon earned him a spot on the Japan national team roster. 

Hanada participated in Canadian Football League (CFL) tryouts in Canada in March, where he caught the attention of recruiters with his extraordinary flexibility and impressive 40-yard dash time of 5.23 seconds.
This rare combination of size and agility made him a standout prospect for several college programs, including Ohio and Texas, before he ultimately committed to Colorado State.
“I feel very lucky to be able to join the Colorado State team,” Hanada told the press. “It coincidentally came a week after I was in a situation wondering where I would go next. The opportunity came about because I was able to participate in the CFL combine.”

Ready for action: Colorado State recently confirmed the news and shared that Hanada will be joining the Rams’ defensive line group as a junior with two seasons of eligibility.
Hanada is expected to see action when the Rams open the 2023 season on their home turf on Sept. 2 against Washington State.
The athlete shared that he admires Los Angeles Rams defensive lineman Aaron Donald and intends on pursuing a career in the NFL once he turns 25 years old.
“I’m aware that I’ll have to give it my all to succeed,” he was quoted as saying. “I’m more excited than nervous about the fact that I’ll have to learn how to survive and continue to aim for the NFL in a football program where I’ll be the only Japanese player, and surrounded by those speaking a different language.”

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