For teenage girls growing up in Iowa City in the early ’90s, slumber parties at the Hansens’ were a feverishly sought invite. It wasn’t that Caryn Hansen made the best s’ mores or gave the best manicures: It had more to do with another member of the household. ” ‘Your brother is so hot,’ ” Caryn, 19, remembers her friends saying. ” ‘Can I spend the night?’ ”
At 22, Hansen, a 6’1″, 195-lb. University of Iowa defensive back, still has his female admirers, although for the past six years he has admired only one in particular, Iowa senior Danielle White, 21. “Think of every guy you know, and Ryan is the opposite,” she says. “That is the greatest compliment. He’s his own person.” A self-confessed “hopeless romantic,” Hansen is a frequent bearer of roses—pink and white, but never red. “It’s a little too conventional,” he explains. “But always a dozen. I’m not that unconventional.”
This vegetarian law student really isn’t your typical jock/sex symbol. The first child of Bryce, 55, a junior high principal, and Lynn, 51, a special-education teacher, Hansen performs as well in the classroom as he does on the field. He graduated from West High School with a 3.87—while lettering in baseball, basketball, soccer, track and field and quarterbacking the football team to a 13-0 season and state championship. Last May he graduated from the University of Iowa with a 3.69 GPA and a bachelor’s degree in business. Now he’s studying law and starting as a strong safety on the football team (his last year of eligibility).
Next, the boy who attended elementary school, high school and college within a three-mile radius of home envisions a career “where they’re sending me all over the world”—not that he would have done it any other way. “It was a great experience growing up here,” says Hansen. “People who complain there’s nothing to do here just aren’t looking.” Or maybe they’re just looking at him.