Thursday, September 22, 2011
Jason Hatcher tops loaded Trinity squad
By Dave Hooker
Jason Hatcher knows college coaches are watching. He can sense them in the stands each Friday night.
Alabama, Arkansas and California have already traveled to see him play at Trinity High School in Louisville, Ky., and Hatcher knows exactly what they're looking for.
In self-assessing himself from last season, Hatcher knew where he needed to improve.
"One of the things I really needed to improve on from last year is going (hard) every play and keeping my motor going on every play," the 6-foot-2, 240-pound defensive end said.
Hatcher said working on conditioning in the offseason has helped him to be consistently aggressive. He said he's also worked on adding more pass-rush moves to his game.
When asked what his best move was, Hatcher joked, "It really just depends on the offensive lineman ... As far as my best move, all my moves are successful."
Hatcher said he's worked hard at studying opposing linemen and, particularly, their feet going into a game. In fact, the junior may know more about his current opposition than his college future.
Hatcher said he has "about 10 to 12 offers" but he's unsure of an exact number. Alabama, Arkansas, Cincinnati, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisville and Oklahoma are some of the schools to offer official invites.
Hatcher has been on the recruiting scene for longer than most juniors, having received scholarship offers from Kentucky and Louisville when he was just a freshman. For some, the attention might be overwhelming at such a young age.
Not in this case.
"Oh no, I love it," he said.
Despite growing up in the SEC's backyard, Hatcher doesn't seem tied to any school or conference. He visited Oklahoma this summer, went to Ohio State in May and has been to Kentucky and Louisville.
All kinds of defensive schemes have come calling, and that's fine with him. The athletic high school defensive end said he's willing to play that same position in a 4-3 in college or be a stand-up linebacker in a 3-4. As for college football requirements, Hatcher has one: he wants to play early.
Academics are another matter. Without a doubt, Hatcher knows what degree he wants to pursue.
"I'm looking for a school that offers my major," he said. "I want to be a veterinarian."
The love for animals has been there as long as he can remember.
"I've just always liked animals," he said. "My family has always had dogs."
The animals don't have to be furry. Scaly will do. Hatcher found a snake in the backyard and made it a pet until his mother disapproved.
"She made me put it back in the wild," he said sadly.
More than one at Trinity
Hatcher isn't the only sure-fire college prospect at Trinity in the 2013 class.
The appropriately-named receiver James Quick has several scholarship offers. The 6-1, 180-pounder has invites from Alabama, Arkansas, Illinois, Kentucky, Oklahoma and Louisville. So far, Quick is taking things slowly.
"It's a good experience but I really don't look that much into it because I'm trying to focus on my season," said Quick, who has scored nine touchdowns this season.
As for his prowess on the football field, Quick said, "I think my strength is getting open in space more than anything."
It's natural to wonder if Hatcher and Quick could pick the same school. They both have similar scholarship offers and are very close friends.
"We're like brothers," Quick said. "We grew up together. ... If we have a chance to (go to the same school), we might."
The stars, however, would clearly have to align for that to happen. While Hatcher wants a top-notch veterinarian program and early playing time, Quick wants, "A team that's going to spread out the field and get the ball to the receivers a lot."
As for other 2013 prospects at Trinity, defensive back Ryan White, athlete Dalyn Dawkins and quarterback Ryan White could also pick up some interest with strong junior campaigns.
It will be interesting to see what effect that senior offensive lineman Joey Warburg has on upcoming prospects at Trinity. The 6-5, 255-pounder committed to Illinois in February.
Golden impression for Goldman
Eddie Goldman's father, Eddie Muhammad, couldn't say enough about his family's trip to Florida State last weekend for the Oklahoma game.
"It was a mind-blowing experience, a once-in-a-lifetime experience," Muhammad said. "It's hard to find an adjective to describe how electric the crowd was. It was just deafening in there."
Goldman, a 6-4, 310-pound defensive tackle from Washington (D.C.) Friendship, continues to keep a low profile that belies his recruiting status, i.e. five-stars and second-best overall prospect in the nation.
Still, there is plenty of talk about Goldman in the nation's capitol. Much of which centers around the Seminoles. Many believe Florida State may have become the team to beat for Goldman, especially after securing his first official visit and produced a fantastic trip.
Muhammad maintained that's not the case.
"Nobody is the front runner at this point, but it was just a good visit," said Muhammad, who said his family is still equally considering his son's six other finalists: Auburn, Alabama, California, Maryland, Clemson and Miami.
Muhammad said there are no other official visits scheduled at this point, but that they should be coming very soon.
"We're trying to get them done in (Goldman's senior) season but time may not permit," Muhammad said.
Whether Florida State is the leader or not, the Seminoles should feel good about their standing. In addition to the game atmosphere, Muhammad said he was blown away by fans chanting his son's name and "FSU wants you". The family was also happy with the time spent with coach Jimbo Fisher and defensive line coach Odell Haggins.
"Really down to Earth guy, was a more than gracious host for me and my family. Coach Haggins is just real good people. He reminds me of family," Muhammad said.
Through three games this season, Goldman has four sacks, eight tackles, two pass deflections and a blocked field goal. Not bad for a player who mostly plays nose guard and regularly gets double and triple teamed.
Quinshad doesn't quibble
There's no questioning Quinshad Davis' confidence in his overall ability at wide receiver.
"I bring a lot," the three-star receiver from Gaffney (S.C.) said recently. "I feel like I can bring whatever the team needs. On a go route, I get deep. On a little comeback route, I'll get the first down. I'll do whatever my team needs."
Davis has five scholarship offers -- Clemson, South Carolina, North Carolina State, Wake Forest and Illinois -- but he hasn't been focused on recruiting since his senior season began so he can concentrate on a championship for Gaffney.
"Everybody is the same right now," Davis said of his prospective colleges. "I'm trying to see if I can get a couple of more offers then I'm going to start breaking it down."
Davis not only has confidence in himself; he has confidence in his team. When will he announce his college decision?
"I'll probably do it after the championship game," he said.
Dave Hooker covers Southeast and Atlantic Coast recruiting. He has covered recruiting and college football for more than a decade. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.