I official de-committed from USC #WideOpen
— Jason A. Hatcher II (@ROCK_NATION_6) January 23, 2013
Call it the tweet that shook the Bluegrass. Although speculated for a while, Louisville Trinity DE Jason Hatcher made it official. He is decommitting from USC and apparently is down to two schools: Kentucky and Louisville. You have to think that the whole Clint Hurtt scenario may benefit Kentucky as Hatcher may not even know who he defensive line coach will be at Louisville if Hurtt is let go. It’s just two weeks until National Signing Day, so the timing of the Hurtt situation could not be worse.
Hurtt is rated as the 7th best weakside defensive end in the country and the third best player in the Commonwealth. The fact that Kentucky can pull a player from USC speaks volumes about the Stoops effect at Kentucky as this scenario would have been unheard of a few years ago.
Hatcher is definitely one of the top storylines over the next two weeks for Mark Stoops and company. The other is fellow in-stater Ryan Timmons. Much has been made of the fact that former Kentucky head coach Joker Phillips is recruiting Timmons and some UK fans are calling him a “Traitor”. Honestly, I don’t get that as Joker was fired by Kentucky and well, the man needs to eat. Mark Story made the “Joker debate” part of a “fact or fiction” column, but I found one of the other items a bit more interesting and that was whether in state players should be obligated to stay in the Commonwealth:
Item two: A recruit from Kentucky (like a Ryan Timmons) should feel an obligation to in-state schools.
One of my least favorite parts of the Internet age in college sports is the teeing off on high school kids that always occurs when a player picks a school other than the “hometown favorite.”
Louisville fans were brutal toward former Central star Tim Patterson when he signed with UK over U of L in 2010. In 2011, Kentucky backers unloaded on Boyle County’s Lamar Dawson when he chose Southern Cal over UK.
There are many advantages to staying instate to play college sports. Included are playing where you are already well known, being where your family can most easily see you play and, when applicable, having a chance to build a reputation where you might wish to live and do business after college.
However, picking a college is a personal decision. For an athlete, who only gets one shot, four years, to play college sports, it is especially so.
The ultimate obligation for athletes is to do what they perceive to be best for them. They don’t have anyone else they need to answer to.