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By LARRY VAUGHT
Kentucky made another huge statement for its football program today when four-star Louisville Trinity defensive end Jason Hatcher, who originally committed Southern Cal in July, signed with the Wildcats instead. He was the 22nd member of Kentucky’s 2013 signing class.
The 6-2, 240-pound Hatcher had waffled back and forth between USC and either Louisville or Kentucky before apparently being swayed by new UK coach Mark Stoops and defensive coordinator DJ Eliot.
His mother, Donna Hatcher, confirmed to ESPN on Tuesday night that her son “really liked the UK coaches” and how “passionate” the staff was to turn the program around.
Hatcher had somewhat infuriated many UK fans when he made his original to commitment to USC over Tennessee. “I told (Tennessee’s coaching staff), ‘You lost to the University of Kentucky. You lose to UK, you lose to everybody because UK finishes last in the SEC every year,’” Hatcher told ESPN in July.
Scout.com recruiting analyst Scott Kennedy offered this evaluation of Hatcher, the eighth four-star recruit in UK’s signing class: “Either an undersized defensive end or a jumbo outside linebacker, Hatcher has the speed to play OLB and the frame to grow into an every down defensive end. He’s tremendously quick off the line and fast in pursuit. He relies on speed and quickness rather than strength, because of his size. He uses his hands well and has a variety of pass rushing moves. To be an every down end, he’ll need to get considerably bigger and stronger.”