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story.lead_photo.caption Pulaski Academy football coach Kevin Kelley and quarteback Layne Hatcher celebrate their 5A High School Football State Championship against McClellan.

Recent Pulaski Academy graduate Layne Hatcher was set to attend Arkansas State University, but that changed Friday when the quarterback received a scholarship offer from Alabama.

Hatcher was to report next month to Jonesboro as a blueshirt after originally being offered a preferred walk-on spot with the Crimson Tide. A blueshirt is when an athlete takes part in summer activities with a school and is put on scholarship in the fall or second semester.

He will now report to Tuscaloosa today and start classes Tuesday.

"It was a surprise for sure," Hatcher said. "I'm super excited about it. I'm excited to get down there and be a part of the culture and the tradition they have there and really be under true excellence with the coaches and the players around me."

Hatcher, 6-1, 203 pounds, becomes the fourth scholarship quarterback for this year's national champions along with Tua Tagovailoa, Jalen Hurts, and Mac Jones. He talked to Coach Nick Saban and quarterbacks coach Dan Enos, a former University of Arkansas, Fayetteville assistant, on Friday and was told about the offer.

"For awhile, they wanted me to come down as a preferred walk-on, and after that didn't work out, today I got to talk to Coach Enos and Coach Saban and they informed me about what's going to happen," he said

Hatcher also was a four-time state champion wrestler in three different weight divisions while also being the state's all-time leader in victories. One of the nation's top programs, Oklahoma State, offered Hatcher a scholarship.

He passed for a state-record 15,483 yards and 185 touchdowns in 4 seasons at Pulaski Academy, the last 3 as a starter.

As a senior, he completed 384 of 531 passes for 5,779 yards with 66 touchdowns and 11 interceptions and led the Bruins to their fourth consecutive Class 5A state championship. He was named the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette All-Arkansas Preps Offensive Player of the Year.

Hatcher, who was 41-1 as the starting quarterback for the Bruins, said Friday was a whirlwind.

"It's crazy. I was thinking I was going to Arkansas State a month from now to packing my bags and going down tomorrow to Alabama," Hatcher said.

He embraces the opportunity to play for a program that has won five national championships since 2009.

"It's world-class place, and I'm super excited just because you get to surround yourself around greatness, you're going to be great," he said. "So I'm excited to be around those guys and learn from them and see what I can do."

Sports on 05/26/2018

Print Headline: Hatcher forsakes ASU for Alabama

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