Jeremiah Hatch jumped on the Kansas football stage three years ago playing out of position as a redshirt freshman replacing All American Anthony Collins following Kansas' Orange Bowl season. The Jayhawks finished 8-5 with an Insight Bowl victory in 2008 and expectations were high as Hatch entered his third year in the program having the the opportunity to move inside and play his natural position at center during the 2009 season.
Obviously we all know how 2009 turned out. It wasn't that Hatch had a poor season individually but the season as a whole turned into a train-wreck and it was hard to draw much of anything when looking toward the future. With a coaching change Hatch struggled through the 2011 campaign battling both injury and weight issues. The junior that was expected to lead never really achieved the level of play or the standing on the team that was expected. The reality is that most of the offensive line fell short but expectations were perhaps a bit high across the board.
2011 represents one more chance for Hatch and once again expectations surrounding the Kansas offensive line and Hatch are high. Today Hatch was named to the Rimington watch list entering his senior year. The Rimington is presented to the top center in college football and Hatch is one of 43 players named to the list. The list includes three players from the Big 12 conference with Oklahoma State's Grant Garner and Baylor's Phillip Blake being the other two.
With much of the talk out of the Kansas program being very positive in regards to Hatch it's reasonable to see how Hatch could make a play as the top center in the conference. A lot will depend on the success of the unit as a whole and the productivity of the Kansas offense, but most believe Hatch is in the best shape of his career and understands the urgency involved in his final season both from a team and individual perspective. That has been reflected in a more serious approach to his offseason training and a more vocal approach as a leader for the Jayhawks. If Hatch can put together a year warranting Big 12 All Conference honors, he'll depart having fulfilled a lot of the potential that has been pointed to when discussing Hatch over the past five years.