- Name: Josh Hatcher
- Classification: 2017
- Position: Outfield
- Ht: Wt: 6-foot-2, 180
- Bats-Throws: L/L
- High School: Lee County High School, Albany, GA
- Travel Team: Chain National
- Schools of Interest: Committed to Mississippi State
Chain feels like Mississippi State is getting an outstanding hitter.
"In my opinion he is the best hitter in Georgia," said Chain. "Josh played for me last year when we won the (World Wood Bat Association) national championship and wound up ranked 3rd in the nation. We had Josh, Cole Brannen and DL Hall, both of whom will probably be 1st round draft picks, and Josh hit in the middle of that lineup."
Chain saw Hatcher become the special hitter he is today at the beginning of his high school season.
"Josh had always had a great swing but he hadn't developed that strength yet," said Chain. "What happened was we went out to watch him in our workout in the spring of his high school season. In our first workout with him, the first swing he took he hit it over the scoreboard. Then, with his next five swings, well they were different, just different. He had figured it out."
Hatcher is not just a great hitter but the complete package, according to Chain.
"He runs a 6.7 (seconds sixty) and throws 92 (miles per hour) from right field," said Chain. "He could have played center field for us but we had a great centerfielder already, so he played right field for us."
College took noticed of the talented hitter. And he made a very quick decision to commit, a decision he later changed.
"Josh has always wanted to be an SEC, ACC player, but Kennesaw State saw him early and he committed to them," said Chain. "Then, when he realized the player he had become he started thinking he may be able to be an ACC, SEC player. Also, Simmons, the coach who recruited him while at Kennesaw, left there and went to Alabama. When that happened it was kind of the writing on the wall. He decided at that point he was going to open his recruitment back up. That was about two weeks ago."
Hatcher learned within a couple of hours after posting on twitter that he had decommitted that he had made the correct decision.
"After he put that on twitter, within an hour and a half there were seven ACC and SEC schools that had called me," said Chain. "I received calls about him from South Carolina, Clemson, Alabama, Florida State, Auburn, Georgia Tech, Mississippi State and Georgia Southern."
One college coach stood out among the rest.
"I received texts and phone calls from coaches from all over the country (about Josh)," said Chain. "(Mississippi State assistant coach) Will Coggin really expressed a true interest in Josh. I give Will credit, he took the time to do the extras that I feel like you have to do to get the top notch guys to come play for you. And when Josh visited Mississippi State I believe he felt that. They had a tremendous interest in him, not just as a player but on a personal level as well. I give credit to both Will and (Mississippi State head coach) John (Cohen) in taking the time and making the effort to reach out and find out what kind of kid Josh is. They really impressed me in how they went about their business."
Despite that effort, Mississippi State still had to contend with Hatcher's childhood favorite, Florida State.
"He grew up a Florida State fan and he kind of said to himself if Florida State is interested, then that is where I want to go," said Chain. "I told him he should go to some other places just to be sure. He went to Mississippi State on his first visit and just loved it. He texted me while he was there and said that he really liked it there."
Hatcher had planned on visiting several other schools but wound up only visiting Mississippi State and Florida State before committing to Mississippi State.
"After Mississippi State he was going to visit Alabama then finished up at Florida State, then he was going to make his decision,"said Chain. "The head coach at Alabama wasn't going to be there when Josh was to go so they were trying to make other arrangements. But once he left Mississippi State I think he had made his mind up. He texted me a few times but I told him he still needed to go see a few other schools before he committed. I try to be honest not only with the coaches who are recruiting these kids but the kids themselves. Sometimes a 16 or l7-year-old kid goes to a place and loves it and it may be the first place he visited. That is why I tell them they should see a few other places. And once he visited Florida State, the first place he really wanted to play, he realized there was nowhere else he needed to go. He visited Florida State yesterday afternoon and said he really liked it but he said he liked Mississippi State a little more."
Gene Swindoll is the publisher of the GenesPage.com website, the source for Mississippi State sports on Scout.com sports network.