Once the Tigers got 2012 DE Rickey Hatley 6'4" 245 4.9 Atlanta (TX) on campus for his official visit in early December, it didn't take long for the promising defensive line prospect to decide that he wanted to come to Missouri. Hatley committed to the Tigers almost immediately.
"It's a big relief (to be signed to Missouri)," Hatley said on signing day. "It's great to be a (Missouri) Tiger! Part of the Tiger family."
Hatley is an under-the-radar, multi-sport athlete who has the athleticism, size, and frame to develop into a quality strong-side defensive end, or a three-technique on the inside.
Hatley played his final year at Atlanta for Head Coach Matt McClure, and was named First-Team All-District and First-Team All-Area, as well as Second-Team All-State, according to the AP. The Texas Sports Writers Association named him First-Team All-State. He played football and basketball, and was a district champion in the shot and the discus for Atlanta's track team.
Hatley plans to major in physical therapy at Missouri. His parents are Rickey and Latisha Hatley.
"This is the second kid that I've sent to Missouri," said Coach McClure, who also coached Thompson Omboga in high school, as he began to talk about Hatley signing with Missouri. "I think Missouri is getting a guy with tremendous potential. I think he has a chance to get really big and strong in their strength and conditioning program, and be even more athletic…………………………………….. His work ethic is one of the best I've been around. He's a kid who was really overlooked."
Coach McCluer said that he thinks Hatley, who he described as "skinny" at 245 pounds, will get a lot bigger, and could very well grow into a defensive tackle. Coach McClure said that at present, Hatley is better at stopping the run.
"I feel like he's a better run-stopper," said Coach McClure. "But, I think he has the potential to be really explosive off of the ball as a pass-rusher. I think he'll really work hard enough to get that done."
Missouri defensive line coach, Craig Kuligowski, talked about Rickey Hatley.
"Rickey (Hatley) is a guy that really kind of came on his senior year," said Coach Kuligowski. "We really liked his video. He's a very good player. He plays basketball, and is a very good basketball player, as well. He's a physical kid. He's got good speed. You can see that he's a hard-nosed football player. We felt like he's the kind of guy who is really going to fit in our defense, and is really going to match up well with the offenses that we're going to see next year and in the coming years."
I asked Coach Kuligowski if he thinks that Hatley will remain at defensive end?
"I do think he'll stay at defensive end, most likely," replied Coach Kuligowski. "Who knows, when they get here, and Coach Ivey gets ahold of him? You never know. But we project him as a defensive end right now."
JP ‘s Take: "Rickey looks like a real find for the Tigers. Similar to what they have done in the past with prospects who may have been a little overlooked. He seems to explode off the line and uses his speed,quickness and athleticism to make plays. He is a physical defensive lineman with a great motor, who sheds blocks and has great vision of how a play is unfolding, which allows him to seemingly always be around the ball. I know he will start off at DE, but I like the thought of him moving inside in a year or so after being in the S&C program. I could see him developing into that role the way Ziggy Hood did after arriving at Missouri."