Hatton Sets Visits, Nears Decision

Montvale (N.J.) St. Joseph's Regional offensive lineman Tommy Hatton has visits set to three ACC schools and an SEC school next month.

A few of the offers Hatton coveted came through in the last few weeks, capped by Virginia Tech offering Thursday.

Prior to that, South Carolina and North Carolina offered Hatton, who also has Maryland high on his list.

"I'm interested in all four of them," Hatton said. "My top four or five are those (schools) and Boston College. Those are my top schools."

The 6-foot-2 ½, 285-pound Hatton said his decision should come by mid July, although a late June commitment is possible since he will make a quartet of visits.

Hatton is camping at Maryland on June 1 so he can work with offensive line coach Greg Studrawa. He will then make a swing to South Carolina (June 19), North Carolina (June 21) and Virginia Tech (June 22 or Jun 23) before heading home to think about his decision.

"One might be standing out a little bit, but not a runaway at all," he said. "I'm still evaluating all my schools. I'm going to take my visits, do some overnights, and that is really how I'm going to know if that place is my home or not. I'm going to see what each school has to offer. I'm looking forward to it."

The trip to Maryland will be his fifth.

"I'm going to do that to get coached up by coach Stud a little a bit," Hatton said. "I'll hang out with the players and the coaches a little bit."

When it comes to his swing through the Carolinas and Virginia Tech, Hatton is looking to build upon existing relationships, and also learn more about the programs since his knowledge in them is not as in-depth as with the Terps.

"I was excited (about the UNC offer)," Hatton said. "It was a big-time offer for me. UNC, last year's season was ok, but they're bringing in top notch guys, and they're getting better. Their coaching staff is a really exciting coaching staff. They want to win games."

Like UNC, Hatton already visited South Carolina and wants to see the program in a deeper way.

"The thing about South Carolina, I always feel like the coaches are asking me about my family, and they're only about football," Hatton said. "(Offensive line) coach (Shawn) Elliot and I, we talk football all the time and talk schemes, and he's just a really good reliable dude."

Of the schools Hatton is still considering, he has the most to learn about Virginia Tech.

"I'm just going to do my homework on Virginia Tech," Hatton said. "Their (offensive line) coach, Stacy Searels, is a great coach. He's been all over the SEC. He was at Texas. Now, he's at Virginia Tech. He coached Rimington Trophy winners (top center in college football). He said he produced 22 offensive linemen for the NFL. His background speaks for itself."

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