MACOMB, Mich. - Corey Malone-Hatcher will get another look at a trio of Midwest programs this week.
Michigan will host the junior defensive end from St. Joseph, Mich., on Tuesday for camp. Michigan State will do so Thursday. Notre Dame gets Malone-Hatcher on Friday for the Irish Invasion, its biggest event of the summer.
Malone-Hatcher reconnected with the Irish staff last week at the Sound Mind, Sound Body Football Academy in suburban Detroit. He’ll do so again at the Invasion, where defensive line coach and area recruiter Keith Gilmore will take center stage.
“Definitely you have people flying in and driving in from all over the nation,” Malone-Hatcher said. “They said they’ve got a few kids from California coming in. I’m just really excited to be around the presence of such high level athletes. It’s always different when you’re around guys that ask you for advice. The fact that I get to ask people who are in my position, I can ask them for advice and how they weed through the process is real cool.
“I anticipate being able to enjoy that part but also get to spend more time with coach Gilmore and further that relationship. He’s been awesome. He came by the school I think twice. We talk on the phone a lot and he’s been putting a lot of work in on my recruitment. It’s been really evident.”
Gilmore has been forging a relationship with the 6-foot-3, 225-pound prospect by talking about things off the field.
“He’s just down to Earth,” Malone-Hatcher said. “He’s one of the coolest guys that I’ve ever met on the recruiting trail. He doesn’t talk about football a lot is what I notice. He’ll ask about my family a lot, which if you’ve seen me anywhere out in public at a football event I’m always with my family. We’re really tight knit. I feel like they have that same vibe going on at Notre Dame. They have that tight, close togetherness.”
Michigan and Michigan State will vie for Malone-Hatcher’s attention before he returns to South Bend. The new coaching staff under Jim Harbaugh has cranked up their effort to keep Malone-Hatcher from their in-state and traditional rivals.
It hasn’t gone unnoticed.
“We talk at least once or twice a week,” Malone-Hatcher said. “They definitely show a lot of love. They said I was the most important piece of the defense they’re trying to build and I was a key priority for them. They’ve been mentioning and are always bringing up committing now. It’s always a fun conversation. But overall it seems like a good vibe they’ve got going on. We’ve just gotta see how they do in the season.”
Michigan State wants Malone-Hatcher as a commitment in advance with their Class of 2016 almost done.
“I’ve been talking to a lot of the kids that are committed and the ones that didn’t get to commit. (MSU) is getting ready to wrap up their 2016 class already,” he said. “They’re pretty stacked as far as their 2016 recruiting class goes. But basically the vibe they’ve been giving off is they’re just really excited about how the team has been and the success they’ve had, which is a ton … They people they’re recruiting and that are committing are definitely excited to see where they go and where they take it with these new coaches.”
Making a commitment is something that’s come up more in conversation lately but remains in the distant future.
Malone-Hatcher has offers from Alabama, Kentucky, Louisville, Michigan, Michigan State, Mississippi State, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Penn State, Tennessee and Virginia Tech. He hopes to visit Alabama, Texas A&M and Florida State this summer as well.
It’s possible the list could shorten before the season. Otherwise the timeline isn’t likely to change.
“Not from a commitment standpoint,” Malone-Hatcher said. “I definitely wouldn’t want to move that up. I may release, if we get around to it, just to cut it down a little bit we may do a top five going into the season. But for right now we’re just enjoying the process and building up all the connections we need to make an educated decision.”