Counting Down the Big 12's Top Players

One-by-one, we count down the Big 12's top players. Kansas center Jeremiah Hatch comes in at No. 31.

31) Jeremiah Hatch, senior OL, Kansas

Some people will look at last season's results and address this selection with a giant "huh?". But last season shouldn't be used a a definitive answer for the question: just how good is Jeremiah Hatch?

Hatch was considered an excellent catch for the Jayhawks after his time at Dallas Carter, and he showed up quickly after arriving at Kansas, starting 12 of 13 games at tackle as a redshirt freshman. That included nine starts at the tough left tackle position, which can't be oversold. He's listed at 6-foot-3, but is probably closer to 6-2. And yet he started at the most difficult position on the offensive line, a position that he hadn't played before that season.

In doing so, he brought stability to a struggling Kansas offensive line and helped the Jayhawks to eight wins, including a victory in the Insight Bowl.

In 2009, he moved back to his more natural center position, starting all 12 games and showing a level of mobility that's rare for a 315-pound player.

Then, 2010 happened. A poor conditioning session led to his weight ballooning above 330 pounds, and at times up to 340. Not surprisingly, back problems came with the added weight, and Hatch was a shadow of his former self. The same mobility that made him a special player and potential All-Big 12 selection was gone.

The good news for Kansas fans is that Hatch showed up in the spring in the shape of his life. His weight was back down to 307, even less than what he weighed in strong 2008 and 2009 campaigns. And he appeared to regain that mobility and talent that was lost.

Not surprisingly, Hatch was named to the Rimington Award Watch List. And if this past spring was any indication, he should be on All-Big 12 watch lists for this fall as well.

2010 Stats: None

No. 32: Texas Tech OL Lonnie Edwards

No. 33: Missouri DE Jacquies Smith

No. 34: Oklahoma WR Kenny Stills

No. 35: Texas WR Mike Davis

No. 36: Texas DE Jackson Jeffcoat

No. 37: Kansas State DB David Garrett

No. 38: Oklahoma OL Gabe Ikard

No. 39: Texas Tech RB Eric Stephens

No. 40: Baylor OL Philip Blake

No. 41: Missouri LB Zaviar Gooden

No. 42: Texas DL Alex Okafor

No. 43: Texas A&M DL Tony Jerod-Eddie

No. 44: Kansas RB James Sims

No. 45: Texas Tech S Cody Davis

No. 46: Iowa State CB Leonard Johnson

No. 47: Kansas State S Ty Zimmerman

No. 48: Baylor DE/LB Tevin Elliot

No. 49: Kansas State DE Brandon Harold

No. 50: Kansas DE Toben Opurum

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