Hamlett, says line coach Malik Roberson, is not the most talented guy you'll see at defensive end in the Pac-10. But he works at it. And he's been making plays this spring and has impressed with his work ethic.
"It's just been real consistent -- he's a real tough kid, a real intelligent kid, which allows him to be really consistent," said Roberson. "He is limited as far as Pac-10 talent is concerned, but he can make up for it with his smartness and his toughness."
To put his emergence in the proper context, it should be pointed out that Hamlett has benefited from the numbers game this spring at defensive end and on the defensive line.
Kevin Kooyman, a projected starter, only just recently returned to action from injury. Jesse Feagin, listed as the No. 1 rightside en, has instead been getting more work on the interior of the line.
That's resulted in giving Hamlett plenty of turns with the starting unit. And he's been making the most of them.
The defensive line has been more physical this spring, though it must be said that doesn't necessarily mean they've shown themselves to be markedly better -- the defensive tackles for the most part are undersized and that's hurt at times, particularly in run defense.
On the inside, Bernard Wolfgramm, an expected starter at d-tackle, and Jesse Sanchez have both missed the spring as they work their way back from injuries. Josh Luapo is still working himself into every down shape. Toby Turpin recently getting dinged up didn't help matters either.
But as a group, the players who have been out there on the d-line, they have been more physical this spring, and Hamlett and fellow defensive end Cory Mackay are good examples of that -- both have done a nice job in getting their hands on their offensive counterpart.
Mackay, as has been oft-mentioned in previous CF.C articles and blogs, has the potential to be something special over the course of his career. He's very physical, but he also brings with him more speed to that position that has been seen in recent years on the Cougs.
But if Washington State can also get a significant contribution and solid play from Hamlett, however, that would be just as big a story for this coming season.
And Hamlett doesn't have to start to do that.
Wazzu, like most schools, have generally fielded their best defensive lines when they have a capable group that can be used in rotation. If depth is such that four guys take nearly all the snaps, they're not going to be as fresh in the latter half of the game, and the season.
If Kooyman and Mackay should get the starting nods before Stanford comes to Pullman for the opener, but Hamlett still gets significant reps and is productive doing it, it will go a long ways to shoring up the Cougar D at the point of attack.
So far this spring, in trying to make that a reality, he's been a pleasant surprise.
Adam Coerper, a redshirt freshman defensive end, has been getting most of his work with the twos and has turned in some plays there. He still needs seasoning and hasn't stood out as much as Hamlett, but he is progressing.