Football recruiting: Hatfield to Utah after all

Barry Faulkner

NEWPORT BEACH - Faced with the prospect of one more year on the

sideline, Corona del Mar High product Mark Hatfield has decided to return

to the University of Utah football program he left after four practices

last fall.

Hatfield, the Newport-Mesa District Defensive Player of the Year and an

All-CIF Southern Section performer in his senior season of 1998, will

complete his second semester at Golden West College this spring. He will

then leave for Salt Lake City in June and live there during the summer,

preparing to earn playing time at middle linebacker as a redshirt

freshman for the Mountain West Conference Utes.

"I just want to play," said Hatfield, an assistant coach on the CdM

freshmen football team last fall, after electing not to play at the

community college level.

"I didn't want to fight through the JC system, so I started talking to

the coaches at Utah and they agreed to let me come back."

Hatfield cited non-football-related issues, most notably the different

lifestyle in Utah, as his reason for initially abandoning his full


He said transferring to another four-year university would have cost him

another season, a scenario he was not willing to endure.

"I lost my redshirt season, but I'm excited about playing again. Coaching

was fun, but I want to get back on the field."

Hatfield, a three-year all-district and All-Sea View League middle

linebacker, who was also an All-CIF catcher on the Sea Kings' 1999

section champion baseball team, said he has worked hard in the weight

room. He is now 6-foot-1, 240 pounds, 25 pounds heavier than his weight

at CdM.

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