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
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