Nate Hatter has never been one to balk at the first sight of a challenge, but next chapter in his football career is undoubtedly going to be his biggest one yet.
After playing a series of litany different positions in three years at Glenn and helping the Grizzlies win a district title and make the playoffs in their first full varsity season, the senior accepted a preferred walk-on spot at Texas earlier this month.
“There are literally the top recruits in the country playing there, and I know I have a large task ahead of me, but I’m so excited for it,” Hatter said. “I like being around people that are better than me because that’s what drives me to be a better person.”
Hatter spent this season as a tight end and was named to the District 13-5A Division II All-District first team. He was a linebacker as a sophomore and junior and played on the defensive line during his freshman year at Rouse.
Texas coaches see him as a tight end and he’s most likely going to be redshirted his freshman year. The Longhorns’ next recruiting class features four-star and three-star tight ends in addition to the five players in line to be on the roster again next season.
“I will do anything they want me to do,” Hatter said. “If they want me to line up at linebacker or a holder or something for a field goal, I’ll do what whatever.”
Hatter missed most of his junior year at Glenn with a leg injury. But he fought his way back and played in the one game at the end of the season, catching a pass in the Grizzlies’ final game before moving up to Class 5A full time.
This season, he was a reliable receiver and blocker. His biggest offensive performance came when he caught a pair of touchdowns in a win against Weiss on Oct. 4.
“If there’s a guy that’s going to make it, it’s Nate,” Glenn head coach Rob Schoenfeld said. “Throughout the whole process, he’s been very level-headed with what he wanted to do. There’s nothing by chance in what he’s been able to accomplish.”
Hatter was invited to a showcase in front of the Longhorns’ coaches in the summer and impressed them. He was invited to a few games and stayed in touch until a couple months ago when he was offered a preferred walk-on spot.
The commitment didn’t come right away, as he was weighing options from other schools, including full academic scholarships that included a spot on the football team. But it got to point where he couldn’t pass up the spot with Texas.
“There is so much honor and prestige around Texas, so even being a preferred walk-on, I’m just so excited,” Hatter said.
Even though Hatter didn’t have a traditional signing day ceremony, he’s still going to be one of the first-ever college athletes that lists Glenn as his high school. Volleyball player Sydney Carvajal signed in November as the first official signing in school history.
Even if Hatter is in a different situation, he still thinks of his high school and the tradition he helped start as a badge of honor.
“With all the things he’s got going for him, his work ethic, humility and how he is a teammate has never wavered,” Schoenfeld said. “He’s the epitome of what you want a successful high school football player to be. And he’s blessed with size and athleticism that a place like Texas would want.”
Schoenfeld when Hatter gets on the field at DKR, he's going to try and keep up with Hatter's parents as the player's biggest cheerleaders.
One of the most things Hatter was most surprised about was the massive support system. As soon as he tweeted out he had committed, people he didn’t even know were congratulating him and telling him they were happy for him.
“Coach (Schoenfeld) has always told us that hard work rewards you with the ability work again,” Hatter said. “I see that as what this is. Through my accomplishments in high school football, I’m able to go to Texas and work harder there and prove myself as an athlete there.”