Alabama backup quarterback Layne Hatcher will transfer to Arkansas State.
Hatcher is an Arkansas native who led Pulaski Academy to four-straight Class 5A state titles, in addition to winning four wrestling state titles. He originally committed to Arkansas State before accepting a late scholarship offer to Alabama.
However, Hatcher never used the scholarship – he was a blue shirt freshman -- never took an official visit to Alabama and never signed a National Letter of Intent to Alabama. Due to this, he will have immediate eligibility at Arkansas State when he walks on campus in May.
Hatcher has spent the past year in a backup role in Nick Saban's offense and will be able to help improve the Arkansas State quarterback room once he gets on campus.
According to Hatcher's father, he is planning on getting to campus in May to attend summer school classes while learning the Arkansas State playbook and working out with other Red Wolf football players.
Unless Arkansas State pursues and is granted a waiver, Hatcher will have to sit out the 2019 football season due to NCAA transfer rules.
Hatcher said that changes on the coaching staff and new decisions being made at Alabama led him to his decision to transfer.
“It was one of those things where you get a new staff, things change, and you see a change might need to come,” Hatcher said. “That is all there was to it, really.”
Hatcher said that Alabama offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian was helpful to him during the process.
“I spoke with Sarkisian the most about it. That is kind of the way that they do it here,” Hatcher said. “A lot of stuff you do is through your position coach and coordinator, then it will go higher up if it needs to. He was great and real supportive. He told me about his story, about when he had to transfer in college, and he just offered any advice that he could and answered any questions that I had. It really helped me out, and it was really great throughout the entire process.”
Hatcher knew that Arkansas State is where he wanted to go, but that didn’t stop other schools from reaching out to him once his name entered the transfer portal.
“There were about six or seven once I hit the portal that called me and texted me,” Hatcher said. “That was cool to see, but I knew right away that I wanted to go to Arkansas State just because when I left in the first place, Coach Anderson was great about it and told me I could always come back home. That was a big thing for me, so I was thinking Arkansas State all along.”
The relationship with ASU head coach Blake Anderson was huge for Hatcher during the process, especially when it came to Anderson keeping his word in regards to Hatcher being able to come back.
“A lot of people would say that, but not everyone would keep their word,” Hatcher said. “I am so thankful for that. Coach Anderson was so welcoming when we spoke. He just got right to the point and said they would love to have me, and that was about it. I just can’t thank him enough for how great he has been with allowing me to come back when he obviously didn’t have to do that. I am very grateful that he let me come back.”
Hatcher is planning on being on campus this summer and is hoping to be in Jonesboro sometime in May.
“As soon as I can get up there, I want to,” Hatcher said. “I just want to build relationships with the guys and find a way to help any way that I can. I know expectations will be for me to do the best that I can, so I just want to find any way to help that I can.”
Hatcher said that it was a big relief to commit to coming to Arkansas State and to get the transfer process over with.
“It was pretty stressful the past few weeks when I figured out that I was going to transfer,” Hatcher said. “You never know how people back home are going to react. You always have your friends and family who are always great and supportive. The biggest thing for me was my family, and they were so receiving of me coming back and just so supportive. Once I knew that, I was ready to roll.”