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Southwest Orange Wednesday, May 6, 2020 3 months ago

Ledger Hatch lands eight Ivy League offers

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With his most recent offer from Cornell University, Dr. Phillips High School’s Ledger Hatch now has offers from all eight Ivy League schools.
by: Troy Herring Sports Editor

When Ledger Hatch awoke Thursday, April 16, he had seven offers from Ivy League schools to play football.

It had been a couple of months since the Dr. Phillips High junior received his last offer, and the only school he had yet to hear from was Cornell University.

For most, getting the chance to pick from seven of the eight schools would be a huge accomplishment. For Hatch and his family, the hope was to complete the offer list. 

After months of waiting, Hatch received a phone call that day, and by the time it ended, he had an offer to play football at Cornell. He now had his pick of any of the Ivy League schools.

“It was definitely a crazy feeling,” Hatch said. “When they finally did, it was a surreal feeling knowing for the rest of my life that I would be able to pass on a legacy or tell stories about how I could take my pick between any Ivy League school, which is something that a very, very small percentage of people are able to say.”

Talent runs through the Hatch family in spades. Ledger Hatch’s sister, Ellexis, is a student at the prestigious The Juilliard School.

Parents Greg and Gina Hatch said it has been rewarding to see their children’s achieve their dreams.

“The biggest thing is to know that your kids are achieving their dreams, and with him, football has been such a great (thing) — he loves it and he is very passionate about the sport,” Gina Hatch said. “To see something like that come was fulfilling.”

 

NO CHANCE

The first football game Ledger Hatch remembers watching was Super Bowl XLII between the New England Patriots and New York Giants. He was 6 years old.

During the Giants’ game-winning drive, wide receiver David Tyree made the now-famous “Helmet Catch.” It was that play that triggered Ledger Hatch’s lifelong goal of playing football.

“Ever since then, I have kind of idolized the receiver position and all the glory that comes with it,” Ledger Hatch said. “I always wanted to be a receiver since a young age.”

“When they finally did, it was a surreal feeling knowing for the rest of my life that I would be able to pass on a legacy or tell stories about how I could take my pick between any Ivy League school, which is something that a very, very small percentage of people are able to say.”

— Ledger Hatch

Ledger Hatch played a version of football at the YMCA before playing some in middle school. Then, he arrived at Dr. Phillips High. 

“When I came to DP, it was really the coaching that set me apart and allowed me to do the things that I was able to do since freshman year,” Ledger Hatch said. “Growing up, we’ve had great receiving coaches — Trevor Anderson, Kenny Shaw and Jason Jackson.”

In the spring of his sophomore year, Ledger Hatch decided to upload a short highlight reel featuring a few of the catches he made the previous season. That drew the eyes of the first Ivy League school.

“(Rodney) Wells called me out of class and had me talk with the Harvard coach — whom I now know really well — and I remember going back to class like, ‘There is no chance that I would ever have the grades or anything like that for that to even become close to a possibility,’” Ledger Hatch said. “Now, it’s a very real possibility.”

 

A SNOWBALL EFFECT

As Ledger Hatch worked his way through his sophomore and junior years, he began to gain more traction with schools on the recruiting trail. But it wasn’t until last December before he received his first Ivy League offer.

In mid-December — during Ledger Hatch’s birthday week — the Hatch family went to New York City to see Ellexis Hatch perform. Then, the unexpected happened.

Greg Hatch and Ledger Hatch met with a couple of coaches from the Columbia University football staff and went to check out facilities.

“It wasn’t long during our visit before the offensive coordinator and wide receiver coach came in and they said, ‘You have about 10 minutes of highlights on your film, and we had to watch the first three plays before we knew that we wanted you here,’” Greg Hatch said. 

The coaches turned the visit from unofficial to official and offered Ledger Hatch before he left. 

The offers didn’t stop there. Three months later, Ledger Hatch and Greg Hatch flew to Newark, New Jersey, to start an Ivy League marathon. The two explored Princeton, Brown and Harvard in three days.

“Every single campus I visited was just absolutely stunning,” Ledger Hatch said. “There are buildings that I thought were castles, and they’re just like the freshman dorms, which is just crazy.”

After walking away with offers, Ledger Hatch was excited to get out for more visits, but then the coronavirus hit and shut everything down. He does still get to speak with coaches and check out schools online, however.

The biggest thing, at the end of the day, is that he gets the opportunity to go to the school that most fits him.

“Those schools that I have not been on campus are great schools, and I still want to find the best place for me,” Ledger Hatch said. “Luckily, (with) the whole virtual tours and talking to people on Zoom, it really allows me to simulate and get a real feel what it would be like going to any specific school. I’m just excited to play football and get the best education I can.”

Troy Herring is the sports editor at the West Orange Times and Windermere Observer. He is a graduate of the University of Mount Olive (BS '12) and the University of Alabama (MA '16)....

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