Former Perry LB Case Hatch Goes From Mission to ASU Walk-On

At Perry High School football games, there are consistent sounds throughout the game: the school band, the crowd cheering and from the years of 2013-15, Case Hatch’s name being called many times on the PA system.

“I’ve never coached anybody like him ever,” Perry head coach Preston Jones said of Hatch. “I just say he was born and bred a football player.”

The linebacker ended his three-year varsity career with 384 total tackles with 30.5 tackles for loss.

While Hatch had huge impact and stats on the field, his recruitment was a slow one, partially due to the fact that the linebacker intended to serve a two-year LDS mission after high school. In some cases, offers were rescinded when schools found out about his post-high school plans. Hatch said he understood the business side of recruiting – an offer to him met a two-year investment with plenty of uncertainty what type of player would return from the mission, but it was still frustrating.

“I was kind of disappointing in a way,” Hatch said. “It was discouraging to see thos eoffers kind of leave, but I just had to stick with my faith in God and go serve him first and know that football was going to be there when I got back.”

So with his football future unclear, he left for Fort Lauderdale, Florida to serve that mission. His main priority was on his mission duties. He learned Spanish and worked in the community. He also would get up at 4:30 in the morning to work out and remain in football shape.

The player that came back was bigger and hungry to get back on the gridiron

“I missed it and I just wanted to be out there again,” Hatch said. “(Football) is a fight, and you start to miss the fight if you’ve been away from it for a while.” 

He walked on at Arizona State and instantly caught the eye of the coaching staff.

“This young man looks better than anyone I’ve seen come off a mission,” ASU defensive coordinator Danny Gonzales said at the beginning of spring ball. “I’m really excited for him and give him a lot of credit to maintain that during his mission.”

It was a result that took years in the making and forced Hatch to grow as a player and a person.

“I always wanted to stay in Arizona and play some ball,” Hatch said. “When I had the opportunity to put on the maroon and gold for the first time, step on the field for the first time in three years, it was a huge blessing…just the realization that I made it, I’m here. I’m ready to play.”

Hatch’s readiness was tested early in the spring. With multiple defensive players out of the lineup with injuries, Hatch found himself jumping up the spring depth chart and getting consistent reps day in and day out.

“If you’re a walk-on, what else could you want?” ASU linebackers coach Antonio Pierce said. 

“He’s the kind of guy you want. Blue-collar, lunch-pail guy that does whatever you ask him. Doesn’t bitch or moan about it. You want a lot of those guys on your football team, and I’m glad he’s with us.”

Hatch and ASU wrapped up their spring session Thursday night. One of the thoughts behind having spring ball so early was to have more time deep into the spring for weight training. If the walk-on linebacker has shown anything, it’s that he can be productive in the weightroom, and he plans to continue to push for opportunities on the field.

“I’m trying to take advantage of every play that I have, working my hardest, showing the coaches that I belong out here, although I am a walk-on, just holding my spot. I know that they’re definitely setting me up with opportunities, and I just have to come up with the plays.”