Bradley Hatfield has a huge leg and even bigger potential.
The 2010 Manteca High graduate also played at Delta College for two years and recently landed a full-ride scholarship to play football at the University of Sioux Falls in South Dakota – a NCAA Division II program. He signed his National Letter of Intent Thursday afternoon.
“He used to play receiver for us and was also our punter and kicker,” Manteca head coach Eric Reis said. “Just as good of an athlete as he is a person. He’s a phenomenal kid, very intelligent and he’s one of those guys you definitely have no worries that he’s going to be great in any field of life he chooses.”
Hatfield, who’s career-long is a 47 yarder, will be attending to Sioux Falls – a private, liberal arts college established in 1983. After his 2011-12 season at Delta, Hatfield did have a scholarship offer to Missouri Valley College on the table but it was lost after the school hired a brand new coaching staff.
“At the last minute they had a staff sweep,” Hatfield said. “Meaning they changed their staff and replaced them. I became off the radar with the new staff. It was late in the recruiting season and nothing else came along. It (built) my character, I kept grinding and kept training and kept the faith.”
After his opportunity to play football after the junior college level seemed to disappear, Hatfield didn’t throw in the towel.
He kept working.
He linked up with coach Paul Assad of Pro-College Sports, who is based out of Modesto and runs a year-round development program for kickers, punters and snappers (specialists).
Assad, also known as “The Kick Doctor”, has produced 40 NFL starters and seven pro bowlers. His program has also produced numerous collegiate All-Americans as well.
“(Bradley) is one of the hardest working kids we’ve ever had in our program,” said Assad, who has also worked with current Saints kicker Thomas Morstead. “He has the mindset set to do it. It starts with the commitment he made to himself that he was determined to get to the next level. His actions and his work ethic have backed it up. He’s doing what it takes.”
One of Hatfield’s training partners is Chris Harris, who played at Central Catholic and Modesto JC and will be entering his second year as the long snapper for Sioux Falls.
“I fell in love with the school,” Hatfield said. “I also have a few buddies that I’ve played with before that will be playing with me out there.
“It’s honestly a true blessing from God. It was a scare at first. I lost my red shirt year from sitting out and it was just complete stress. God opened up the door and I’m thankful for it.
“My goals are to go 100 percent. I want to be an addition to the team. Kickers are on the field three percent of the game, but I still want to make the most of that three percent.”