Blue Chip countdown: Malone-Hatcher driven to excel at UM
The Detroit News continues its countdown of the top 15 Blue Chip recruits for 2017 with Corey Malone-Hatcher of St. Joseph at No. 8.
Corey Malone-Hatcher is looking forward to an injury-free career at Michigan, something that has eluded him at times during his high school career at St. Joseph.
Malone-Hatcher, a four-star defensive end/linebacker, finished his senior season at St. Joseph with 90 tackles, including an impressive 28 for lost yardage to earn a spot on The Detroit News Dream Team. He is No. 8 on The News Blue Chip list.
Malone-Hatcher, 6-foot-3 and 240 pounds, was thrilled to be on the field, playing every game and helping St. Joseph to a 6-4 record and a state playoff appearance after being limited to just two games his junior year due to an ankle injury.
“My junior year was cut short so I came out with a little bit of fire because of that,” Malone-Hatcher said. “Still, my senior year I wasn’t even close to 100 percent strength-wise. It was just one of those things where you have to do everything you can to get the job done.
“Essentially, I was playing on a leg and a half. I still played, but wasn’t nearly as effective as I needed to be. I didn’t miss a game, just two practices. I didn’t have confidence in my body, though. I was a step slower mentally because I didn’t test my limits like I should have … at least until that last game.”
Malone-Hatcher was proud St. Joseph’s defense limited Stevensville Lakeshore running back Corey Hampton to 44 yards in the state playoff game, a loss and Malone-Hatcher’s final prep game.
“It was easily one of the best games I played,” said Malone-Hatcher of St. Joseph’s Division 3 pre-district loss to Stevensville Lakeshore. “We were just really excited our defense went out with a strong game, even if it was (a loss).”
Malone-Hatcher says he still has plenty of work to do to get at 100 percent for spring practice at Michigan. He enrolled early so he can make a smooth transition to college life while getting a look at the playbook.
“Even at this point I’m not as close as I was (before junior year),” Malone-Hatcher said. “I’m working hard every day to get back to 100 percent. By the season I feel confident I’ll get there, especially with the guys we have in the training room and with the facilities.”
Malone-Hatcher isn’t sure where he’ll play for the Wolverines.
“We still have to sit down and discuss that,” Malone-Hatcher said. “They’ve talked to me about defensive end and they have me staying with a defensive end (fellow early-enrollee Donovan Jeter), but they’ve also mentioned a little bit of linebacker.
“Right now, I’ll probably end up staying at defensive end because of my pass rushing ability and pass rushing potential once I get stronger and get some more of my additional explosion back. And, I think once I get to that point I’m confident in myself enough to say that I will be one of the best pass rushers in the country.
“I know that’s a very bold statement, but I have trust in the training staff that they can get me to that point and I trust my body, and I trust my athletic ability and my ability to push myself to get to that point.”
No doubt, Malone-Hatcher was highly-recruited since his freshman year when he went head-to-head in practice as a defensive end, going up against teammate Wesley French, then a senior tackle and Western Michigan commit.
Malone-Hatcher developed quickly while going up against French and received an offer from Ohio State and Urban Meyer as a freshman. A dozen more offers came his sophomore year, including Alabama, Michigan and Michigan State.
Ultimately, Malone-Hatcher decided on Michigan, picking the Wolverines in June 2016, during the final days of his junior year.
“I take a lot of pride in the fact I was extremely recruited by a lot of the best schools in the country and a lot of pride in the fact I can call myself a Wolverine after going through the trials and tribulations that I have been through in my high school career," Malone-Hatcher said.
DETROIT NEWS BLUE CHIP LIST COUNTDOWN
No. 8: Corey Malone-Hatcher, St. Joseph (Michigan)