Tampa Bay, Fla. - Former Quaker All-Ivy Leagueoffensive tackleJeff Hatch was signed by the National Football League's (NFL) Tampa Bay Bucaneers according to the team web site on April 12. Hatch was a third-round pick in the 2002 draft (78th overall) by the New York Giants and spent the 2003 season on the active roster with the Giants.
Hatch (6-6, 305) was the highest selected Ivy League player at the time since Penn's Mitch Marrow was selected 73rd by the Carolina Panthers in the 1998 draft. Hatch is also the last former Quaker to be drafted since Jim Finn was taken by the Chicago Bears with the final selection of the 2000 draft. Finn is currently with the New York Giants, preparing for his third season with the Giants.
The Millersville, Md. native was sidelined for 12 games of the 2003 season with an injury before surging back to start the final four games for the NFC East Giants. Hatch was released on March 17.
The signing of Hatch, who was a first-team all-conference choice as a senior at Penn, gives the Bucs the unusual distinction of having three Ivy League players on the current roster. He joins Yale tight end Nate Lawrie and Columbia running back Johnathan Reese.
Though hehis career in the Red and Blue as a defensive lineman, Hatch switched to center as a junior then moved out to tackle for his senior season. The move went very well, as he earned first-team All-America honors from the American Football Coaches Association and the Football Gazette (honorable mention) while helping the Penn offense average 403.1 yards per game in 2001. In addition the national accolades Hatch received, the lineman was also a unanimous first-team All-Ivy selection in 2001 and started in the annual Blue-Gray game held in Birmingham, Ala.
The fruits of Hatch's efforts on the field can not be found in the statistics but his impact is unquestionable as he paved the way for Kris Ryan to become Penn's all-time leading rusher and in 2000, protected quarterback Gavin Hoffman, enabling the Red and Blue passing attack tofinish first in the NCAA.
Written by Mat Kanan, associatedirector ofathletic communications