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Sully Says: Jones and Hatcher share similar journeys to scholarships

Layne Hatcher (KATV photo)

The dust has settled on Signing Day 2018, and two of the most talked about signees in the state are Arkansas signee John Stephens Jones and Pulaski Academy's Layne Hatcher, who inked with A-State.

Jones and Hatcher had similar journeys en route to signing a scholarship Wednesday. Both were star quarterbacks for state powers.

Jones led Dallas' Highland Park High School to back-to-back state titles, while Hatcher quarterbacked Arkansas' private school powerhouse, Pulaski Academy, to three straight state titles.

Both also have the "it" factor.

It was Jones who willed the Scots to a thrilling 53-49 win over an uber-talented Manville team. In the win, Jones became the first quarterback ever to throw for 500 yards in a Texas state title game. Those who watched Pulaski Academy's 37-36 5A state title win over Little Rock McClellan will tell you that Hatcher owned the 4th quarter in that game. He wouldn't let PA lose.

Both QB's put up "sick" numbers this season.

Jones finished the season with 5,200 total yards and 71 touchdowns. Hatcher's numbers are even more outrageous. He threw for 5,779 yards and accounted for 77 touchdowns.

Still, most major college programs put both Jones and Hatcher in the same category: too short to play big-time college football.

Chad Morris and Blake Anderson are two guys who like to think outside the box. While most coaches see two vertically challenged signal callers, they see two young men who led their high school teams to incredible successes. Two winners.

Both also come from very successful families.

John Stephen Jones is Jerry Jones' grandson, and Layne Hatcher's dad, Greg, runs a highly successful business in Little Rock.

Some Hog fans will insist the only reason John Stephens Jones is getting a scholarship is family ties. A " legacy" signing, they may say.

Some A-State supporters will say Anderson's lack of homegrown Red Wolves on the ASU roster played a role in A-State taking a chance on Hatcher.

Both face an uphill battle. Quarterback may be the most difficult position to crack the starting lineup. Most schools sign at least one quarterback a year, and only one can play.

In the past 10 years, I can remember only a handful of Arkansas high school quarterbacks succeeding on the FBS level: Tyler Wilson, Brandon and Austin Allen and two Pulaski Academy QB's, Fredi Knighten and Spencer Keith (Kent State).

Will these two succeed on the next level? Give me three or four years to answer that question.

Signing day is a day to celebrate, and Jones and Hatcher have accomplished as much in high school as any player in the country.

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