The regular season has barely kicked off yet, and Herbert Hoover has made a nice catch.
Junior Devin Hatfield, a football and basketball standout at Mingo Central, has enrolled at Herbert Hoover following his family’s move to the Elkview area, and was expected to play in the Huskies’ football opener Wednesday at home against Sissonville.
The younger brother of Drew Hatfield, a state record-setting receiver at Mingo Central who now plays football at Glenville State, Devin Hatfield caught 35 passes for 683 yards and seven touchdowns last season as the Miners reached the Class AA playoff quarterfinals. He plays wide receiver and defensive back.
In basketball last winter, Devin Hatfield ranked among the Cardinal Conference scoring leaders at 12.3 points per game as a sophomore.
Kevin Hatfield, Devin’s father and the former boys basketball coach at Mingo Central, explained that the move was prompted by his employment concerns. He spent 12 years in the coal industry, but said he was laid off three times, and wanted to transition to education.
“It’s just time to go,’’ Kevin Hatfield said. “I love home and I’ve spent 44 of my 46 years in Delbarton, but it’s a family thing for us. We’ve thought about it for two, three years and I should have pulled the trigger on it two, three years ago, really.
“With my degree, I can teach up here and do other things with my other degrees I can’t do back home, and we’ve struggled long enough. My wife and I prayed about it and talked about it, and my kids have prayed about it and talked about it. Even Drew thought it was a good idea, and he’s gone to college.’’
A pair of younger brothers making the move, Dane and Dillon, are also budding athletes in the family.
Devin Hatfield’s arrival comes at a good time for Hoover, which lost its leading receiver from last year when junior Nathan Harper transferred to George Washington. Harper caught 20 passes for 517 yards and five TDs a year ago.
The Hatfield family received some scrutiny two years ago when Drew and Devin played football at Mingo Central in the 2018 season, transferred to Logan for the 2018-19 season in basketball, then moved back to Mingo County for the following football season, all due to Kevin Hatfield’s job in the coal industry.
“People can say what they want,’’ Kevin Hatfield said, “but we just didn’t have the [employment] options in my family. I know my kids are good in sports, but that’s neither here nor there. It wouldn’t matter if my kids didn’t play sports; we’d still be moving.’’