Big news out of head coach Kyle Whittingham's weekly press conference (we will have a full write-up of the press conference later today), junior defensive back Dominique Hatfield has been reinstated to the Utah football team effective immediately. Whittingham did not say specifically when Hatfield would play because it depends on when he is back into football shape and ready, which could be as soon as the game against Utah State on Friday or could be several weeks. He also will not be made available to the media for several weeks.
Hatfield was dismissed from the team after several offseason off-the-field issues. He was formally charged in relation to two different incidents but was all of the charges have been dropped. There were many excellent articles written by Joseph Silverzweig on BlockU about Hatfield's legal situation. Here is one about his initial situation.
Prior to his dismissal from the team, Hatfield was projected to be a starter and possible All-Pac-12 candidate. He made the switch to defensive back from receiver in fall camp 2014 following the injury to Reggie Porter (a starter in the secondary this year for the Utes). Hatfield saw action in every game last season and made a permanent switch to defensive back early in the season.
The news that Hatfield is reinstated is positive for all involved. The Utah football team gets back a talented player, and Hatfield gets to be surrounded by positive leadership from his teammates and coaches, especially Whittingham and cornerbacks coach Sharrieff Shah. It was surprising to hear that he is back, but it is something that I felt would happen at some point this season, I just did not know when. Anyway, welcome back to Utah football Mr. Hatfield.