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After playing side by side against Michigan State, UW’s Hatchett brothers are here to stay

Brothers Geirean, left, and Landen Hatchett played together on Washington's offensive line for the first time in Saturday's win over Michigan State in East Lansing, Mich.   (Marc-Gregor Campredon/Courtesy UW Athletics)
Mike Vorel Seattle Times

In the second half of UW’s 41-7 win at Michigan State, a dream came true in the trenches.

After redshirt freshman center Parker Brailsford’s helmet popped off in the third quarter, he was forced to leave the field for a play, prompting true freshman Landen Hatchett’s UW debut. Geirean Hatchett — a redshirt sophomore and reserve right guard — said he “got a little emotional on the sideline” when his little brother’s moment arrived.

It was about to get even better.

When starting left guard Julius Buelow exited with a minor injury, Landen and Geirean briefly operated at left and right guard, respectively. And for the entire fourth quarter, they played side by side — with Geirean at right guard and Landen at center.

For the Hatchett family and surrounding community, it was a fourth quarter they won’t forget.

“That was definitely part of [Landen’s] decision when he decided to go to UW: this whole cool idea of playing with your brother,” said Jana Hatchett, Geirean and Landen’s mother, who attended the game with her husband and youngest son. “But to actually see it happening, it was amazing.

“My phone started blowing up. Friends at home were sending me screenshots of them taping [the game]. It was just awesome. It was phenomenal.”

It was a long time coming, too.

Because Geirean and Landen are three years apart, they’ve rarely played together in organized sports. The exception arrived in 2019, when Geirean (a senior guard, four-star recruit and UW commit) and Landen (a true freshman center) shared an offensive line at Ferndale High.

In their first — not last — season playing side by side, Landen earned his older brother’s respect.

“Geirean knows how to push Landen’s buttons; I’ll just put it that way,” Jana Hatchett said with a laugh. “When they were kids, it was a little bit of a poor dynamic. Landen will still say, ‘Mom, I remember the one time Geirean pushed me on the stairs. You didn’t stop him!’ I’m like, ‘You’re fine. You survived.’

“They got along, but they didn’t really hang out. When Landen got into that freshman year and clearly earned his spot on that team [at Ferndale], starting next to his brother, that completely turned around. That’s when Geirean really saw, ‘Landen’s not only my brother, but he’s a cool guy. My friends like him. He’s this phenomenal athlete.’”

Scott Huff came to the same conclusion about both brothers. In 2017, Geirean — a soon-to-be sophomore at Ferndale High — attended UW’s summer recruiting camp specifically to play defensive line.

But the Huskies’ new offensive line coach had other ideas.

“Honestly, that was kind of the beginning of Geirean thinking about himself as an O-lineman,” Jana Hatchett said. “Huff was truly his first relationship [in recruiting]. Landen was like 12 years old when that happened. Landen, in seeing Geirean go through that process, developed those same relationships with Huff.”

Added Huff, now in his seventh season: “I was going to Ferndale [in 2018] to watch Geirean play, and Landen was the ball boy. The next year [Landen] was a freshman and Geirean was a senior. I was up there in the spring leading up to that and Landen was still in eighth grade, but he was practicing with the team. I remember talking to [coach Jamie Plenkovich and he said], ‘I think Little Hatchett might actually break the lineup.’”

So, yes: this has happened before.

But how did history repeat?

Landen — a four-star center in the 2023 class — chose the Huskies over USC, Michigan, Oregon, Texas A&M and many others. And Huff — who Jana says is “like a second dad” to Landen — was an obvious influence.

But he wasn’t the only one.

“We had Jake Locker jerseys and all that stuff when [Geirean and Landen] were young,” Jana Hatchett said. “They both had a great relationship with Jake. Jake was one of their coaches through high school football. He was a mentor. He had my boys over and they did bible study. You name it, he was really helping them. He was never hard pushing UW, but there was just a respect there through all of that.”

When Landen inevitably chose Washington in June 2022, “Geirean was the first person he called to tell,” Jana said. “Geirean was just so excited. It’s an awesome relationship.”

A 6-foot-2, 310-pound freshman, Landen enrolled early this spring and immediately impressed. Per Huff, “he benefits certainly from being around here with his brother and the comfort level he came in with, with the guys. He works really hard and he’s obviously really talented. It’s a combination of all those things. But the maturity is the biggest thing.”

Landen — a regular practice attendee in 2022 — plays like he’s been here before.

But even for a uniquely polished and prepared freshman, he wasn’t expected to star so soon.

“To see the talent we have on our O-line, we just never thought it would happen this year,” Jana Hatchett said of her sons sharing a line. “Our thing was, ‘Maybe next year, or maybe the following year.’ That would make sense. But to have it happen immediately, we were definitely taken aback by that.”

Geirean and Landen didn’t have time to be taken aback.

Together, they paved the way for 143 rushing yards and 5.7 yards per carry without surrendering a sack in the second half against Michigan State.

“When you’re out there you’re not really thinking about it much,” Geirean said. “If anything, you’re yelling at each other, trying to figure out where you need to go and all that. But after, just getting to look back at the pictures, getting to talk with our parents and other close friends, it was such a cool experience for both of us and our family.”

That experience may extend to Saturday. With Buelow’s status uncertain for the Pac-12 opener against Cal, it’s possible either Geirean or Landen could be set for their first career start.

The Hatchetts are here to stay.

“It’s so cool to be where we are,” Jana Hatchett said. “It’s a phenomenal staff, so we’re super pumped. I can only hope that this ride continues.”