Earlier this week the Cougs received their first commitment in their defensive backfield when Kevin Griffin committed crimson. Griffin’s got good size and talent, but the Washington State staff would very much like to add another elite prospect this coming Monday, when 4-star cornerback Naijiel Hale announces his decision between his top five choices, which all happen to be from the Pac-12.
The five schools in question are Arizona, ASU, Cal, Utah and of course Wazzu. He has already turned down the likes of Boise State, Nevada and Nebraska among others.
Hale is a 5’11”, 170 pound DB from St. John Bosco high school in Bellflower, CA and currently rated the #20 cornerback prospect in the land by Scout. In 2012 as a junior he had 53 tackles, 4 interceptions and a sack.
He is all set to take part in “The Opening”, an elite-level camp for the standouts from Nike camps all over the country (WSU commit Marcus Griffin talks about The Opening in our ACU podcast a couple weeks ago if you want to know more about it) and is planning on making his final decision while in Beaverton, OR where the camp takes place. He’s said that playing time is a major factor and that each of these schools offers that particular opportunity to him, leaving them all tied atop the leader board. Hale also mentioned a necessity of good academics and a strong connection with the Cougar coaching staff, along with good connections with the other staffs in question.
If it comes right down to it, the Cougars need as much help as anybody in their defensive backfield and have been trying to nail down a high level corner like Hale since they switched coaching staffs two winters ago. They are making tremendous progress in the defensive backfield with Griffin already in 2014. From last year’s recruiting class Daquawn Brown is an important piece but a kid like Hale would cement that position in my opinion for the next four to five seasons as a young and talented strength as opposed to young and suspect weakness. Should he commit to WSU, we’ll talk more about that next week. It could also have a long-term affect on the presumed (but far from cemented) arrivals of Marcellus Pippens and Markell Sanders next Spring.
For clarification Naijiel Hale is far from the last hope for WSU to add at the corner position in the 2014 class. However the fact that they are allegedly tied at the top with mere days remaining until his decision does put extra emphasis on what his commitment might ultimately mean for Mike Breske and the Cougar defense. So here we are analyzing, hoping he does say on Monday that he’ll be heading to Washington State University for his collegiate student-athlete career.
If you have any thoughts on where you think this kid will end up going discuss with us in the comment section below.