Naijiel Hale is a 4-star cornerback recruit out of Bellflower, Calif., and if you're a fan of the USC Trojans, you may as well get used to hearing his name.
You may know him as the son of the late great rapper Nate Dogg, but Hale looks poised to make a name for himself on the grand stage of football as well.
According to Adam Gorney (subscription required) of Rivals.com, Hale just recently visited USC for a spring practice, and it's one that reportedly went very well. In fact, USC is considered the "big favorite" for Hale, and an offer could firmly put the Trojans in the driver's seat.
Here's what Hale had to say about USC and potentially receiving an offer from the Trojans, per Gorney:
"My recruiting coach, Tee Martin, said to come and see him this spring. He's rooting for me and he wants to offer badly. It seems to be on the way so that's exciting."
An offer from USC would be major for Hale, who already has offers from Arizona, Arizona State, Boise State, Cal, Nebraska and Washington State, but it wouldn't absolutely mean an immediate commitment.
Still, the Trojans are a big favorite and an offer would be important for the three-star.
"I'm not sure right now (about committing)," Hale said. "I don't even know. It may be, it may not be. It's more about getting it first."
Lane Kiffin and his staff have to be feeling pretty good about their standing with Hale, and one could only imagine that an offer should be on the way sooner rather than later.
According to his quotes, it seems as if Hale is under the impression that coach Martin wants to offer, and he is a recruit worth taking a chance on.
He's a playmaker that's always around the ball. He has the ability to play tough at the line of scrimmage or effectively cover in open space. He'll be physical against the run and he displays very good closing speed. He also has quick feet and good fundamental footwork in regard to his break on the ball.
For a cornerback, footwork is essential.
One false step on a backpedal can put you a length behind a receiver, and at the college level, that's enough of a separation to consider yourself burned. The same could be said for angles when closing on a play. Understanding sharp angles is key to succeeding as a cornerback, and Hale seems to have a firm grasp of that. He takes sharp cuts and doesn't round his steps, and that allows him to be as efficient as possible when breaking on the ball.
Hale is athletic enough to make big plays while the ball is in the air and has good instincts and vision as a cover corner. He really does have the ability to play strong in both phases of the game, so as it stands, I don't see much reason why USC won't eventually offer him.
I'm not in USC's coaches meetings and I don't have any inside information on Kiffin's thought process, but Hale certainly projects to be a player that could make an impact for the Trojans.
They look to have the edge on him as it currently stands, and an offer could really put USC over the top with Hale.
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