Naijiel Hale, the son of late rapper/singer Nate Dogg and a 4-star recruit out of St. John Bosco High School in California, is headed to the University of Washington.
Initially committed to playing at the University of Arizona, Hale recently flipped to Washington after meeting with Huskies new head coach Chris Petersen. According to Greg Biggins of Scout.com, Hale was one of the first offers Petersen made after arriving from Boise State and his late charge ultimately paid off.
“He offered me as soon as he got there,” Hale said. “Boise State was my first offer when Coach Petersen was there so I know the staff really well. I know Coach Lake, the DB coach as well and had a good home visit with him and Coach Petersen recently."
Hale verbally committed to the Huskies on Feb. 1 and signed his national letter of intent on Wednesday. His commitment along with that of 23 other players gives Washington the No. 37 recruiting class in the nation, per 247Sports' composite rankings. The Huskies were expected to have a bit of a down year following Steve Sarkisian's departure for USC, but Petersen hit the ground running. Washington's national signing day has moved the school up 19 spots on 247Sports' rankings.
Landing Hale is certainly a major coup—especially doing so by pilfering him away from a fellow Pac-12 school—but it will take a lot of accomplishments for the budding young star to match his father's reputation.
Nate Dogg, who died in 2011 after suffering numerous complications from previous strokes, was one of the most prominent features during the uprising of the West Coast hip-hop scene. While Nate Dogg released three solo albums before passing, his most famous works were as a hook man and featured artist on other rappers' hit tracks. He most famously sang on Warren G's 1994 hit "Regulate" and 50 Cent's Billboard chart-topper "21 Questions" in 2003.
Hale has not tried running from his father's fame, either. He and his older brother, Lil' Nate, told TMZ in 2011 they were planning on pursuing music careers.
Although that never came to fruition, it's safe to say Hale made the right decision by choosing to carve his own path. Listed at 5'10.5" and 175 pounds, Hale is the No. 313 overall recruit in the nation and considered the 23rd-best cornerback, per 247Sports' composite rankings.
He probably lacks the elite top-end speed to be a top-flight cornerback in college, but Hale could really excel if the coaches try him out at safety. He shows an innate understanding of where the ball is and the right plays to make, working as a leader on the field to know when to avoid or take risks.
Hale also showed incredible maturity throughout the recruiting process. It's easy to get swept up in the spotlight, especially considering the white-hot scope placed on him by being the son of a celebrity. Instead, he eschewed the attention as much as possible, carefully made an informed decision about his future and seems comfortable in his own skin.
There's a ton of work left before Hale lives up to the Nate Dogg name, but this is far from a bad start.
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