Naijiel Hale is an unranked junior cornerback. He's also the son of the late rapper Nate Dogg.
Hale used to go out on stage with his dad as a kid, Barton Simmons of 247Sports reports, so he's used to the attention. Now, the stage is all his, and it's a completely different type of arena.
Simmons reports that the 2014 cornerback is getting major interest from Oregon:
Though he’s still waiting on his first offer, the 5-11, 175-pounder has already drawn plenty of interest, most actively from Oregon.
"I actually got an email from Coach (John) Neal of Oregon [on Tuesday]," he said. "They were really interested in me and he was going to take a trip here in a couple of weeks and keep in touch. Oregon is my top school and that’s been my dream school and they know that."
Simmons also reports that UCLA and Northwestern are interested in Hale:
In addition to Oregon, Hale has been getting significant interest from UCLA and Northwestern in the early going but his interest and offer list is likely to grow quickly this spring.
Hale checks in at a tad over 5'10", 175 pounds, according to 247Sports, and hasn't been ranked just yet. He does have a highlight tape out, though, so let's check out what these schools like about him as a cornerback:
The first thing you'll notice about Hale is that he's a playmaker. Strong against the run, he's not afraid to come up to the line of scrimmage and make a hit, and he also is apt at disengaging blockers. He does a great job of setting the edge as a cornerback.
Hale also has very good footwork and great closing speed. He's able to stick and come down the line of scrimmage in a straight line without taking a false step, and that allows him to make a ton of plays on the football field.
He's also very good at locating the ball in coverage, displaying tremendous vision. He's very good at getting his hand up and making a play on the ball in the air, and he's talented enough to intercept the football and run it back.
There's a lot to like about Hale as a recruit, and I expect that he'll be one of the better cornerback recruits in the 2014 class.
The thing that many programs will like about Hale is that he's motivated to make his own name. He could skate by as the son of the late, great Nate Dogg, but that doesn't appear to be his mindset, as he told Simmons:
Who wants to live off of their parents? That’s probably about 90 percent of my motivation is letting people know who I am in a different way.
That motivation is going to be a huge plus for many programs. He's already extremely talented, but all athletes at the college level are talented.
What separates the good from the great is motivation. All elite athletes posses it.
Hale has that X-factor, and he's projected to be a very good college football player when all is said and done.