River Ridge (La.) John Curtis three-star safety Hunter Dale almost decided he was done with the recruiting process in July after a trip to Nebraska, but he quickly decided he needed to take more time and review his options more thoroughly.
He is now open to all options, one of those being the Nebraska Cornhuskers, who did make a strong impression while he was in Lincoln.
"Yeah they're still in contention," Dale said. "I just rushed things and let people get in my head. I just needed to slow down and just relax. I pretty much acted off emotion because I liked the place and I just needed to slow things down."
Dale was able to see the city and take in the sights and sounds surrounding the Cornhusker program. He enjoyed the entire experience, but there were a few aspects of the trip which stood out above the rest.
"I like how everything is in their stadium," Dale said. "Once you get to the facility you don't need to leave all day. You have tutoring, the cafeteria, the weight room, your meeting room, the stadium is right there, the practice facility they have a little walking area to it. In what I want to study, kinesiology, they have a whole sports science lab in the stadium so that's pretty awesome."
In addition to his trip to Nebraska, he also took a couple of trips to SEC territory. One of those trips was a recent stop in Oxford to checkout Ole Miss.
"I went to Ole Miss Wednesday night and came back Thursday," Dale said. "I loved the place. It's very clean, a very laid back environment. You can definitely feel the family environment at Ole Miss. When you walk in there you can just feel everyone is one. Like the freshmen and the rooks you could tell they made them fit right in. The coaches helped the rookies a lot. They even have a practice in two-a-days where it's mostly just rookies and freshmen getting reps and the older guys are teaching them. I think it's pretty cool how they do that."
He also made a trip to Knoxville to checkout the Tennessee Volunteer program.
"Oh yeah it was fun out there. I liked Tennessee," Dale said. "I loved how coach Butch Jones coaches that team. He's very stern with the team. I love my position coach. That would be coach Martinez he's a great coach, a funny guy, and very good at coaching his position. The practices are very high tempo and that's how I like my practices and I play my games very high tempo. So I liked it up there."
Dale plans to take his official visits after the 2014 football season, but he does have a few more unofficial visits on his mind during football season.
"I plan on getting to the Tennessee/Alabama game (October 25)," Dale said. "I'm trying to get to the Miami/Florida State game (November 15). I'm trying to get to the Egg Bowl at Ole Miss when Ole Miss plays Mississippi State (November 29). And we're trying to catch the LSU/Florida game in Florida (October 11)."
For now though he is focused on capturing his fourth state championship ring. The John Curtis Patriots have started practices and Dale sees his teammates already laying it all on the line. The road to the championship will be a tough one, but the Patriots know it well. Hunter Dale is ready to do whatever it takes to make it back and in 2014 that means he will see an expanded role on the squad.
"I'm playing wide receiver this year also," Dale said. "I've been doing it a lot. I've been doing it a lot these past two days of camp and I've been doing it a lot during 7-on-7 during the offseason. I've been training for wide receiver with my dad since the seventh grade because I played it in seventh and eighth grade also. It's nothing new I just have to get up there and learn the plays for Curtis. I love having the ball in my hands. So pretty much that and I'm going to be very aggressive to every ball this year on defense."
As a junior in 2013 Dale recorded 8 interceptions, 9 pass break-ups, and 41 tackles. He is currently ranked No. 17 among the nation's safeties, and No. 15 in the Rivals.com Louisiana Preseason Top 50.