A player we saw four times in person this year and really liked each time we watched him was Los Alamitos (Calif.) linebacker John Hale. The athlete took his first official visit this past weekend and could be closing in on his decision.
Hale, 6-3, 225 pounds played tight end and fullback as a junior before moving to linebacker this past season. It proved to be an easy transition for him as Hale finished the year with 126 tackles, 12 for loss and seven quarterback sacks and earned Sunset League Player of the Year, 1st team CIF Div I and 1st team All-Orange County honors.
In a CIF semi-final win over Lakewood and a Div I final loss tot Long Beach Poly, we felt Hale was the best defensive player on the field both games. He's very quick and active, a sure tackler and is one of those guys that is always around the ball making plays.
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Hale took his first official visit to Boise State last weekend and said he loved it.
"I liked everything about the trip," Hale said. "Boise is a great little college town and it's all about football there. They have a winning program and I really like the coaching staff and especially Coach Hawkins. They offered me on the visit but also told me they don't have a lot of scholarships left for linebackers and could get a commit this weekend so I'll probably be doing something real soon here."
If not for the recent interest from UCLA, Hale's childhood favorite, the 'backer may have already committed to the Broncos. Hale's father John played for UCLA in the 60s and he has attended several Bruin home games this year.
"I just talked to Coach Johnson last night," Hale said. "I'm visiting UCLA this weekend. I was up front with him and said I kind of wanted to know how interested they were in me and if they planned to offer and told him why. Right now, UCLA is my favorite school but I don't want lost my ride to Boise State waiting on UCLA and then have them not offer me, I'll be stuck with nowhere to go if that happens.
"The last time I talked with them, they told me there was another linebacker (Ryan Reynolds?) they were waiting on and if he went elsewhere, they would offer me. So I'm just going to wait and see what happens there. Coach Johnson said he's going to talk with Coach Dorrell and then we'll talk again later tonight and he'll let me know about the offer. If they do offer, it would be hard to pass up. I mean, I've always liked UCLA so I would probably commit once they offer but I'll know more on that tonight."