Chatham (Va.) Hargrave Military Academy wide receiver Vidal Hazelton has been doing a lot of thinking of late as Penn State continues to make a push for the nation's No. 7 player. According to Hazelton's father, Dexter, Vidal has all the information he needs but likely won't know for sure on his destination until Siging Day.
For USC coaches and fans, everything was fine up until last week. That's when quarterback Pat Devlin de-committed from Miami and decided to play his college ball at Penn State. Hazelton and Devlin became friends on the camp and combine circuit this past spring and at one point wanted to attend Miami together. Hazelton soured on Miami but he and Devlin remained in contact. Vidal took an official visit to Penn State long before Devlin's change of heart and it is widely assumed that the Nittany Lions finished a close second when he announced for USC on Dec. 30.
Now things appear to be open again.
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"I think it's probably 50/50 right now for Vidal," said Dexter. "I talked to coach Pete Carroll twice over the last few days and I spoke to the Penn State coaching staff as well. I'm not able to get down there Sunday like I wanted, but I think I have enough information. I presented it to Vidal and now it's up to him to choose."
What's the difference and what will it come down to?
"I look at this process like a business because that's what it really is," Dexter said. "USC is all business. I call Pete Carroll a shark because that's how he is. It's not a bad thing because in the NFL and in business you deal with sharks and sharks have that killer instinct you need. Vidal is a shark himself. Penn State is more about recruiting the family and I know Joe Paterno would take care of Vidal after football by helping him get a job or whatever. I don't get that feel from USC.
"But in the end it's going to come down to where Vidal feels he can be the most successful to fufill his dream of getting to the next level. I think it will come down to quarterbacks. Vidal knows what it's like to play with a poor quarterback and he knows how unhappy he'd be in that situation. It's up to him to determine if Mark Sanchez or Anthony Morelli or Pat Devlin is the guy."
Hazelton himself doesn't know the answer yet.
"I know I need the football, it's like a disease with me almost," the 6-foot-3, 200-pounder said. "I know how frustrated I'd be in an offense that can't pass the ball but I also know I'd be frustrated sitting on the bench as well. That's why it's tough.
"USC has Steve Smith and Dwayne Jarrett and told me I'd have to beat out Smith to earn a starting role. Penn State told me I'd start from day one. But USC's offense has been more proven over the last few years. This is why it's tough and I'm so confused."
Hazelton remains committed to USC, but proximity to home is starting to creep in as well.
"The only thing really wrong with USC is the distance," he said. "I know I can compete, I know I'll play out there, I have confidence in my ability. But I'd also like to have my family, my grandparents be able to see me play. This is hard."
Dexter said that whatever his son decides is fine with the family.
"Vidal needs to make this decision himself," he said. "Whatever he decides we will support him 100-percent. I'm guessing it goes right down to the last minute."
Dexter will be in Chatham, Va. on Wednesday when Vidal signs his Letter of Intent.