Hazelton: Time to think
The saga of Chatham (Va.) Hargrave Military wide receiver Vidal Hazelton continues but could come to a close this week. The 6-foot-3, 193-pounder took an unofficial visit to Penn State this past weekend in an effort to decide between the Nittany Lions and Southern Cal Trojans. How did it go and where do things stand?
"The whole family went to Penn State," said Vidal's father, Dexter Hazelton. "Vidal was very quiet and didn't ask many questions. He went out with some players later that night (Saturday) so I don't know if he was more of himself then, but he wasn't acting like himself during the visit.
"Vidal is a talker and always having fun and upbeat, but I was watching him on the visit and he wasn't himself."
What does this mean?
"I'm not sure," said Dexter. "I know he knows the whole family wants him to go to Penn State so maybe that was on his mind. But he's a smart kid and he might have just been taking it all in. We were all talking and joking around on the drive home and we didn't really talk about his choice. I told him to take a few days or the whole week and let it soak in, let the decision come to him."
Would Dexter still sign a letter to Southern Cal, the team Vidal committed to in late December, if that's where he wants to go?
"Absolutely," he said. "I want Vidal to make an educated decision but I don't want him to go someplace if he's not happy, then he might rebel. The most important thing to his family is that he's happy with his choice. If it's Southern Cal, we'll support him fully."
Hazelton got a chance to see quarterback Anthony Morelli throw the ball around and came away impressed.
"He thought he looked good," Dexter said. "I know that's important to him, the quarterback situation."
Southern Cal certainly hasn't given up on the nation's No. 2 wide receiver.
"They have called every day quite a few times," he said. "I've talked with coach (Pete) Carroll a few times and it was good. Vidal told me he worried about how coach Carroll and I would get along if he chose USC, but I told him that it wouldn't be an issue. If Vidal chooses USC, then they're family. All families have disagreements, but coach Carroll and I are fine. I'd have no problem."
Vidal is back at Hargrave and is thinking about his choice.
"I haven't followed up with him yet," Dexter said. "I want it all to marinate and for him to take his time. He's got time so there's still no rush and it's on his timetable. And it's his decision now, it's all up to Vidal."
Dexter wants to make sure Vidal chooses the school he wants and not to please his family.
"Like I said, if he picks Penn State to please us, he'll end up unhappy," he said. "If he picks it because he feels the most comfortable there and it's where he wants to go, then that's fine. But I told him that whatever he chooses we'll support him. And I think I'll be able to tell if he's just doing it to please us. I felt he was rushing the decision on Signing Day because he was so unsure and I think he felt pressured. I wanted him to step back and re-focus."
There was some talk of a third team entering the race. If Vidal remains undecided, will that happen?
"I don't want to open that up again," he said. "I told him he's got two schools, adding a third would just confuse things. I'm already sick of all of this and I think Vidal is getting tired of it too."
Dexter would like one thing to come out of this process besides the right school for his son.
"I see a lot of kids on Staten Island and around New York who don't have parents to help them through this or don't have great family situations," he said. "I'd like this to at least make kids and whoever their parental figure is to understand how important a decision this is and that they should look for guidance in the process and get involved."