Six-foot-three, 194-pound wide receiver Vidal Hazelton, who is a standout for Moore Catholic High School in Staten Island, N.Y., is one of the top prospects in that state for the class of 2006. He says that he certainly has an interest in checking things out in Auburn.
"I watched their games on TV and I like the way they run their program and stuff," Hazelton explains. "Also, I know Coach (Greg) Knox down there and he is a nice guy. We get along real well."
The tall receiver adds that watching the Tigers go 13-0 last fall helped peak his interest in the program. "Definitely, because that just goes to show you that they are a championship team and they are capable of it," he says.
Hazelton also notes that while watching Auburn rack up the wins he was also impressed with the offensive game plan that was implemented by Al Borges. "I like their offense because when I see them on TV I like how they mix the ball up," he says. "They mix pass and run. They do both and that is what I like about them."
The upcoming senior says that he plans on taking an up close look at the Tigers' program sometime this summer. "I told Coach Knox that I was going to come to one of Auburn's camps," Hazelton says.
Hazelton's status as a high profile recruit comes due not only to his prototypical size and 4.5 speed, but also a solid performance on the field for his Moore Catholic team last fall.
The talented player, who plays receiver and linebacker along with returning kicks and punts, put up some impressive numbers last season. "My junior season, I think I did pretty good," Hazelton says. "I had 39 catches for 784 yards and 17 touchdowns and on kick returns and punt returns I led the league. I also had four interceptions and three of them I took back to the house."
"I play both ways," he adds "I get worn down doing that sometimes, but I'm alright, I'll live."
His ability to play both ways and his solid production on both sides of the ball helped lead his team to a strong finish in the Catholic High School Football League of Metropolitan New York's AA division, which is the league's second highest division. "We did good, we made the championship," he says. We lost in the championship game."
Hazelton, who says that he would like to play receiver on the college level, explains that he likes to use his height and leaping ability as one of his major weapons on offense for the Mavericks. "I like the deep routes," he explains. "I like to jump and get the ball. I like to out jump people and when I do get the ball I have got good moves so it is hard for them to take me down and stuff, and I have got good speed so all of that combined."
Even with his strong performance on the field as a junior, Hazelton says that he is not yet satisfied with his game. "I want to work on my speed," he notes. "I want to get even faster. Definitely my speed and running my routes more sharply and stuff like that."
With all of the upside that Hazelton has to offer college recruiters he is already garnering quite a bit of attention and already has received nine scholarship offers. "I have got offers from Auburn, Maryland, Virginia, Michigan State, Boston College, Rutgers, Marshall, Pittsburgh and North Carolina," he says.
However, despite all of the early attention and even an early brush with possibly committing to the Cavaliers, Hazelton says that he has decided to slow the recruiting process and take his time making a decision. "My eyes are completely open right now," he explains.
The tall receiver, who says that staying close to home is not something that will play a role in his college decision, adds, however, that he does know a few things that he will be looking for when he is checking out all of his potential college choices. "A good football program, good academics and communication with the coaches," he says.
Hazelton also notes that even though he has a few thoughts about the type of academic field that he would to pursue while he is in college, he has still got a long way to go before he makes up his mind about his future career path.
"I am a good student, but I really don't know about a major," he notes. "I am still thinking, but I have got a couple of things that I am looking at like architecture, sports medicine and sports management, but I haven't decided though."