UConn picked up its 10th commitment in the Class of 2013 Thursday when Hadley (Miami, Fla./Palmetto High) chose the Huskies over Mississippi State and Central Florida. Hadley, 5-foot-11 and 175 pounds, is considered one of the top cornerback prospects in the football-rich Miami area.
"Don Brown has been emphasizing I could have a chance of playing early in my freshman year or my sophomore year," Hadley said. "That sounded real good. Mississippi State had a bunch of DBs come in. And UCF was actually recruiting a lot of DBs when I came up there.
"So UConn felt like the best place."
Hadley is the second defensive back in UConn's recruiting class, joining cornerback Thomas Lucas from Paint Branch High School in Burtonsville, Md.
With 4.5 speed in the 40 and terrific hands, Hadley has established himself as a premier corner in his conference even though Palmetto – a school with a strong football tradition – has struggled a bit in recent seasons. He moved from wide receiver to cornerback during his sophomore season when he recorded 35 tackles (15 solo), four interceptions, one forced fumble, two fumble recoveries, five blocked kicks and five tackles for loss.
Last season he had 26 tackles, four interceptions, two forced fumbles, two recoveries and four blocked kicks.
Hadley said earlier this month that he wanted to visit Illinois and South Florida, but "they have not offered me yet." He said he did have offers from Florida Atlantic, Elon, South Alabama, Western Kentucky, Western Michigan and Utah State in addition to his top three.
Hadley has been playing football since he went out for little league when he was four years old. He also has run sprint events in track, but when he found himself buried on the Palmetto depth chart at wide receiver, he made the switch to the defensive side of the ball.
"I think my man coverage is pretty good," Hadley said.
Hadley said UConn has shown a consistent interest in him since April. He informed Brown and head coach Paul Pasqualoni of his decision Thursday – despite the fact he has not visited the UConn campus in Storrs. Hadley said that visit might come in the fall, most likely during a bye week for his high school team. But Brown and Pasqualoni were very pleased by his news, Hadley said.
"I think he's great," Hadley said of Brown. "He sounds great and he really wanted me. Since spring he's been [persistent]."
The UConn coaching staff relied on a Miami connection for some help recruiting Hadley. The new head coach at Palmetto High is Matt Dixon, who was hired earlier this year after a stint at Felix Varela High School in Miami. John Green, incoming freshman wide receiver for the Huskies, played for Dixon at Varela.
"[Dixon] really likes UConn," Hadley said. "And he was tell me about John Green, things like that."
Hadley said his commitment to UConn is strong and he is relieved that the process is over.
"It was getting frustrating with all the calls," he said. "But now it's all cleared up."