PLAYER PROFILE: Dewey Hale, 5-10, 178, WR/DB/ATH
After devoting so much recruiting effort the last three years to rebuilding the offensive and defensive line depth charts, as well as the runningback and linebacker charts, Idaho is focusing this recruiting season on the speed positions – wide receiver, cornerback and safety. Obviously, every position on the depth chart will be recruited this year, but it is becoming more and more apparent that the wideouts and defensive backfield are a premium.
Given this, it is no wonder then that Idaho went so aggressively after an athlete like Texas standout DEWEY HALE, a 5-10, 178-pound versatile two-way starter for the Paris High School Wildcats. As the team's starting free safety and split end, Hale played an integral role in a Wildcat program that has sent players to Division 1A programs for the last five consecutive years (this year quarterback Quin Ashley has verbally committed to TCU, while waiting in the wings is junior offensive tackle Stephen Good, who currently has 19 Division 1A offers and was listed as a MaxPreps 2nd Team All-American this year).
Texas is without a doubt one of the most fertile hotbeds of football talent in the country. Paris High competes in the 4A classification, the second largest classification in the state of Texas. In a rebuilding year for the program, the 'Cats went 6-4 overall and 2-3 in League competition. League champ, Texas High School, made it to the Division I semis before falling to eventual state championship runner-up Copperas Cove HS.
As would be expected, Hale was impressive statistically on both sides of the ball. For the year he caught a team-high 36 passes for 512 yards and five touchdowns. He also recorded 23 carries for 226 yards, and scored three more rushing touchdowns this season. Defensively he picked off three passes and registered 48 tackles on the year (22 solo). He also scored once on a 51-yard punt return.
It's highly likely that could make an immediate impact on either side of the ball this season for the Vandals...including special teams.
Last week Paris High coach Travis Smith told Scout.com a little bit more about Dewey. Asked to describe Dewey, Coach Smith said, "He's very exciting, in the hard-hitting ‘Texas' style of play. He was our team's leading receiver and punt returner, and he is a punishing hitter. He's a very competitive athlete in this area."
He's also particularly strong for his size as well. In Texas, as in several states, there is a sanctioned high school sport called PowerLifting. It's similar to the Olympic competition (complete with state rankings and a State Championship), with the exception that the athletes do not compete in the clean-and-jerk. Competitive lifts are the bench, squat and dead-lift. It's big in Texas, and competition is stiff.
Coach Smith was not only his football coach, but his powerlifting coach as well. Ranked among the top four in his region (despite missing several competitions during this recruiting phase), his max lifts include 565-pounds in the squat, 550-pounds in the dead lift, and 260-pounds in the bench. Couple that with a 4.55 hand-held 40, and Idaho is getting a well-rounded athlete who takes competition and training seriously.
Asked about Dewey's experience visiting Idaho, Coach Smith told Scout, "He described the University of Idaho as a ‘family' environment. His father plays an active, involved role in his life, and the type of environment [at Idaho] is important to Dewey. It is different than any other school he visited. He's very excited about Idaho."
One of the other reasons cited by coach Smith for Hale's interest in Idaho is that the Vandal athletes, coaches, and department staff he spoke with and met on his trip to Moscow approach college football and the rebuilding effort at Idaho "like a business." He's not the first recruit to cite the new facilities at Idaho as a reason for choosing to join the Vandal program. Several athletes have said the same thing the last two recruiting cycles. The investment that Idaho has put into rebuilding the program from the inside out, including the new weightroom, locker rooms and lighted SprinTurf practice fields, is beginning to pay off.
"Dewey was our go-to guy," Coach Smith told Scout.com. "He will be given his first look at wide receiver, but could flip over to defense if needed." This certainly wouldn't be anything new. Two years ago DeAngelo Ramsey came to Idaho as a JC transfer wide receiver, and by mid-season was the Vandals starting cornerback. Last year, in even more dramatic fashion, Stanley Franks came to Idaho as an all-conference JC wide receiver, then not only became Idaho's starting cornerback, but led the nation in interceptions and was a 1st Team All-WAC selection.
Dewey could follow in their footsteps as he finds the roster position that is the best fit for his talents.
Coach Smith also stated that Dewey could be an "impact player on special teams." Idaho head coach Robb Akey made it perfectly clear that special teams will be a priority this off-season and next fall. For athletes like Hale, who have the ability and versatility to play a variety of positions, this could mean a chance to make a contribution immediately.
One more reason that competition for playing time next fall could be as intense as it has been in half a decade in Moscow.