Vidal Hazelton: Offers, Positions galore

In A world of specialists, there's always something special about the high school level, most players having to play more than one position, more than one side of the ball. Vidal Hazelton takes that to the extreme at times, playing just about every position on the field, when needed, except for down in the trenches. That's just part of the reason why Vidal is almost above 40 offers, marking him as one of the most coveted kids in the country.

That can-do guy, the one that if you want him to, he can play almost any position on the field. That's Vidal Hazelton as he has done that for Moore Catholic in Staten Island, New York, playing quarterback, wide receiver, tight end, running back, defensive back, safety, linebacker and even handles much of the duties on returns.

If you think there's aren't any really versatile players anymore, Hazelton might show you that there are still some that can do just about anything you want.

"If they need me at a position, that's where I go," Vidal said. "I guess it means I don't get a lot of time at just one position, but if it helps the team, that's what I want to do."

At 6 foot, 4 inches and 200 pounds, a coach would probably have as hard a time figuring out just what position they want him to play at the collegiate level. With that kind of size, if he's got the athleticism, he would be instantly one of the biggest cornerbacks around, one of the most formidable safeties you'd see, a linebacker that could play in or outside, a rush end or a close resemblance to the growing prototype at wideout.

Vidal likes the receiver spot himself and it's no coincidence that most of the schools that have offered him, the total approaching 40 now, they have seen it as well. "I like the spot, because I do what most receivers don't like to do," Hazelton said. "I like to block, I love to go over the middle and getting hit actually amps me up."

"There's just nothing I don't like to do and that's what I think makes me a valuable receiver."

That value goes beyond his size, Hazelton averaging 20 yards per reception and like Hazelton eluded to, he's one receiver that if you want him to stretch the field, his 4.5 speed allows him to do that, but if you want him to go over the middle, he'll just smile and eagerly comply.

"The physical play is what I love about football," he said. "If I go over the middle and get hit pretty good, it just gets me going. I'm thinking that they might have got me there, but next time, it's going to be the other guy paying for hitting me."

That's all and good, but most people would say that you probably don't want a receiver that actually goes looking for contact, something Hazelton certainly doesn't mind. The average per catch, though, that should tell you enough even without Vidal saying it himself, he's only got one thing on his mind once the ball is in his hands.

"I want to score. I want to take it into the end zone every single time," he said. "What being as physical as I am allows me to do, though, is make sure I catch the ball first and after that, see what I can do."

You don't have to ask the recruiting analysts what Vidal can do as he proved that at the Elite College Combine in New Jersey this month, grabbing the MVP honors for all receivers. It was after that performance that even more written offers came in, now making Vidal one of the most coveted prospects in the country.

Ok, so now what do you do?

"It's been crazy, but I'm keeping everything in perspective, just trying to check out the schools the best I can, when I can," Hazelton said. "I've already made a few unofficial visits and I'm hoping that I'll make a few more."

Virginia, Boston College, Rutgers, North Carolina are already on the list as having been done, but there's a lot of schools yet on the "to-do" list and good news for Husker fans, Nebraska is one of those schools that might yet get an unofficial before Vidal's final season of prep-ball begins. "They've got a winning tradition there," Hazelton said of the Huskers. "I know they have changed offenses, but if you know anything about college football, you know about Nebraska. They just have a great tradition there."

The tradition obviously means something, but the academics matter even more. In fact, as I was talking to Hazelton, he was studying for the new version of the S.A.T.

That's just one of the many tests that Vidal will have this off-season, this New York wideout already realizing just what kind of task he has in front of him sorting out the mounting offers. "If you just look at it, it's a lot and you wonder if you should narrow it down before the season or wait until after the season," he said.

"I'm prepared to take this all the way to signing day, so I'm not in a big rush to start singling teams out."

As to those teams, Hazelton said that it's an open market right now, everyone on equal footing, everyone with a shot at his services for the future. The only thing he asks, if you are indeed recruiting him at wideout, just don't stick him where he won't be able to give as good as he gets.

Even while trying to avoid hits, Hazelton's defensive attitude makes him enjoy them when they are unavoidable. "Oh, I'm going to make sure that you don't think you can just give me a tap and I'll go down," he said. "You better do more than that or I'm just running you over."

"I love being physical. That's what this game is about."

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