WSU in 4-star's final 5, announces Monday

AFTER LANDING A verbal pledge from Kevin Griffin Tuesday evening, could the Cougs add another cornerback to the class of 2014 in the next few days? A highly touted four-star prospect with 11 offers has trimmed his list to five schools. And he tells CF.C Wazzu is right in the thick of things as he readies to announce his choice on Monday during the second day of Nike's "The Opening" camp showcase.

Naijiel Hale is ready to make his decision.

The St. John Bosco High standout corner, ranked No. 20 nationally, holds double-digit offers but has narrowed his list down to five -- Washington State, Arizona, Arizona State, Cal and Utah.

Schools who didn't make his final cut include Nebraska, Boise State, Nevada and others.

The four-star prospect said he'll announce his college choice at The Opening camp in Beaverton, Ore. on Monday and there's a big reason as to why the Cougs are among his final choices.

"I just have a good relationship with the staff and they've been recruiting me hard for a while now," Hale said. "I think I could go up there and play early and earn my way on the field during my first year."

WSU tends to target tall corners, 6-foot or better. So when they offer one who isn't, they like him a lot. Hale, who is listed at 5-11, 170-pounds, was offered by the Cougs in late February and has remained in close contact with area recruiter Dennis Simmons.

But the second-year assistant isn't the only one in Hale's ear telling him about the positives at Washington State.

"I know a couple of their incoming freshman Gerard Wicks and Daquawn Brown and they've been recruiting me tough," Hale said. "They've both been telling me how great things are looking up there and how it would be awesome for me to come to WSU so all of us could play on the same team."

AS A JUNIOR this past season, the Bellflower, Calif. product racked up 53 tackles, four interceptions and one sack.

"The Cougar coaches love the way I play," Hale said. "They like California DBs and they said I'm very high on their board right now and they think I can make an immediate impact. They're up there for me right now with those four other schools."

Hale was adamant in our conversation with him in saying that all five schools remain even right now and he has no favorites heading into the weekend. Here's what he had to say about the Cougars' competition to land his services.

Arizona: "I get along great with their coaches and I also love the town over there. I talk with their staff almost every day and they have some new facilities coming in too, which is exciting."

Arizona State: "I love the town it's in of course. It's not too far from home and I feel like they're another school where I could go in and play early."

Cal: "They have a new coaching staff and I know they are going to take the program to a whole new level. They're recruiting some guys I know and I think they can get back to the Rose Bowl soon."

Utah: "I haven't taken an unofficial visit there, but I played in some games there last year and I had the chance to meet some of their coaches. One of my friends was committed there last year and he told me all about the program. I think I could see the field there early on too."

WHEN IT'S ALL said and done, Hale said his decision will come down to a few deciding factors.

"I'm looking to play early, but I'm also going to take academics into consideration...I'm pretty relieved to be able to make my decision too. I want to take a step back from recruiting, focus on my senior season and make sure I'm ready for wherever I go."

Pac-12 fans will find out exactly where that is on Monday.

Hale is the son of the late rap star Nate Dogg.

Naijiel Hale profile

Junior season highlights:

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