Camp Tale

WVU's latest verbal commitment had been holding out hope that an offer would come from the Mountaineers, and when it was finally made over the weekend, the Mobile, Ala. defensive back was quick to accept.

"West Virginia was my number one choice," St. Paul's Episcopal's Trippe Hale told "West Virginia came down here last spring to look at a linebacker at my school, and when they invited me up to their camp last summer, I went. After that, they were my favorite team. "I liked everything about it. I saw enough of it to know that if they offered me, I would accept. I had a great time. I worked with Coach Gibson and Coach Tall at the camp, and it was just a great experience. I ended up winning an MVP award."

Hale's father, Steve, echoed those sentiments.

"The experience at West Virginia's camp was what sold him," said the elder Hale. "It got his interest, and being there for three days and seeing everything really got him excited about West Virginia. I think he was hoping he would have a chance to play there. It was where he saw himself and where he wanted to be. He is really happy to get the opportunity."

Hale, who also had offers from East Carolina and Hawaii, had actually committed to the Pirates earlier in the recruiting game. He noted that it was difficult to change that commitment, but the availability of an offer at his favorite school was enough to change his mind. His father "helped [him] a bit with the decision-making process", but in the end left the final decision up to him.

Steve Hale was probably one of the most qualified people to help in that regard, as he is the director of the Senior Bowl in Mobile. That background has exposed him to hundreds of college programs and coaches, and thousands of athletes over the years.

"Every year, Trippe has had the chance to meet players from all over the country and be exposed to different programs," Steve explained. "He has met some kids from West Virginia in the past, and West Virginia has done a good job recruiting this area. I don't think there is any doubt at all that had an effect on the decision."

Trippe, who lists preparation and studying the game as his biggest strengths, will likely begin his career as a safety at West Virginia. He played some offense and cornerback for St. Paul's, but is settled in as a free safety when he gets to WVU.

"I study film a lot, and I know what opponents' tendencies are," said the studious senior. "I played some cornerback this year because we faced a lot of really good receiver, but I will be a safety in college."

Hale is undecided as to his major on the collegiate level but is fully qualified. He was an All Region and honorable mention All State selection for St. Paul's.

Although he's smack in the middle of SEC country, Hale, like several other Alabama players, including last year's prize recruit Patrick White, is proud to be a Mountaineer.

"I get a little bit of kidding about it, but everyone knows West Virginia is a good team. I can't wait to sign on Wednesday."

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