Hale emerging from the shadows

Shedding the small-school label is something Baltimore Ravens fourth round pick David Hale has always had to overcome. Hale is not the most athletically gifted offensive tackle, but he makes up for that with good size at 6'6" and 315 pounds and he possesses a never-give-up work ethic.

"Dave is a competitive type of guy," said Weber State University head coach Ron McBride on the school's athletic website. "There's no one more deserving than Dave [to make the NFL]. He's worked hard both on and off the field to prepare himself for this opportunity. He's a good student and citizen as well which is a real plus for him."

Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome echoed these sentiments and lauded Hale's killer instinct.

"David Hale is a right tackle who can play tackle and also guard," said Newsome after the selection of Hale. "[He's a] very, very physical, mean, tough [and] nasty guy."

Despite having the right demeanor to play offensive tackle, Hale has always been overlooked. Born in Plain City, Utah, Hale went to Fremont High School and excelled on the O-line. In Hale's senior year, he was named first-team class 5A for his success on the football field.

However, playing football was not on his mind for the immediate future.

Before Hale's college career began, he went on a two year Latter Day Saints Church mission to the Dominican Republic.

Following the mission, Hale, who was not an elite college recruit, went to little known Weber State. WSU may be relatively unknown for producing NFL talent, but that did not stop Hale from making a name for himself and emerging on the radar screen of pro scouts.

During Hale's freshman year, he was given the opportunity to start almost right away. Hale began the year at right guard before transitioning to right tackle which became his permanent position.

Because of his early success, Hale was named honorable mention All-Big Sky conference. Hale continued to flourish in his sophomore year and, again, received the same post-season honor.

In Hale's junior season, not only was he named a team captain, but the running game exploded. Hale was a major reason why WSU running back Trevyn Smith led the conference in rushing.

Hale went out with a bang in his final season. Once again, he was named team captain and helped pave the way for the Big Sky's leading rusher. But this time, Hale was named first team All-Big Sky and second team All-America (for Football Championship Subdivision or Division I-AA) by the Associated Press.

While Weber St. may not have been the ideal place to propel Hale to the next level because of its FCS status, it gave him the opportunity to play right away which helped catch scouts' attention. And after playing in 44 career games for the Wildcats, the Ravens selected the hard-working lineman with their second fourth round pick (selection 133 overall).

"The last pick was one of our ‘Red Star' guys this year," said Newsome which means Hale was considered a true Raven by every scout. "[He's] in the same mold as a guy like [current Ravens guard/tackle] Marshal Yanda and [former Ravens tackle] Tony Pashos. He's that type of player – a very, very physical, in-the-trenches type guy. I think he projects very well inside and also at right tackle, and we feel very good about David."

Now, because of Hale's determination, he finally has gotten rid of the small-school label, but that doesn't mean that he won't have to prove himself again in order to stick around in the NFL.

Hank Nathan is a guest columnist for Ravens Insider and a journalism student at Washington & Lee.

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