Naijiel Hale is a prized top cornerback prospect on the West Coast. The Bellflower (Calif.) St. John Bosco High product stands at 5'11 and weighs 170 pounds, and has the potential to be a strong lockdown defender who ensures ball carriers don't get past him.
A consensus four-star recruit, 247Sports considers Hale the 26th best cornerback and the 35th best California prospect. 247Sports really notes Hale's instincts, his change of direction, and his reactive quickness as his top attributes, but he might have to improve on his overall speed and only has average length. Hale is ranked the 39th best cornerback by Rivals. Scout considers Hale the 22nd best cornerback. ESPN has yet to rank Hale.
Hale currently holds offers from several schools, including Arizona, California, Arizona State, Boise State, Washington and Nebraska. You can watch Hale's highlight tape on Hudl and follow Hale on Twitter at @YoungNateDogg.
Bud Elliott, National Recruiting Analyst: There is a lot to like about Hale. He doesn't do one specific thing all that, well, but rather has a balance of skills.
Hale has a good frame at 5'11 and is now up closer to 185 or 190 pounds, rather than the 170 he was listed as as a junior. He has good, but not great height, and that allows him to play some press coverage. He has OK, but not great speed for the position, but I would not consider it a weakness.
I really like Hale's feel for the game and ball skills. He seems to have good instincts and makes quite a few plays, showing a knack for finding the football in the air and anticipating throws and breaks from the receiver.
Hale also does a very nice job in run support.
I can't figure out why some have him rated in the thirties or forties as a corner. To me, he is at least a top-20 type cornerback.