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Talking Recruiting: Shayne Hale

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Gateway linebacker Shayne Hale isn’t one to back down from a verbal challenge, so when one highly regarded recruit called Hale out at a scouting combine, it only made him wish that he could hit.

After all, Hale prefers physical confrontations.

“All the hype doesn’t bug me,” Hale said. “People say, ‘I’m better than you.’ I say, ‘Put the pads on and we’ll see.’ I’m taking their head off, period. It doesn’t matter to me.”

Despite 38 scholarship offers, Hale didn’t shy away from competition at camps and combines this spring. That helped him garner five-star recognition from Rivals.com, which ranks Hale the No. 12 prospect in the country.

“When I play, I have no thoughts of getting hurt. I just go out and play 100 percent every play at full speed,” Hale said. “This coming season, I plan on putting on a show.”

Hale recently narrowed his choices to the following schools: Alabama, Florida, Miami, Michigan, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Oregon, Michigan, Pitt, Rutgers, Virginia and West Virginia. He plans to start taking unofficial visits in June and July, with trips planned for Alabama, Florida, Michigan, Ohio State, Rutgers, Virginia and WVU.

“They all just came up,” Hale said. “There wasn’t any that stood out more than another. I’m trying to look for a school that fits, where I have a good bond with the players.”

The 6-foot-3{1/2}, 235-pound Hale is being recruited strictly as a linebacker, but has the potential to be a pass-rushing force. Some schools project him as a defensive end because of his height and speed (4.65 in the 40-yard dash).

“They’re all recruiting me as a linebacker. Some are talking inside, some outside, some are saying they’ll move me around and use me on the edge,” Hale said. “All my sacks were coming off the edge. I’m definitely effective wherever you put me. I like moving around and making it hard for the offense to pick out where I’m at, but I think they want to keep me in the middle to stuff the run.”

Where Hale and teammate Cameron Saddler had discussed going to college together, their respective lists include only a handful of the same schools.

“We still have Michigan and Virginia and West Virginia,” Hale said. “We’re definitely going to keep those ones around. We’ll see what’s best and what we should do.”

That’s good news for Pitt, which has backed off its pursuit of Saddler because the Panthers already have a verbal commitment from similarly sized Antwuan Reed of Johnstown, also a receiver/cornerback/return specialist. Even so, Hale hasn’t eliminated the Panthers – the first to offer him – from contention.

“I’ll definitely be down at Pitt,” said Hale, who will participate in the Panthers’ 7-on-7 camp with Gateway this summer. “I’m going to keep my home school in there. They’ve shown me love from the gate.”

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