Leach offers quartet from same SoCal school

MALIK DORTON

OVER THE LAST 10 days or so, the Cougs offered four prep prospects from the same high school, including a versatile linebacker and physical defensive back, who said they're both eyeing unofficial visits to WSU this spring.

The town of Bellflower, Calif. is home to some of the best talent in southern California, with St. John Bosco High in Los Angeles County awash in prospects for the class of 2014.

Linebacker Malik Dorton, cornerback Naijiel Hale, safety Jaleel Wadood and offensive lineman Damien Mama have all been offered by Mike Leach.

Dorton (6-3, 230) was the first Brave to receive and offer from the Cougs, with area recruiter and wide receivers coach Dennis Simmons contacting him with the good news.

"They offered me last weekend," Dorton said on Saturday. "It didn't come as too big of a surprise to me because they've been showing me plenty of interest along with other schools. It was cool getting the offer and I'm interested in Washington State. I don't know too much about them right now, but I've seen them play on TV quite a bit and I've always been interested in their school."

As is the case for the majority of high school prospects, the highlight reel Dorton recently sent to the Cougar coaches is what ultimately led to a scholarship being offered.

"Coach Simmons said the the coaches really liked my athletic ability and how I can go out and make plays on the field," Dorton said. "He said that I could come in and play defensive end or the BUCK linebacker spot for them.

"I think I'm quick off the edge and most of the time I'll out physical anyone who is in front of me. That definitely separates me from others players."

The three-star prospect and 17th ranked DE by Scout.com already holds several D-I offers -- UCLA, Oregon State, Arizona State, Boise State, Fresno State and several others in addition to WSU. He added that Cal, Colorado, Oklahoma and Washington could be close to offering.

"Right now I'd say that UCLA is the favorite for me," Dorton said. "I like the program a lot and the coaching staff. They've got something good going on up there with the new staff and they're coming off a great year."

Dorton has already taken unofficial visits to UCLA and USC and said that he's hoping to take some more trips this spring and summer. This includes a visit to Pullman and Washington State.

"I might try and make it up to some other schools, but I don't have anything set right now," Dorton said. "I might go to Cal and the WSU coaches want me to head up there as well. Coach Simmons and I didn't talk a whole lot about it, but I'd like to make it to Pullman so I can check out the campus and meet the coaches."

ANOTHER WHO WOULD also like to visit the Palouse sometime this spring is Naijiel Hale, (Nate). The son of noted 90s westside rapper Nate Dogg picked up an offer from the Cougs last week and shared the same excitement as Dorton.

"I saw it coming because they had offered some of my teammates," Hale said. "Once they offered, I was happy. The coaches watched my film and they like how I play with my teammate Jaleel (Wadood). He (Simmons) said he'd love to see us both in a Cougar uniform. They're looking at me as a corner and Jaleel plays free safety."

The 5-11, 170-pound CB is coming off a big junior season where he recorded 53 tackles, four interceptions and one sack.

"The WSU coaches like my style of play and the things I can do on the field," Hale said. "I'm good at reading zones and I can tackle well. I have good instincts and I know how to play the game of football."

Hale holds offers from Cal, Arizona, Boise State and Nebraska in addition to WSU. He's also hearing from Oregon, USC, Utah, Washington and several other programs.

"I'm just open to all programs right now," Hale said. "I'm looking to see where I could play right away and see how a program gets their players people to the league or what the academics are like. If I don't go to the NFL, I'd like to pursue a career as a sports trainer."

Hale joined Dorton at USC's Junior day on Sunday and said he doesn't have any other trips scheduled. However, he shares Dorton's intrigue in learning more about the Cougs.

"I really don't know too much about them, but I'd like to get up there and check it out," Hale said. "I would really like to do some research on them moving forward."

NOTABLE NOTES:
  • Leach's early February offers last recruiting cycle included pairs of teammates from three schools -- Wylie East High just northeast of Dallas, (Marcell Ateman and Quan Jones); St. Louis School in Honolulu, (OL Reeve Koehler and DL Kamalei Correa) and Rancho Cucamonga High east of Los Angeles, (defensive backs Chris Hawkins and Tahaan Goodman.) Back in the day, Mike Price extended scholarship offers to seven players from the same school (Long Beach Poly) in one day. Paul Wulff also put forth five offers in one-fell-swoop at Lakes High outside Tacoma in February 2009.

  • Mama is a three-star offensive lineman who holds scholarship offers from Arizona, ASU, Cal, Colorado, Oregon State, Utah and several others in addition to WSU. The 26th ranked offensive tackle in the land by Scout.com checks in at 6-5, 340-pounds.

  • Wadood committed to another Pac-12 school last month. On Jan. 15, the four-star corner prospect pledged ASU. Wadood, who is ranked by Scout.com as the 19th best CB for his class, also holds offers from Arizona, Boise State, Cal, Colorado and several others in addition to Washington State.

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