Staten Island (N.Y.) native Vidal Hazelton has endured a lot to try and realize his dream of playing in the National Football League. From his days at Moore Catholic to a senior transfer to Hargrave Military Academy to USC and then onto Cincinnati. One thing after another has derailed his path to stardom.
Hazelton, a senior whose season ended abruptly with a knee injury in the first game of the season, has made a complete recovery and is ready to take on the challenges of the NFL.
“My college experience was not as I expected but, I have learned to persevere even when things did not go according to plan." Hazelton said. "I am excited for the opportunity to prove myself in the NFL.”
As a high school senior at Hargrave Military Academy in Chatham, Va., Hazelton was selected to play in the 2006 U.S. Army All-American Bowl, a national all-star game for the best high school football players in the country. As one of the nations top recruits, Hazelton selected the University of Southern California, and was
easily one of USC's biggest pickups of the recruiting season. As a freshman, Hazelton played backupto Dwayne Jarrett and Steve Smith, two of the best receivers in the country. Hazelton chose USC over Rutgers, Penn State, Virginia and Pittsburgh.
In 2007, Hazelton finished the season as USC's leading wide receiver, catching 50 passes and scoring four touchdowns. A high ankle sprain in the 2008 season opener knocked Hazelton out of his starting role. That same year, his grandfather was diagnosed with cancer. Hazelton made the decision to transfer to Cincinnati to be geographically closer to his grandfather, but had to sit out the 2009 season.
Although, the 2010 season looked promising for Hazelton, it was cut short when he suffered a torn
ACL in his first game with the Bearcats. Prior to leaving the game, Hazelton caught six passes for 63 yards. His injury occurred as he returned a kickoff. At the time of the injury, Head Coach Butch Jones stated:"It's very unfortunate and extremely disappointing, especially given the strides he made. I know he's really down right now, but he will bounce back."
Hazelton has indeed bounced back, and is ready for the NFL Draft spotlight. He will be represented by Kelli Masters, who co-represents Gerald McCoy - the third overall pick in the 2010 NFL Draft. McCoy played in the 2006 U.S. Army All-American Bowl game with Hazelton.
"It is an honor to represent Vidal in the upcoming Draft." Masters said of Hazelton. "With his size, speed and talent, I believe he has
the potential to make an impact at the next level. I believe in him, and I believe wholeheartedly that he will get that opportunity."
Well-known trainer Travelle Gaines of Athlete’s Performance in Los Angeles, California will be
preparing Hazelton for his NFL Career. Hazelton has not applied for a medical hardship to try and earn an extra year of eligibility. Accoridng to his father Dexter Hazelton, he was advised by compliance at Cincinnati that it wouldn't have been granted.
"We did not apply for the extra year." Dexter Hazelton said. "Coach Jones and the compliance people at Cincinnati felt that he wouldn't have been granted an extra year."