Shayne Hale, the 6-foot-3.5, 240-pound five-star defensive end (No. 2 in country) from Gateway High School in Monroeville, Penn., has over 45 scholarship offers and continues to focus on the same four schools.
Hale, however, now has a leader: West Virginia. He says the Mountaineers lead slightly over Virginia, Ohio State and Michigan.
Hale attended the West Virginia/Mississippi State game on Oct. 20 and will be visiting the Mountaineers officially on Dec. 1. "The atmosphere there is great," he said. "They have new facilities and I like the stadium a lot too. It's a great place to watch a game. I've been going there since my freshman year and they've always impressed me so I'm not surprised they are having such a good season."
While the Mountaineers' success doesn't surprise Hale, he admits Virginia's success has. "I didn't think they'd be doing so well," he said. "They are on a winning streak and have really bounced back from their first game loss. It shows that the coaches and players never give up and they'll be getting even stronger."
He visits the Cavaliers on Nov. 3.
Hale will also be visiting Michigan on Nov. 17. "I'm really excited to see a game there," he said. "I've heard it's a crazy night and that the city basically shuts down when they play. The stadium holds like over 100,000 people so that's got to be insane. I can't wait."
Although he hasn't set up an official visit to Ohio State yet, he says he may do that soon. "I'd like to try and visit Ohio State, but if I can't take an official visit, I may just visit them for a game," he said. "I've got a friend who lives out there so I could just stay with him. I want to ride it out until the end of my season before I make a decision."
The one game that Hale says he's eagerly anticipating is the Ohio State/Michigan game on Nov. 17. "I think that will be a great physical game," he said. "Michigan is definitely going to want to win that one and Ohio State will be ready. That's definitely a game that's not to be missed."
Hale may be excited about seeing the game, but he's not making any predictions about the outcome. "They are both my boys," he said referring to Ohio State and Michigan. "I'm not gonna be rooting for either one."
The Buckeyes and Wolverines are recruiting Hale, but he says he thinks that Virginia and West Virginia seem to be on him more. "They (Virginia and West Virginia) just keep in touch more and call me regularly," he said. "I'm not hearing that much from Ohio State or Michigan. They call every now and then, but send lots of mail."
Hale says he'll wait until after the season before he makes a decision and says he's looking for a good relationship with the coaches and early playing time. "I want to have a real bond with the coaches the way I do with my high school coaches," he said. "I also really want to play early, maybe even as a freshman."
He's helped lead his team to a 7-1 record playing both defensive end and linebacker.
Hale reports a 3.0 core GPA and took the SAT on Oct. 6.